🕵️‍♀️ Google's cookies crumble

Thursday, March 4, 2021 by Robinhood Snacks |
_Advertisers love that cookie magic_

Advertisers love that cookie magic

Yesterday’s Market Moves
Dow Jones
31,270 (-0.39%)
S&P 500
3,820 (-1.31%)
12,998 (-2.70%)
$51,049 (+7.44%)

Hey Snackers,

Hershey just made its boldest move in years: Reese's peanut butter cups without chocolate. PB purists have been redeemed.

The Nasdaq plunged yesterday as Treasury yields ticked up. Meanwhile, Bitcoin soared past $51K. On the stimulus side: President Biden backed a plan to phase out direct payments at lower income levels. That would reduce the number of people who receive checks.


Cookie Monster goes on a diet... Google is Earth's biggest digital advertiser. In 2020, it accounted for 52% of the world's digital ad spend (FYI: $292B). But it's making some privacy changes that'll reduce its precious targeting abilities.

  • Last year, Google said it would remove third-party cookies from Chrome by 2022. These tiny pieces of data are widely used to track your individual browsing activity from site to site.
  • Yesterday, Google said that it won't introduce new ways to track individual browsing once cookies are gone.

That's the way the cookie crumbles.... Well, at least the third-party cookie. Google isn't scrapping first-party cookies, which are meant to be used on the same domain they're placed on. They're why you don't need to log in each time you open Gmail (cookie remembers). Google will still track your Search history, and target ads/results there — same goes for YouTube. But when you visit BuzzFeed, Google won't target ads based on your "organic cat food" search.

  • Google isn't getting rid of tracking: That would kill its biz. Instead, it could use aggregated, anonymized tracking to target without individual info. One of Google's solutions includes putting people into groups based on similar browsing behaviors.

Google thinks the benefits outweigh the losses... and it could be right. Individualized tracking has come under fire by regulators and privacy advocates. This could be a move to get ahead of regulation — and win points with the public. Plus, Google's biz likely won't take a major hit thanks to the alternatives it's cooking up: with group-based tracking, Google says advertisers can expect at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent (compared to cookie-based advertising). Wall Street isn’t worried, either: Google shares fell only 1% more than the market yesterday.


And the Oscar for best NYSE debut goes to... not Oscar. If the Airbnb and DoorDash IPOs were blockbusters, Oscar's IPO was more like a low-key Hulu flick. The Millennial-focused health insurance startup (you can tell by the font), saw its share close down 11% from their IPO price yesterday. Oscar is similar to Lemonade, except Lemonade offers home/renters insurance. Oh, and Lemonade's stock doubled on its first trading day (womp). Both are putting a friendly face on insurance — but Oscar has a harder task.

American health insurance is infamously complex... You could go to med school in the time it takes to understand insurance plans. Oscar's trying to make it simple, affordable, and personal — especially for people who aren't insured through employers. It now has 529K members.

  • How it started: Oscar was cofounded by Josh Kushner in 2013 to complement Obamacare. The founders believed it would thrive on Obamacare exchanges, where people compare and pick plans.
  • How it's going: Not so hot. Oscar's 2020 revenue fell 5% from 2019, and it lost $407M (almost as much as its sales).

Oscar needs "gigification"... It's banking on continued growth of the American gig economy. Its core customers don't have employer insurance. Think: DoorDash drivers, freelance writers, and part-time sitters. Oscar has a few things working in its favor. The gig economy scored a huge victory in November when CA voters said "Yes" to Prop 22. Now, companies like Lyft don't have to reclassify gig drivers as employees, which would've meant providing health insurance. Also: 10M+ Americans are still unemployed, and many are turning to side jobs like food delivery.

What else we’re Snackin’

  • Chipdate: GM extends production cuts at three of its car plants because of the global chip shortage (aka: chip-pocalypse).
  • Out: Neera Tanden won't be leading the Office of Management and Budget (President Biden accepted her request to withdraw).
  • E-Mickey: Disney will close at least 20% of its physical stores this year to focus on ecommerce (Baby Yoda, but make it delivery).
  • Fleek: FedEx plans to invest at least $2B to make its entire delivery fleet carbon neutral by 2040.
  • Chill: Cloud data management company Snowflake more than doubled quarterly sales from 2019 — but its loss more than doubled, too.


  • Weekly jobless claims
  • Earnings expected from Costco

Authors of this Snacks own shares of: Google

ID: 1549506