Digiday+ Research Briefing: Nearly two-thirds of publishers think they will lose when the third-party cookie dies

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 →

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Welcome to the Digiday+ Research Briefing, your weekly curation of media and marketing research insights. As a member, you have full access to the Digiday+ Research below. 

In this edition, we share focal points from Digiday’s recently released reports about how publishers think they’ll fare in the post-cookie era and how marketers’ social platform budgets stack up.

Publishers have been busy with their first-party-data-focused prep for the end of the third-party cookie. But that doesn’t mean they think they’ll come out on top in the post-cookie era. In fact, publishers count themselves among those who stand to lose from the end of the cookie, according to a Digiday+ Research survey of more than 70 publisher professionals.

Key findings:

  • Publishers think pretty much everyone will lose after the cookie goes away. Sixty-two percent of publisher pros said in Q2 2023 that vendors will lose a lot or a little, 63% said agencies will lose a lot or a little, 64% said publishers themselves will lose and 68% said advertisers will lose.
  • Overall, publishers anticipate that they will come out slightly ahead of the other groups. Twenty-three percent of publisher pros said in Q2 2023 that they think publishers will gain a lot or a little from the end of the cookie, compared with 17% who said the same of vendors, 16% who said the same of agencies and 12% who said so of advertisers — all in all, very low percentages for the so-called “winners.”

Read the full report

CMO Strategies: How marketers’ social platform budgets stack up — from Instagram to TikTok

This is the first installment of a multi-part series covering CMO strategies across marketing channels. Keep an eye out for an upcoming report on retail media.

Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube took the top spots for marketers’ budget allocation in 2023, according to Digiday+ Research’s recent analysis of budget allocations across social media platforms. TikTok, which came in third, has fewer out-of-the-box tools for marketers than its legacy competitors, but its ability to create viral moments has pushed the platform to the top of marketers’ minds. 

However, when looking specifically at the portion of budgets marketers gave to the different platforms, the majority of brand respondents, 46%, told Digiday that they leaned toward allocating no marketing budget to TikTok and 24% spend a small or very small portion of their budgets there.

Key findings:

  • While TikTok has grown in popularity, marketing spend on the channel is still relatively low. Ad spending on TikTok may not be as necessary as on other platforms because the platform focuses more on creating viral organic moments and is not as pay-to-play as other social players. But many marketers trade predictability for that potential.
  • Instagram remained the recipient of the highest portion of marketing budgets. Based on year-over-year spend, Instagram received the highest average portion of social budgets: 20% on average spend a moderate to very large portion compared to 13% spending none or a small portion since Q1 2022.

Read full report

Digiday+ Research Lifestyle Subscription Index: Sports Illustrated, Vogue, NatGeo separate casual readers from enthusiasts

This is the second installment of Digiday’s Subscription Index, a research framework that analyzes and ranks a set of publications across digital threshold experience, member benefits and pricing and plans dimensions. Read the first report on news publishers’ subscription strategies.

In case you missed it, with the recent economic downturn, publishers have seen decreases in revenue from across business lines – and inordinately in ad sales. For publishers rooted in print, specifically lifestyle publishers, this makes their online subscription offerings more vital as readers continue to move away from their glossy physical magazines in search of more content and more benefits.

Against that backdrop, the Digiday Subscription Index seeks to examine and measure publishers’ subscription strategies across several different digital touchpoints to identify common approaches and key tactics. This edition of the research series studies an editorially-selected group of the top lifestyle publications in the U.S.

Key findings:

  • Readers of the lifestyle cohort naturally segment themselves into two groups: general readers and enthusiasts, with enthusiasts being the primary target audience for subscription products.
  • Member-exclusive benefits can be a more important draw for readers than articles. They not only give readers more information through member-exclusive content, but also encourage readers to engage with the brands beyond their websites and newsletters.
  • Subscription discounts paired with strong, relevant content can create long-term subscribers. This allows readers a low barrier of entry to the paywalls and gives them a taste of the publication’s content — which hopefully encourages them to stick around.

Read full report 

See research from all Digiday Media Brands:

Digiday+ Research

Glossy+ Research

Modern Retail+ Research


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