Seven in 10 brand-side marketers plan to increase spend outside ‘walled gardens’ on the open web

Despite more than nine in 10 marketers believing that Google will finally stick to its 2024 deadline to withdraw third-party cookies, 73% admit their organisation is only “somewhat” prepared for the withdrawal of third-party cookies.

More than seven in 10 brand-side marketers are planning to increase their ad spending on the open web in the next 12 months.

A new survey reveals that UK marketers are currently most commonly spending between 31 to 40% of their digital ad budgets on the open web (26% of respondents) – outside ‘walled gardens’ like Facebook and Amazon. But 15% of respondents revealed that they were directing between 50% and 60% of their budgets on the open web.

The research from LiveRamp, in partnership with research company Censuswide, surveyed 250 brand-side senior marketers. It found that 15% of marketers were planning to cut their spend on the open web in the next 12 months, while around 12% were planning to keep it at about the same level that they currently allocate.

“Being able to deliver targeted and relevant advertising to the individual across platforms, without the need for legacy signals, is a valuable thing for marketers right now,” said Max Parris, Senior Director, Product Management, Identity and Addressability at LiveRamp.

“As a result, brands have invested heavily in advertising on the walled gardens, such as Facebook and Amazon. However, we know that consumers actually spend more time on the open web than in the walled gardens. This means there’s currently a significant mismatch between the investment into the walled gardens, and the time spent there by audiences.”

Cookie withdrawal: who’s prepared?

The research revealed that 73% of UK marketers described their organisation as being only “somewhat” prepared for the withdrawal of third-party cookies, despite 92% saying they believed Google will stick to its 2024 deprecation deadline, rather than delay again.

Just 25% of those surveyed felt their organisation was well prepared for the third-party cookie withdrawal, while 8% admitted that their business had no first-party data strategy.

Six in 10 said their organisation was still developing a first-party data strategy while the same proportion highlighted reaching audiences at scale as a core challenge affecting their digital strategies post third-party cookie deprecation.

Just over half (51%) ranked identity and addressability among the issues they face, while measurement was identified by 50% of those polled.

The solution is Google (Topics)?

When asked about the solutions they were planning to implement to stem the impact of third-party cookie deprecation, the survey panel named Google’s Topics proposals in top spot, cited by 54% of respondents. Just over four in 10 said they were planning to implement first-party authenticated data strategies (45%) and identity solutions (44%).

Contextual targeting was planned by 41% of respondents while 36% said they were looking at widening their range of channels and formats when it came to allocating their media spend.

Around 24% of the survey panel said that between 21% and 30% of their marketing spend is related to identity and addressability, with just 10% of respondents saying they spend more than half their budget on addressable media.

Travis Clinger, SVP of Activations and Addressability at LiveRamp said: “Delivering targeted advertising to individuals at scale on the open web, without the need for legacy identifiers, is the ambition of all marketers right now. Yet, many brands are still delaying testing and adopting strategies, despite these being key to enable them to effectively target consumers in a privacy-safe way post cookies.

“Marketers may be intimidated by the complexity of the process, and should seek the support of reliable partners rather than trying to manage it internally – what they’ll find is that people-based marketing helps address many of their concerns, including frequency capping and measurement.”