Will Buyers Face Fewer Benefits with Cookie Tracking Products?

February 28, 2024

As Google Chrome becomes the latest browser—along with Firefox and Safari—to deprecate third-party cookies, buyers have maintained an interest in cookie tracking software

However, these software products stand to lose out on use-case practicality with Chrome’s deprecation of third-party cookies.

By examining buyer feedback sentiments and coupling that data with category traffic and the total number of newly approved reviews data, G2 is able to pull together a comprehensive insight into the state of affairs regarding this category of products.

But first, an overview of cookies is in order.


Before cookies can be placed on a device, many privacy laws stipulate that the websites placing the cookies must obtain the user's consent to be tracked.

Websites typically accomplish this by placing an obstructive banner over the landing page of their website, which generally coerces users into accepting the cookies to have a better user experience on the website they are visiting.

First-party cookies are cookies that the website being visited places on their behalf. These cookies often record data like the user’s login information for that website or what the user has saved in their shopping cart on that website. 

Third-party cookies are cookies that a party other than the website being visited places on the user’s device, often advertisers. 

For example, if an end user visits a clothing brand’s website, an advertiser may place a cookie on the end user’s device during that visit. When the end user visits a different website that sells something else, like outdoor sporting equipment, and that same advertising company has bought space on the outdoor sporting equipment’s website, the cookie informs the advertiser to show the end user the clothing brand on this different website.

So, if Firefox and Safari have already phased out third-party cookies, then why does it matter that Google Chrome is planning on doing so this year? The biggest reason is that Google Chrome, by a large margin, is the most popular web browser. 

According to Statcounter, a web traffic analysis website that began in 1999, Google Chrome accounted for 65% of the global browser market share as of December 2023. This means that almost two-thirds of people browsing the internet accessed it through Google Chrome. By Q3 (July 1) of 2024, about two-thirds of all internet user activity will be unavailable to third-party cookies.

Sentiment review of cookie tracking software buyers

Cookie tracking products, like those represented in G2’s Cookie Tracking category, aid privacy teams by automating the management of users’ cookie tracking preferences. These products scan websites to identify which cookies are present on them. 

Doing so enables companies to disclose those trackers to users to gain their tracking consent and ultimately comply with privacy regulations such as GDPR and ePrivacy that require user consent before enabling cookies. Their current stance in the market will likely change in the near future due to the continued deprecation of third-party cookies in online browsing. 

Ahead of these potential changes, a market pulse check is in order.

Positive sentiments

How easy it is for end users to use cookie tracking products, by and large, was the greatest point of praise for this category of products, with 59% of all positive reviews mentioning so.

As far as the sentiment of reviews is concerned in any category, any majority of reviews touching on a single sentiment is a rare occurrence. The most likely reason for this is the straightforward nature of cookie tracking products.

With such a specific function in mind in developing these products, as opposed to multi-pronged platforms or tools that manage permissions and configure identities, creating a product that is easy to use is expected when its primary, and often only, purpose is to track first and third-party cookies.

Another important factor to consider when evaluating how easy cookie tracking products are to use according to buyers is their frequent mention of valuable product support teams. 

There is considerable overlap between reviews that mention the ease of use and how helpful product teams are when setting up these products and troubleshooting problems. In fact, 31% of all positive reviews mention support teams.

Negative sentiments

Reviews with negative sentiments seemingly varied, but upon closer inspection, a plurality of buyers touched on one overlapping issue—features related to the user experience. About 27% of all negative reviews were related to UX, features, and overall usability. 

At first, it seemed like the biggest complaint was the same as the greatest praise; however, while both concerned themselves with usability, reviews praising usability specifically touched on the overall simplicity of the products related to their use cases. 

Negative sentiments about usability and UX, on the other hand, were much more specific. These negative usability sentiments mentioned product-by-product design issues such as getting overwhelmed in interfaces with too many tabs, slow dashboards, and slow-to-implement infrastructures in select cases.

As is often the case, the next biggest negative sentiment among buyers was related to pricing. Cookie tracking tools have provided indispensable value in the age of third-party cookie tracking, making their prices a bargain buyers need to accept to remain compliant with privacy regulations like the GDPR and CCPA. 

The justification of the pricing of the products will be tested as third-party cookies are deprecated across Google Chrome (and likely out of the internet browsing experience as a whole) in the near future.

Review generation remains steady despite traffic fluctuations

Google initially announced it would deprecate third-party cookies by 2022. After feedback from their internal team and concerns from advertisers, Google pushed the deprecation date to 2024, with all Google Chrome users anticipated to experience a third-party cookie-free browsing experience by Q3 of this year.

At that time, Google Chrome users will be in the hands of the browser’s new Privacy Sandbox—a tool that the company touts as an effective way to “reduce cross-site and cross-app tracking while helping to keep online content and services free for all.”

