Gartner warns that the end of third-party cookie data will mean marketing leaders and their teams must prepare for a future of consent-based advertising.
This is in large part due to Google’s control of search, its central status in display advertising and its growing dominance of ad-supported streaming TV.
Eric Schmitt, senior director analyst in the Gartner for Marketers practice, says that in any post-cookie scenario, marketers should expect substantial and sustained disruption to digital advertising to last through the first-half of 2023, or longer.
“Marketing leaders responsible for ad budgets, media mix, planning and measurement will need to adjust strategies quickly as Google rewires its data policies, ad products and capabilities amidst an era of new privacy norms and elevated antitrust dynamics,” he continued.
As third-party cookies disappear, ad data and third-party processing will decline in breadth, availability and quality. In addition, ad targeting, buying and optimization processes will be disrupted and constrained, especially for performance-oriented campaigns and custom audiences.
Current ad measurement, attribution and optimization practices will become peripheral or irrelevant, as cookie data gaps undermine attribution and optimization, incrementality testing and app-to-web tracking.
Action items for marketers
Prepare for sustained disruption: Develop a strategy to navigate the overlapping, cascading effects of identity and privacy changes from Google and Apple – through at least 1H23. Plan to make substantial shifts in the media mix, by retiring, reinventing, or redirecting cookie-related media spend.
Rethink Ad measurement practices: To gear up for an era of advertising experimentation, reset measurement baselines, invest in market research, and lock in key resources -- from agency staff to publisher-direct deals.
Adapt to a walled garden world: Get comfortable with “walled garden world” scenarios that entail increased allocations to Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Expect to manage an increasing number of direct media buys with platforms and publishers -- and run less cross-publisher programmatic display.