Unfazed marketers already starting to discard cookies

cookie 2It seems marketers might not be quite so ill-prepared for the demise of third-party cookies after all, with many professionals feeling positive about the move and some claiming to have ditched the technology already.

Following Google’s announcement that it would be delaying its third-party cookie phase-out on Chrome until 2023, tech firm Criteo decided to test the waters by quizzing 114 UK marketers with spending authority over digital marketing.

Surprisingly, only a quarter of them (24%) said they felt “relieved” by the extension, with the vast large majority (83%) expressing positive feelings such as “hopeful” (37%), “determined” (23%) and even “unconcerned” (20%).

While much of digital marketing has historically relied heavily on third-party cookies, many brands are now looking to maximise their use of first-party data to engage better with consumers, the report reveals.

As it stands, two-thirds (66%) of marketers report more than half of their digital marketing already runs without any dependence on third party cookies. What is more, only 14% said that over three-quarters of their digital marketing depends on them.

And, despite the new extension, advertisers are very actively preparing for the future of addressability. Even before the announcement, over three-quarters (77%) said they had tests in place aimed at complementing or replacing channels relying on third-party cookies, or were planning to start some. Only a quarter (25%) decided to slow down the pace of testing after Google’s announcement.

Marketers are testing (or planning to test) a variety of alternative audience data and advertising solutions. On top of the list are getting the best out of their first-party datasets by enriching them using external partners (43%), contextual targeting (40%) and aggregate panel data (39%).

They expect tech and agency partners as well as publishers to play a major role in helping them navigate the future of addressability. Three-quarters (75%) say that these partners will be key to helping them manage data deprecation. Close to two-thirds of respondents (64%) rely on them at least partly to test alternatives to third-party cookies.

Close to eight out of ten (79%) believe that access to first-party data will be crucial to success in digital marketing in the years to come.

Criteo chief product officer Todd Parsons said: “By growing and activating first-party data now, marketers will gain an all-important head start to generate superior outcomes across the buying journey.

“Engaging consumers across each touchpoint in that journey is made possible by leveraging those first-party databases. More than ever, marketers need dependable partners to ensure this data interoperates safely and privately between their companies, media owners and the entire ecosystem.

“We can now be methodical about testing models that are genuinely progressive and addressable and bring new solutions to the industry without it feeling forced. The future really is bright.”

Criteo’s findings are in sharp contrast to a larger study by data company fifty-five, which quizzed 500 UK marketers from both big and small companies.

It found that less than a quarter (24%) of professionals are developing alternative plans for targeting potential customers once cookies are phased out; meanwhile, some 20% reported their company had not yet started but were aware they needed one, and 33% stated they had no intention to do so, now or in the future.

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