Post-cookie concerns: just 24% of publishers and advertisers have a plan in place

Publishers and advertisers are planning to prioritise contextual and attention-based solutions in the coming months, but the majority remain woefully unprepared for how they are going to compete in a cookie-less world.

The cookie is amid what can only be described as a painstakingly slow death. But with Google reinforcing its timeline and beginning to migrate some users away from cookies on Chrome, it appears publishers and advertisers need to get their post-cookie houses in order sooner rather than later.

DoubleVerify, a software platform for digital media measurement, data and analytics, has released a second report examining the evolution of cookie depreciation strategies.

The first report, released in early 2022, evaluated the impact of industry changes in their business models and forward-looking strategies. This latest report, polled over 800 media buyers and ad operators across four global markets (US, LATAM, APAC, EMEA) to identify how sentiment has changed in the past 12 months.

Concern and lack of preparation remains as deadline looms

By and large, publishers and advertisers are concerned about the impact of cookie depreciation on their businesses, with 60% of respondents indicating they were either “moderately concerned” or “very concerned”.

Only 7% were “not at all concerned”, indicating low levels of post-cookie preparedness among those polled. Concerningly, less than a quarter (24%) currently have a post-cookie solution in place while the remaining publishers were either still trialling solutions or hadn’t yet begun the process.

Although those who were “very concerned” (25%) decreased by one-quarter year-on-year, there is significant worry among businesses regarding cookie depreciation and not a lot is being done to alleviate this worry.

Advertisers indicated that “multiple browsers phasing out third-party cookies”, amidst other recent privacy changes, were causing them the most anxiety.

Revenue and reach are top priorities

A startling shift in year-on-year sentiment is seen regarding publishers' anticipation of the impact cookie depreciation and other privacy-related changes will have on their company’s revenue. Last year 64% of respondents were optimistic that cookie depreciation will have a positive impact on revenue, this year that figure has fallen to 48%.

Among advertisers, their ability to target audiences effectively was their top concern, cited by 31% of those surveyed.

Contextual and attention-based solutions in a cookie-less future

Looking ahead, publishers and advertisers need to balance delivery and scale without reliance on cookies. Publishers have pointed towards contextual solutions as a way to achieve this, with 96% agreeing that contextual advertising capabilities will form an important part of their businesses in 2023. For advertisers, 94% are planning to rely on contextual advertising for at least some of their buys in their 2023 media strategies.

Both brands and publishers are in agreement that attention has the potential to become a viable advertising currency.

On the sell side, 94% of publishers described attention-based capabilities as important and on the buy side, 96% of advertisers plan to rely on attention-based metrics in some of their ad buys over the next 12 months.

Steven Woolway, EVP of Business Development at DoubleVerify, said: “While interest in both contextual and attention-based advertising is on the rise, publishers must always consider what works best for their clients. Attention and contextual solutions represent new opportunities to measure performance in privacy-friendly ways.

“The imminent deprecation of third-party tracking has publishers and advertisers looking for viable solutions and it seems that both sides are in agreement with contextual, attention and first-party data strategies.

“Opportunities are abundant for publishers and advertisers to align in new and impactful ways, and now is the time to cultivate direct partnerships and develop or refine capabilities.”