The Vanishing Cookie: Most Publishers Are Not Yet Ready, Study Shows

Only 32% of publishers worldwide are preparing for the loss of cookies. But 45% of traffic is already cookieless, creating both financial and operational challenges, Teads reports in its fourth annual survey on the subject. 

Publishers face many challenges in making this transition. Only 28% are confident they understand the new landscape. And 53% are overwhelmed by the sheer number of cookieless solutions on the market. 

Moreover, 45% of publishers expect significant decreases in ad revenue due to the change. Teads concludes that cookieless traffic fills and yields less and that it puts revenue streams at risk. 

One big challenge is logins: 70% of publishers report less than 25% user login rates. And only 24% say more than half of their users visit more than three times per month.

Despite all that, 44% of publishers see this change as an opportunity to leverage their first-party data and improve their content. And some publishers are already doing so.



“By focusing on the wealth of data generated by our direct and long-standing relationships with subscribers, we’ve not only prepared ourselves for the post-cookie world but have also unlocked new opportunities for growth and engagement,” says Kedar Prabhu, VP of product management, Dow Jones, according to the study.

Prabhu adds, “We’re now in a position where we can offer our advertisers targeted, effective ad placements based on direct audiences composed of known users and enriched with real, meaningful insights into preferences and behaviors, all while maintaining the privacy standards that our customers (not to mention regulators) expect.”

But it depends on size and strength. 

For instance, 52% of Tier 1 publishers feel "these changes give us the opportunity to differentiate through our first-party data and the quality of our content.” And 62% have a sign-in strategy. 

Of the Tier 1 publishers surveyed, 38% are employing dedicated resources to find cookieless solutions, while 22% have accelerated their plans. And 74% engage directly with advertisers through first-party data.

Tier 2 publishers are also fairly advanced, with 74% engaging directly with advertisers via first-party data. In addition, 32% feel they strongly understand the digital landscape, while 36% have allocated resources for exploring cookieless technologies. 

Then there are the lower tier publishers. They rely on Seller Defined Audiences and have less direct engagement with advertisers.  

Whatever their size, publishers should not be lulled by Google’s delay of cookie deprecation. 

"Despite Google's recent announcement, the phase-out has only been delayed until early 2025 and the reality of a cookieless world is here," says Simon Klein, global SVP of supply at Teads. "Our survey underscores the urgent need for industry-wide adaptation and the critical role of innovative solutions in this transition."

Other sources take a similar view.  

"At the IAB, we see this as a critical time to advance our guidelines and frameworks to support the industry's transition,” says Angelina Eng, VP of IAB’s Measurement, Addressability & Data Center. "We're accelerating our efforts to develop standards that address the needs of a cookieless web, ensuring that all parties can navigate this shift smoothly.”


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