Digiday+ Research: Agencies, brands don’t agree on specific path beyond third-party cookie expiration

first party data

This research is based on unique data collected from our proprietary audience of publisher, agency, brand and tech insiders. It’s available to Digiday+ members. More from the series →

For all the news (and panic) associated with the coming death of the third-party cookie, there has been a flurry of action on the part of agencies and brands to prepare, but very little consensus on what that preparation entails.

Digiday+ Research found in an April survey that the vast majority of agency and brand professionals agree that preparations are underway for Google to sunset third-party cookies at the end of next year. But when asked about how exactly they are preparing, a majority was nowhere to be found.

Of the 146 industry pros surveyed by Digiday, 70% of agency and brand executives said their businesses are busy actively preparing for the end of the third-party cookie.

But when it comes to what specifically agencies and brands are working on to take them beyond third-party cookies, responses to Digiday’s survey were across the board. Among respondents, there was no majority concerning what agencies and brands are working on as a replacement for the third-party cookie.

First-party data, ad tech-built cookie alternatives and contextual targeting did come close: 49% of agency and brand execs said their businesses are investing more in technology to acquire first-party data, 45% plan on using ad tech-built alternatives to the third-party cookie and 45% are spending more on contextual targeting campaigns. Meanwhile, a third of agency and brand execs are looking to second-party data partnerships, Digiday’s research found.

And where does Google’s suggested replacement for third-party cookies – Google Topics – fall in the conversation among agency and brand execs? Among those surveyed by Digiday, more than 40% did not agree or disagree that Google Topics will effectively replace the third-party cookie.

Clearly, industry execs have plenty of drive and options when it comes to charting the path beyond the third-party cookie. But the map for measurement and targeting past the end of next year is far from complete.


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