Advertisers Still Too Reliant On Third-Party Cookies For Programmatic, Study Finds

Advertisers still rely on third-party cookies for programmatic, with retail becoming the largest programmatic buyer on the programmatic

Although Google plans to eliminate third-party cookies by the end of 2024 and fully implement the Privacy Sandbox, its targeting cookie alternative, the industry is far from prepared.

Despite several setbacks, the industry continues to move forward. The larger programmatic spenders have shifted more investments to cookie alternative traffic to test and analyze performance before third-party cookies disappear.

Second-tier programmatic spenders have also increased the pace of their cookieless spend and this growth rate will most likely continue as third-party cookie inventory lessons.

For publishers, as more cookie alternative demand flows through the ecosystem, they will need to adjust their revenue strategy to ensure maximum addressability.



33Across, a supply side platform, released findings from its Q4 Programmatic Cookie Alternative Trends Report that examines transactions on its exchange to better understand third-party cookie and alternative trends among buyers and sellers in Q4 2023.

Advertisers in the retail space made significant strides in cookieless investments during the second half of 2023, allowing them to test new methods and reach audiences outside of third-party cookies across Safari, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, and non-cookied Chrome at what 33Across considers “efficient” CPMs.

In Q4 2023, retail advertisers invested 26% of their programmatic budgets in cookie alternative inventory -- up 117% YoY across the 33Across exchange. This group more than doubled their cookie alternative in 2023, compared with year-over-year (YoY) share of voice (SoV), a marketing metric that measures how much of a market a brand owns compared with its competitors.

The report highlights performance for the top 10 advertising verticals on the 33Across Exchange. Those include Auto, Entertainment, Finance, Food & Drink, Insurance, Pharma/OTC, Retail, Tech, Telecom, and Travel.

The company explored the verticals that spent the most on programmatic inventory, the investment breakdown between cookied and cookie alternative inventory or SOV, and the pricing difference between cookied inventory and cookie alternative impressions.

Travel advertisers grew their cookieless SOV by 8% from Q3 with heavy investment from booking sites and a leading vacation rental company, leading to a 10% revenue increase for Travel publishers.

Seasonal events like holiday shopping, sporting events, and entertainment increased cookieless revenue by an average of 17% from Q3.

Retail, Tech, Travel, and Auto advertisers increased their programmatic spending in Q4 driven by a 3.3% increase in the U.S. economy and a 2.8% growth in consumer spending.

The company believes that consumer sales-motivated retail events such as Valentine’s Day will create an increase in media spend.

Advertiser budgets are typically weaker in Q1 following investments in Q4, but Valentine’s Day is expected to reach a record $14.2 billion in consumer spending, according to the Nation Retail Federation Holiday and Seasonal Trends Valentine’s Day report.

A couple of the key questions answered in the report point to which content categories monetized the most cookie alternative supply, and what was the share of programmatic monetization for third-party cookies and cookie alternatives for each content category.

Powered by third-party cookies, advertisers typically spend money based on audience, brand-safe environments, and performance optimization metrics.

The company says content-driven publishers like Entertainment, Lifestyle, News, and Education sell the most impressions programmatically on the 33Across Exchange.

1 comment about "Advertisers Still Too Reliant On Third-Party Cookies For Programmatic, Study Finds".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, March 11, 2024 at 2:56 a.m.

    There is a third option that would not be well liked by the ad distributors but makes a ton of sense verses going cookieless.  I hand place a sweepstakes sponsor's URL link into my program. If a member reads the sweeps data and then enters, the member will be taken to the sponsors page. The sponsor's cookie is not needed and the data is controlled by the sponsor.  Better yet, because the URL is hand placed into our program, it is secure from the hackers. it's never happened in 20 years.  Finally, it makes sense to consider sweepsptakes because what is the goal? To get the data into your database.

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