Google ran a cookie-free experiment. Should the results matter to you?

Google ran a cookie-free experiment.  Should the results matter to you?

Third-party cookies don’t break down easily.

In 2021, Google announced 2022 as the end of third-party cookies in its Chrome internet browser. It didn’t have a replacement in 2022, so it postponed the disappearance until 2024. And now another delay could be on the horizon.

A future without cookies is still expected, but what does that mean for marketers (and @Google) now, asks @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click here to tweet

But while personal data crumbs still leave trails for marketers and advertisers to follow, Google still anticipates – and is experimenting for – a future without cookies.

Should you adapt your content marketing to respond to their insights, or do something else?

CMI’s chief strategy adviser, Robert Rose, has some thoughts. Get his take on this week’s CMI News video, or read on for the highlights:

What will Google provide after the disappearance of cookies?

In January 2022, Google announced FLEDGE – First Locally Executed Decisions over Groups Experiment. It would lead too far to explain the five-component system in detail. Apparently, however, users (i.e. people browsing the web) are categorized into interest groups based on their content consumption. Advertisers could target topic interest groups instead of individuals.

But the ad world – mainly the publishers who sell ads – didn’t think FLEDGE was that great. So Google developed FLEDGE into their Protected Audience API, which they shared earlier this month.

Well, if all this talk is making your head spin, that’s fine. But let’s break down something more specific that Google shared over the past week. It published the results of its advertising tests for its interest-based targeting solutions. They use Google’s Privacy Sandbox Themes API to access a largely anonymous aggregated set of Internet data. It also uses first-party IDs such as publisher-supplied IDs.

The experiment evaluated the performance of ads that used third-party cookie data versus ads that used its interest-based targeting solutions with privacy signals. Ad spend for web-based audience results decreased by 1% to 3% compared to third-party cookie results. However, click-through rates remained within 90% of the status quo.

The experiment shows that results for ads with interest-based targeting solutions are not much better or worse than results for ads with third-party cookies.

@Google’s experiment testing ads with its interest-based targeting solutions versus third-party cookies yielded “meh” results, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click here to tweet

Is that good news?

“While these experiments show improvements in interest-based targeting solutions, they really ask the wrong question,” said Robert Rose, CMI’s Chief Strategy Advisor.

The indifference of cookies

Google’s experiment – and marketers’ interest in a cookie-free solution – stems from the belief that targeting with third-party cookies was their best bet.

But that conclusion doesn’t keep up with the research, says Robert.

In 2019, a study found that a publisher’s access to a user’s cookie could increase revenue by about 4%, which equates to $0.00008 per ad — yes, eight-hundred-thousandths of a dollar.

According to a 2019 study, the presence of a user cookie results in an approximately $0.00008 increase in revenue per ad, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click here to tweet

Combine this finding with the research of Dr. Augustine Fou, and the importance of cookies decreases significantly. Fou finds that while more relevant ads work better (ie, target a publication category that your audience visits frequently), hyper-targeting with personal information falls short of effectiveness after more than three data parameters.

This brings Robert to the question, “Who is getting paid to sell the additional personal data parameters that make it more expensive to buy ads?

“Apparently it’s not the publishers. Could it be that the big platforms like Google and Facebook are aggregating the data?”

You don’t need a cookie replacement

In the face of all this, marketers should take a breath. Quit obsessing over the cookie replacement debate and start conducting your own experiments.

“Run tests on how your branded ads, content sponsorships, and other forms of paid media are performing that don’t use cookies or third-party targets,” says Robert.

He also recommends investing more resources and time in developing your first-party data so you don’t have to worry about ad platforms and can better target and personalize the content your ads link to.

What do you do with targeted advertising? How do you deal with the imminent disappearance of third-party cookies, whenever that is the case? Let us know in the comments.

Subscribe to to workdays or weekly CMI emails to receive Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox every week.


Cover photo by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Source link

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Open chat
Scan the code
Hello 👋
Can we help you?