The Cookie-Free Future of Advertiser Perceptions report captures a ‘snapshot’ of how the industry is evolving

Just before Google Chrome postponed its phase-out of third-party cookies until the end of 2023, publishers and advertisers were both optimistic and unprepared, according to the latest “Cookieless Future” report from Advertiser Perceptions.

Based on surveys and interviews conducted in April and May this year, the report has an air of ancient history – but the data is also an interesting “snapshot” of the industry, said Lauren Fisher, vice-president. -executive president of the economic intelligence of Advertiser Perceptions.

Many publishers and advertisers had done little or nothing to develop a first-party data strategy or test new targeting and measurement solutions.

But publishers and advertisers were also optimistic the changes would be good for the industry and for their businesses.

Seventy-one percent of advertisers and 67% of publishers surveyed by Advertiser Perceptions said they were optimistic the data privacy changes would benefit the industry in the long run.

“When I think back to the rollout of GDPR and CCPA, and look at the readiness survey results from that time on, they weren’t as optimistic as we see here,” Fisher said.

Part of the industry’s optimism may come from the readiness of the GDPR and CCPA, Fisher said. Advertisers, publishers, and ad technology have already undergone tectonic changes that could have brought their businesses down. The industry had to trust the solutions that would emerge to resolve the new regulations, when concrete solutions did not yet exist.

“They have enough plans to follow to generally feel prepared,” she said.

Despite the optimism, the survey results indicate that the industry needed the extension to the deadline granted by Google.

Fifty-eight percent of advertisers are developing their internal data collection capabilities and 85% are auditing their ad technology and marketing partners to fix the problem, according to the data. Preparing for a cookie-free future can mean actively testing new identity solutions or simply having strategic conversations internally and educating leadership teams, Fisher said.

Publishers are more advanced in the transition from post-third-party cookies, Fisher said. This is no surprise, given that publishers are “on the front lines” in this development, she said. Brands need to reconsider their marketing budgets, but for publishers, it’s their vital revenue that is at stake.

The main concern now is to maintain the sense of urgency as there is no longer an urgent deadline at the end of this year, Fisher said.

“What we’ve heard from everyone is, ‘We’re on full steam,’ she said. ‘But it looks like it’s going to be hard to keep the momentum going.’

Publishers are likely to keep pace with continued investments in first-party data targeting and measurement products, she said. Seventy-one percent of publishers invest in first-party collection and one-third invest in Privacy Sandbox proposals over the next six months, according to data on advertiser perceptions.

With a few more years, they will have more time to authenticate their audience based on email addresses. Then publishers can create targeting features using that data, such as enhanced contextual offers or cohort-based packages, she said.

On the advertiser side, only one in 10 advertisers surveyed said they have a mature first-party data strategy, Fisher said. Advertisers who have audited their ad technology providers and third-party cookie depreciation measurement practices are much more likely to already test new targeting solutions.

This means that if advertisers continue to review their ad technology stack and programmatic practices, the demand for new targeting strategies is expected to materialize, she said. “It will be interesting to see in the fourth quarter [when Advertiser Perceptions re-fields this identity data survey] whether people have abandoned their preparedness efforts or tested new measurement alternatives.

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