Report: Cookie Depreciation Concern Remains High Among Advertisers

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Sixty-percent of publishers say they are concerned about cookie depreciation, but just 24% currently have a solution in place for their cookieless future. Those are just a few of the worrying findings from a new DoubleVerify survey of more than 800 industry professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds, including media buyers and senior decision-makers.

The survey is the second in a series of “Post-Cookie Questions” research reports published by DoubleVerify, each examining the evolution of cookie deprecation strategies and the shift toward privacy-compliant solutions. DoubleVerify’s first report, released in early 2022, looked primarily at the impact of industry changes in business models.

According to DoubleVerify’s research, 31% of advertisers today say their ability to target audiences effectively is among their greatest concerns once third-party cookies are abandoned. 

“While interest in both contextual and attention-based advertising is on the rise, publishers must always consider what works best for their clients. Attention and contextual solutions represent new opportunities to measure performance in privacy-friendly ways,” explains DoubleVerify Executive Vice President of Business Development Steven Woolway. “Our survey findings indicate that in a post-cookie future, both of these will play a role. In that pursuit, trusted third-party metrics can allow publishers and brands to speak a common language on these topics in the marketplace.”

Nearly 50% of publishers believe that making data accessible in open-market environments will be one of the biggest challenges they face in relying on first-party and contextual data.

Despite that, optimism abounds. Nearly half of publishers in DoubleVerify’s survey said they anticipate a positive impact on their company’s revenue post-cookie deprecation, and nearly half of advertisers cited their own first-party data activation as the cookie-independent solution that “holds the most promise.” 

Google’s Survey Results

DoubleVerify’s research comes just days after Google released an analysis from its own post-cookie tracking experiments. 

While Google continues to develop Privacy Sandbox, a suite of tools meant to track different aspects of user behavior in a privacy-compliant way, the company is running experiments to see how Sandbox-based Interest tracking tools (IBA) match up to cookie tracking.

According to Google, recent experiments showed that when using IBA solutions with privacy-preserving signals on the display network, Google Display Ads advertiser spending on IBA decreased by 2% to 7% compared to third-party-cookie-based results. Click-through rates remained “within 90% of the status quo.”

While Google’s experiments are hardly precise, the findings do offer hope for advertisers concerned about the imminent demise of cookie tracking, and what the end of third-party cookies will mean for their advertising results.

Attention Metrics Championed by Advertisers

In the interim, as cookies are still in the process of being phased out, attention metrics are being championed more often by advertisers, platforms, and even publishers.

According to DoubleVerify’s survey, attention-based capabilities will be key for 94% publishers’ business in 2023. 

Among advertisers, 96% say they plan to rely on attention-based metrics in either most or some of their ad buys. 

“The imminent deprecation of third-party tracking has publishers and advertisers looking for viable solutions and it seems that both sides are in agreement with contextual, attention and first-party data strategies,” Woolway said. “Opportunities are abundant for publishers and advertisers to align in new and impactful ways, and now is the time to cultivate direct partnerships and develop or refine capabilities.”

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.