Marketers Are Clueless About Post-Cookie Solutions

Report finds the smorgasbord of cookieless solutions in the market is overwhelming decision makers

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If it feels like we’ve been talking about the death of the cookie for years, it’s because we have. Google’s first hint that the third party cookie would depart its popular chrome browser was in 2019. Now 2024, the current demise date, is fast approaching.

Yet many marketers still aren’t ready. Surveying 1,000 major brands and media agency executives, tech solutions provider Ogury found that 41% have a low awareness of cookieless ad-tech solutions.

“Targeting technologies that are independent of advertising identifiers tend to be complicated to understand from an outsider’s perspective,” said Geoffroy Martin, CEO of Ogury.

“The ever-increasing number of cookieless solutions that are emerging on the market—like contextual and semantic targeting, unified IDs and cohorts-based targeting—means advertisers find it difficult to grasp, let alone choose between the options at hand.”

Some marketers have bitten off pieces of cookieless solutions, such as data clean rooms, while others are hoping their agency partners will bring new solutions to the table.

Adoption of existing cookieless solution

Gartner surveyed 324 marketers last year and found all have at least one cookieless identifier deployed across their media buying capabilities. Data clean rooms are being utilized by 47% of those surveyed, while identity resolution is used by 30%, and consent and preference management is used by 48%.

Nearly 90% of the travel and hospitality industry adopted data clean rooms, while 10% were in the process of securing funds or deploying this technology. In the commerce space, more than 50% of retail brands have adopted data clean rooms.

Identity resolution within the travel and hospitality industry also remained high, where identity resolution providers use match keys—deterministic or probabilistic—to identify when two records refer to the same individual or household.

Meanwhile, consent and preference management platforms are a top choice in the IT and finance industries, followed by travel/hospitality and healthcare providers.

Increase in cookie alternative investment

33Across, a publisher monetization company, expects to see more of the pharmaceutical/OTC and travel industries increase their cookie alternative investments this year.

Recent research by the company analyzed programmatic spend for each vertical across cookie and cookie-alternative traffic in Q1 2023. It found marketers in programmatic buying within the tech, travel and pharma industries grew their cookie alternative share of voice investment (SOV) significantly in Q4 of last year.

Though insurance advertisers’ overall programmatic spend decreased, the industry finished a third consecutive quarter of non-cookie programmatic buys outpacing cookie-dependent buys.

In terms of content categories that monetized the most cookie alternative supply, 33Across found mixed results in Q1 of this year. Categories like cooking, tech and games saw growth as high as 41% while sports, news, and health & wellness cooled slightly from Q4 of 2022. To that, most media outlets saw lower revenue due to limited ad budgets and lesser tentpole events.

Brands pass the buck to agency partners

As the industry prepares for the death of the cookie, Ogury’s research found scalability remains a top concern for brands and agencies: 61% of brands said they were confident about being able to reach audiences at scale, while a lower percentage of agencies (51%) shared similar confidence. This is because agency executives are more acquainted with the pitfalls ahead and tend to take a more cautious view, the study found.

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