The cost of going cookie-less: marketers predict 10 to 25 percent revenue decrease from loss of user-tracking tools

Despite upbeat talk of cookie deprecation as an ‘opportunity’ for marketers, most still think the loss of easy tracking on Chrome and iOS will bring more pain than gain…

A new report, Beyond the Cookie 2: Identity Solution Adoption & Testing Among Marketers and Publishers, paints a picture of a nervous industry as Apple brings in more privacy restrictions on its iOS14 platform and Google gradually phases out tracking cookies on Chrome. 

The study, from Lotame, found that two fifths (42 percent) of marketers say the loss of cookies will decrease revenue and over half of these (57 percent) expect a drop of 10-25 percent. 

Two in five were also worried about Apple’s Privacy Relay (a new ultra private function within Safari) and most want multiple ID solutions (pseudonymised data that replaces tracking cookies).

Respondents were polled in September 2021, after Google revealed another delay to deprecating third-party cookies to 2023.

Chris Hogg, Managing Director EMEA at Lotame, says: “The industry knows change is coming… Google’s 2023 deadline gives marketers and publishers some breathing space but it’s imperative not to take this time for granted.

“Open discussions and rigorous testing with a variety of providers — from authenticated to probabilistic – are an essential part of this journey. Only then can marketers and publishers really develop optimal, privacy-first identity portfolios to meet their full-funnel strategies in a post-cookie world.”

Cookie deprecation will hurt revenue and reduce workforce

Two fifths (42 percent) of marketers say the loss of cookies will decrease revenue and over half of these (57 percent) expect a drop of 10 to 25 percent. Meanwhile, just over half (53 percent) of publishers foresee having to reduce their workforce due to revenue loss as a result of third-party cookie deprecation. Three out of seven (43 percent) publishers also see significant loss of programmatic revenue and loss of ad spend to walled gardens. 

Concerns with Apple’s take on privacy

Two out of five (41 percent) respondents expressed concerns about Apple’s Privacy Relay saying “I'm concerned for the impact on email hash identifiers”, while a similar amount (44 percent) said “I'm concerned for our ability to monetise our email channel”. Relatedly, email-based identity solutions (66 percent) were the most popular choice when asked what types of ID solutions marketers and publishers were planning to test in the next six months to one year. Contextual (51 percent) was in second place, followed by cohorts (33 percent) and probabilistic (28 percent). 

Marketers and publishers want multiple IDs

Four in five marketers and publishers are open to using multiple ID solutions: 60 percent of marketers currently work with an identity partner while a majority are keen to test further partners in the future. 

Embracing IDs for different reasons

While marketers said their primary reason for adopting new identity solutions is to support audience targeting (54 percent), for publishers the central reason is data privacy (70 percent). 

Google cookie delay welcomed and expected

Over half (57 percent) of marketers and publishers said they are glad of the extra time to prepare afforded by Google’s cookie delay, whilst many said they expected the delay (39 percent) and that they were also suspicious of the reasons behind it (41 percent).

The full report can be found here