Advertisers Turn To People-Based Marketing, Plan To Stop Using Cookies

The top three factors limiting the success of digital ad campaigns are audience reach at 30%, targeting inaccuracies at 27%, and anonymous ad targeting at 26%, according to findings from a recent study.

Viant, a Meredith Corporation-owned advertising technology company, surveyed more than 250 digital marketers at brands to analyze the challenges around using cookies for digital advertising. The study, conducted by market research firm Censuswide, also studied the top reasons that marketers invest in digital marketing, what’s limiting the success of their digital marketing, and the adoption of advanced methods of attribution and measurement.

Jon Schulz, CMO at Viant, said the data confirms a trend away from cookie tracking and toward people-based marketing and advertising.

The study  found 32% of marketers believe the industry will not rely on cookies within the next 12 months, followed by 31% who believe it will take more than one year and up to two years.

Of the brand marketers surveyed, 49% said the most common challenges with relying on cookies in digital advertising and marketing is poor targeting, while some 41% cited a lack of a persistent ID. About 28% pointed to accurate cross-device reach, 27% cited measurement, and 24% cited wasted ad spend.

More advertisers are turning toward people-based marketing and advertising for various reasons. Some say it's important for consumers to opt in because they want to share the data with the brand, but others acknowledge that it makes it more difficult to find new customers.

People-based marketing provides the ability to advertise to real people across their connected devices using registered user data rather than relying on temporary cookies. Using this type of data also assists in meeting General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) policies.

On average, marketers participating in the survey allocated 24% of their digital advertising budget to people-based marketing campaigns in 2017, but expect to increase that to 29% this year. Some 93% of companies surveyed run people-based marketing campaigns across social channels like Facebook and Twitter, but only 58% run people-based campaigns across the open web.

About 90% of marketers say they see improved performance from people-based marketing compared with cookie-based, probabilistic campaigns.

Marketers continue to face mounting pressure to justify ad spend and prove their campaigns lead to sales. People-based marketing provides a way to easily attribute conversions. About 57% said this makes it easier to attribute sales when linking in-store sales to online advertising. The survey found that 61% of people who believe linking in-store sales to online ad activity is very important are working at companies with an ad budget between $1 million and $10 million.

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