[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


Google: Cookies Prop Up Ad R.O.I.

Fresh Google research indicates that third-party cookies may still be irreplaceable to marketers.

Cookies, publisher data, advertiser concerns

Google Ads Senior Product Manager Chetna Bindra recently observed that publishers who can’t use cookies see ad revenues fall by ‘an average of 52 percent’. At the time, Bindra didn’t give details about the source of those numbers. That omission left us wondering…

Now, Google has published a summary of the internal research from which Bindra’s figures were derived. Interestingly, the report looks beyond the revenue of publishers, to also mention potential downsides for web users and online advertisers.

The most concerning ‘second order effect’ noted by the Google researchers?
Advertisers get ‘lower return on investment from non-personalized ads’ when there is no access to cookies.

No personalisation, less consumer acceptance

We know that cutting access to third-party cookies makes ad personalisation much more challenging.

Of course, messages can still be tailored to context—i.e. to sit alongside content that seems closely related. But, Google’s research looked at that too. They concluded that ads placed by this method are significantly less effective than ones targeted with the benefit of third-party cookies.

Data collected between May and August 2019 shows that cutting access to cookie data led to less user satisfaction with ads.

When shown ads that were not informed by cookie data, 21% more users clicked to stop seeing an ad. When asked why they wanted that particular ad gone, respondents were 21% more likely to say they were not interested in it.

It seems that many web users have grown accustomed to the perks of personalisation, even though large segments express related privacy concerns.

Baked-in for now, or forever?

Facebook is pressing ahead with privacy-pleasing user options that imply their platform may be ready to reduce its reliance on cookies. Given the timing of Google’s report, we might wonder if the search giant hopes advertisers will add it all together and ask whether Facebook is sacrificing their remarketing opportunities.

So, if privacy concerns may eventually end cookies, can anything save remarketing?

Bindra observes that attempts ‘to block cookies used for ads personalization … have fallen down’, largely because there was no ‘suitable, broadly accepted alternatives’. Given Facebook’s forthright approach on this front, maybe they have a secret they’re saving up to surprise us.

Want more details about the Google research and the exact statistics about the impacts of cookies? Check out the report summary online.

Image by dailylifeofmojo, used under Creative Commons.

Do cookies give you more confidence your ad strategy will provide good value, or are you confident Facebook has a suitable alternative up their sleeves?

Copy Transmission is a Melbourne-based agency :: Better Brands. Loud & Clear.

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