Google’s decision to delay cookie deprecation until 2022 is intended, at least in part, to provide the industry with more time with which to develop alternatives.

But that alternative is already here. It is CTV.

CTV is the new cookie.

Consider that cookies are valuable because they are semi-permanent digital identifiers that tell advertisers when consumers have interacted with their brand, visited their website, or been served a digital ad. They are desirable because they are durable and persistent and therefore highly reliable.

CTVs, which are at the center of the IP-based household device graph, have device IDs that are also durable and persistent.

Cookies provide great insight because they can be used to append data about consumers to an advertiser’s first-party data, giving the brand a more holistic and granular view into habits and actions. Cookies also help connect devices to consumers, facilitating development of device graphs.

TV viewing is a personal behavior that also generates truths and insights about the person in front of the device. When opt-in permission is provided by the consumer, ACR data identifies all content appearing on the screen of a CTV, thereby connecting linear tv, streaming, and gaming behavior. The device graph then created around the CTV connects all video advertising in the household, both in and out of the home.

Cookies are intended to enable marketers to better understand who is exposed to and interacting with their brand both for purposes of optimizing marketing moving forward and to understand their return on ad spend so that dollars can be used more efficiently and effectively. It also helps, as part of that, to ensure consumers are having more relevant experiences.

Analysis from CTV data accomplishes the same, while also producing insights into consumer sentiment and behavior.

Certainly, cookies and CTV data are not completely comparable, and alternatives to cookies are already in development with more advancements undoubtedly to come as 2022 approaches. But much of what marketers rely on cookies for in terms of insights and attribution can be derived from CTVs.

And CTVs are not only, of course, available right now, but CTV usage is growing rapidly – both for video programming and to access the Internet.

eMarketer recently forecasted that 213.7 million people would use the internet through CTVs at least monthly in 2021, up significantly from their pre-pandemic forecast of 208.1 million.

They also estimated that CTV advertising is among the fastest growing digital ad channels, with advertising in the U.S. growing more than 40% year over year in 2020, to more than $9 billion. eMarketer expects growth to accelerate this year with spending reaching $13.41 billion. And they expect that to more than double by 2025.

The move to end the Cookie is borne out of a desire to provide the consumer with greater privacy protection.

The CTV industry has invested heavily in not only complying with privacy regulations, but also in advancing technology and processes to make it easier for the consumer to understand opt-ins and also to easily subsequently opt-out if they so desire.

But the CTV industry also has a unique relationship with consumers in that they can also offer value for consumers’ data in the form of program recommendations that make the viewing experience more personal, relevant, and enjoyable – and easier to navigate.

2022 will be here soon and the Cookie will go away. But a viable alternative exists now. As the CTV footprint continues to grow and its usage to connect with the Internet increases, CTV will emerge as the best replacement for the Cookie.