ROI Whacked: Apple's ATT Hurts Results, And So Will The Death Of The Cookie

Marketers are worried. Their ROI has already taken a hit from Apple’s Anti-Tracking Transparency (ATT), and the looming death of the cookie is bound to hurt just as much, judging by Year of Change in Digital Marketing, a study from MMA Global Inc. (MMA) and Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

For instance, retail brands foresee a 33% reduction in social media ROI after ATT rollout, as do 19% of tech/tech products firms, and 17% for CPG, 16% for financial services, 15% for durables and 13% for healthcare products.  

In addition, 60% believe cookie depreciation will negatively impact their audience targeting ROI. 

Respondents from healthcare product firms anticipate a 27% falloff in ROI, along with 26% of those in the tech/tech products area, 23% in retail, 18% in durables, 16% in CPG and 16% in financial services.  

This will cause a shift in channel investments, with at least 40% more expecting to spend more on search and social versus programmatic. 



At the same time, 50% overall believe their CMO does not understand the implication of regulatory and tracking changes. And 88% do not feel fully prepared and believe that further investment is needed. 

Despite the looming death of the third-party cookie, 51% of marketers expect to use cookie-based identity solutions over the next two years, 21% as their primary tool, according to the study.

In contrast, 49% will utilize hashed email-based solutions, with 19% using it as their primary solution.

As for identity tools, 48% also say they will use cookie-based solutions (aggregate level), while 45% will use publisher ID-based tools. And 38% will use fingerprinting mechanisms, with 17% using them as their primary tool. 

The study defines usage as constituting 50-70% of relevant ad spend, and primary use as 70+ plus of that spend. 

Meanwhile, companies are investing in growing their first-party data such as email addresses.  Growth has accelerated from 31% prior to 2021 to  34%.  

Large companies are hoping for 38% growth in this area, versus 28% hoped-for growth for smaller businesses. However, the latter have seen that figure jump from 23% over the past year. 

Well-prepared companies are estimating growth of 47%, versus 26% for less-prepared ones.  

Which actual solutions are they using? Of those polled, 80% are using or considering: 

  • Google(FloC/privacy sandbox)  — 80%
  • Unified ID 2.0 — 62% 
  • Epsilon Core ID — 60% 
  • iOS Universal ID — 55% 
  • LiveRamp ATS — 50%
  • Neustar Fabrick — 49%
  • Merkle’s Merkury — 46%
  • BritePool — 46% 
  • None of the above — 9%

BCG and MMA surveyed 150 marketers across industries in March.

Of those, 61 were from firms with less than $1 billion in sales and 89 in firms with more. In addition, 28 were in business-to-business (B2B), 36 in business-to-consumer (B2C) direct, 33 in the B2C channel and 53 in other or mixed. 





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