Research Briefing: Marketers make the shift as Google actually kills the cookie
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In this week’s Digiday+ Research Briefing, we examine how brands are turning to other data sources as Google begins to disable third-party cookies, and we delve into publishers’ revenue expectations and industry predictions for 2024, as seen in recent data from Digiday+ Research.
69% of brands pros are investing in tech to acquire first-party data
Google started to disable third-party cookies for 1% of Chrome users this month, and marketers are faced with shifting their data collection strategies to manage the fallout. Trends over the last few years have included a push for more full funnel marketing efforts, a recognition of the importance of owned channels vs. paid and a need to amp up loyalty programs to continue collecting first-party data.
First-party data is the clear winner among brands when it comes to what exactly will replace the third-party cookie. More than two-thirds of brand professionals (69%) said in Q2 2023 that they were investing in technology to acquire more first-party data, according to a Digiday+ Research survey.
Brands are also increasingly partnering with retail media networks (RMNs) thanks to their access to first-party data from customer transactions, loyalty programs, in-store purchases and online browsing behavior. Walmart’s Walmart Connect and Target’s Roundel were marketers’ second and third most-used retail media networks in 2023, according to Digiday+ Research’s CMO Strategies report.
As the most-used RMN after Amazon, Walmart Connect has access to swaths of consumer data that can be used for ad targeting and personalization. Meanwhile, Roundel taps into Target’s first-party customer data across its online site as well as its mobile app, which can be used to trace customer behavior in stores too.
Insights and stats:
- “Brand demand for this type of data is expected to increase as brands realize the limitations posed by the demise of third-party cookies and privacy regulations. They’ll need to turn to marketing channels that offer data to help with enhanced audience targeting and personalized advertising experiences.” — Maren Kelly, vp of marketing at brand commerce platform PriceSpider
- Over a third of marketers (38%) said they use retail media advertising, putting it just behind display ads (used by 61% of respondents) and social media (used by 97% of respondents) as a top marketing channel.
- Grocery store chains are becoming attractive RMN partners thanks to how frequently consumers make purchases there, which gives grocers more data on how their customers shop compared to other retailers. A forthcoming Kroger-Albertsons merger would mean a combined reach of approximately 85 million households, according to the companies — and presumably their associated data.
Digiday+ Research digest
Half of publishers expected revenues to increase in 2023, but only about a third of publishers saw revenue growth in 2023. That’s according to Digiday+ Research surveys of over 100 publisher professionals. Fifty-one percent of publisher pros said in Q4 2022 that they expected 2023 revenues to increase. In reality, just more than a third (36%) said in Q4 2023 their revenues actually turned out to be higher last year than the year before. However, publishers’ 2023 struggles are not stopping them from hoping for a better year in 2024.
- Half of publishers (50%) said in Q4 2023 that they agreed their companies’ ad revenues will grow in 2024, albeit to varying degrees. Thirty-five percent said they somewhat agreed their ad revenues will grow this year, while 15% said they strongly agreed.
- Most of the publishers who are hopeful about 2024 revenue growth are exhibiting somewhat of a tempered optimism. Thirty-eight percent of publisher pros said that they think their companies’ 2024 revenues will increase by between 1% and 10%.
- About a quarter of publisher pros (27%) said they think their revenues will remain about the same in 2024, and only 16% said they expect their revenues to decrease.
Although publishers think their own companies’ prospects for 2024 are bright, they feel differently about the media industry as a whole. Nearly two-thirds of publisher professionals (63%) said they agreed that they’re optimistic about their companies’ prospects this year, but just 20% of respondents agreed that they’re optimistic about the media industry’s prospects. This is according to a Digiday+ Research survey of 54 publisher professionals conducted late in Q4 2023. Publishers’ optimism about their companies’ performance isn’t exactly unbridled, though.
- More than half of publisher respondents (56%) said they agreed only somewhat that they’re optimistic about their companies’ prospects for this year, while only 7% agreed strongly that they’re optimistic.
- The largest share of respondents said they’re just neutral about whether the media industry will have a successful year. Thirty-five percent of publisher pros said that they neither agreed nor disagreed that they’re optimistic about the media industry’s prospects for 2024.
Read more about publishers’ industry projections for 2024
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