While the timeline for finally emptying the (third-party) cookie jar has been delayed by two years, buyer interest in exploring their cookie tracking product options on G2’s site has significantly fluctuated.

This may be indicative of the volatile and uncertain nature of the cookie deprecation timeline. G2’s month-to-month cookie tracking software pageviews are generally trending downward (which the dotted green arrow indicates) aside from the spike in January 2024.

However, just because potential buyer interests in cookie tracking products have generally trended downward doesn’t mean actual buyers haven’t left recent reviews. In fact, in the last 18 months, buyers have left a total of 386 new reviews at an even-keeled pace.

This 18-month period of new review generation is particularly interesting as G2’s updated algorithm better reflects the most pertinent buyer sentiments. With an estimated 85% of prospective buyers not reading reviews older than three months, reviews generated in the past 18 months are given a heavier weight in total product scoring and rankings. This 18-month window is, therefore, the most compelling timeframe to focus on when examining buyer sentiments and review generation.

Comparing category traffic and new review generation within the Cookie Tracking category represents a stark contrast between actual buyers who’ve made a point of sharing their thoughts and prospective buyers. 

Reviewers represent the past and present effectiveness of these products, while third-party cookies dominate the internet browsing experience. Meanwhile, the downward trend in potential buyers could signify purchasing hesitancy from those who know the end is nigh for the era of third-party cookie tracking.

Despite these changes, it is imperative to remember that while cookie tracking products stand to lose a considerable amount of their usefulness with the loss of third-party cookies on Google Chrome, they still have usefulness in tracking first-party cookies. In this respect, there will likely still be a market for these tools, albeit a smaller one.

Sentiment vs. graph data analysis

For the time being, buyers are content with the effectiveness and straightforward nature of cookie tracking products. 

These products easily enable their organizations to comply with privacy regulations by identifying first and third-party cookies on websites. Perhaps most importantly, these tools are best used for collecting end-user consent to be tracked with these cookies.

Negative buyer sentiment regarding product-by-product design complaints is an issue left to each product staff’s design team; concerns about pricing, on the other hand, could present a more industry-affronting problem in the third-party cookie-free internet of the immediate future. 

Pricing is often a complaint among buyers of security and privacy products. Pricing concerns are rarely coupled with a soon-to-be loss of use-case applicability.

If G2’s changes in month-to-month pageviews for the Cookie Tracking Software category are indicative of overall market intent for purchasing demand, sales teams could find themselves in a bind. 

The good news is that only a minority of products are exclusive to the Cookie Tracking Software category. This means most products in this soon-to-be limited use case area of software are more sophisticated and, therefore, more easily sellable to potential buyers for their already more comprehensive effectiveness.

G2 research determines a need for differentiation in products

To reflect the evolving market, G2 recently audited the Consent Management Platforms category. During that audit, research determined that product differentiation was needed due to the comprehensiveness of the consents these products collect.

To aid buyers in segregating these two types of consent management products, an attribute was added for either universal consent collection or cookie consent collection, the latter of which exclusively collects consents for cookie tracking and compliance purposes.

A significant portion of products designated as cookie consent management products are also represented in G2’s Cookie Tracking category.

Creating this differentiation for buyers in an evergreen category—as well as the anticipated loss of buyer interest in products that only track cookies and cookie consents due to the deprecation of third-party cookies—casts a long shadow on the Cookie Tracking Software category’s long-term viability.

One thing is certain: the end of the third-party cookie tracking era represents a win for individual privacy, finally putting the onus on advertisers to take privacy concerns into account without disrupting the end user’s browsing experience.

As the internet and advertisers prepare for the end of third party cookie tracking, AI may provide a tenable option to replace the current status quo.

Edited by Jigmee Bhutia

Consent management platforms Stay cookie consent compliant

G2’s revamped CMP category now distinguishes between products that track universal or cookie consents, helping organizations remain compliant.

Will Buyers Face Fewer Benefits with Cookie Tracking Products? With Google Chrome's plans to deprecate third-party cookies, cookie-tracking products stand to lose use-case practicality. Does this category of software have a viable future? https://learn.g2.com/hubfs/G2CR_B146_Cookie_Deprecation_V1b.png
Brandon Summers-Miller Brandon is a Senior Research Analyst at G2 specializing in security and data privacy. Before joining G2, Brandon worked as a freelance journalist and copywriter focused on food and beverage, LGBTQIA+ culture, and the tech industry. As an analyst, Brandon is committed to helping buyers identify products that protect and secure their data in an increasingly complex digital world. When he isn’t researching, Brandon enjoys hiking, gardening, reading, and writing about food. https://learn.g2.com/hubfs/Brandon%20SM%20Headhshot.jpeg