Fun with third-party cookies marketing statistics

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Top 10 Google Ads mistakes that drain your budget – without you even realising

Busy, busy?  Here’s the TL;DR of third-party marketing statistics

  • 51% of marketers still rely on third-party cookies
  • 95.33% of marketers are not entirely confident they’re ready for a world without cookies
  • 70% of marketers believe digital advertising will take a step backwards
  • Most marketers will focus on first-party data after third-party cookies are no longer available
  • Only 36% of marketers agree that their landing pages give their customers exactly what they’re searching for––just over 4% strongly agree
  • There are four alternatives to third-party cookies: <Click here> to jump ahead and download the free guide.

What we know for sure is that Google is pulling the plug on the long-loved third-party cookies. 

But everyone is in the same boat, right?

So wouldn’t it be nice to know: 

What does everyone else think re: the loss of third-party data?

Not merely because we’re curious humans and can’t handle the thought of suffering alone.

But, knowing what others are thinking can help you process your thoughts.  And, help you make more informed decisions.

So let’s not tiptoe around the topic any longer.  

Let’s start a riot with third-party cookies marketing statistics.

Oh, wait. 

I know the title sounds like all you’re about to read is all butterflies, rainbows and sunshine.   

But unfortunately, it will get statistically dark before it gets statistically brighter.  

We need to understand why the topic of third-party cookies is so scary for so many.

Why is everyone freaking out about third-party cookies?

80% of advertisers rely on third-party cookies.  

Well, that was the number before everyone found out they were on a sinking ship.  

Since then, the number has declined.

For the last several years, digital advertising has relied heavily on third-party cookies to track website activity and target new customers. 

You can see which content your target audience engages in.  You can easily target and orchestrate an “Oh wow, Google is reading my mind” moment.

Marketers have relied upon third-party data so much that they spent a whopping $22B on it in 2021 alone.

What’s at stake?

As per this Google study, it’s not a simple gear shift in your marketing strategy.

Third-party cookies have the potential to slam the breaks on your earnings.  

If you’re not actively transitioning to a third-party cookies alternative now, you could see a 50-70% potential revenue loss.

Yet, even in the face of such daunting figures, Google has still decided: third-party cookies must die.

User privacy–or perceived privacy–is more important.

Without third-party cookies, here’s everything that will be lacking:

  • Analytics and attribution
  • Personalisation
  • Market segmenting
  • Audience targeting (lookalike)
  • Retargeting
  • View-through attribution
  • Audience suppression (e.g. frequency capping)

Ok, enough of the doom and gloom.  

Let’s bring out the “fun” data.

51% of marketers still consider third-party cookies to be very important.

Whoah!  51%?!  Don’t they realise third-party data has a used-by date?

Maybe this section would be better titled, “I guess I’m not doing so bad” because 51% (down from 80%) is still a lot of passengers hanging on to the Titanic.

So why are 51% of marketers still holding on?

Is it because they’re hoping a last-minute saviour will poke their head?  

Or are they a part of the 15-20% of adults who suffer from the debilitating side effects of procrastination?

Unfortunately, that’s a study we’ll save for another day.

What is helpful is the data we collected from a webinar we recently held on this very topic.  

We asked marketing specialists from all over the globe how prepared they felt for when third-party cookies phase out.

See how you compare.

How prepared do marketers feel for the end of third-party cookies?

Asked to choose one of five possible answers, here’s what marketers from all over the globe told us about how prepared they feel for the death of third-party cookies:

How prepared do marketers feel for the end of third-party cookies?  

Safe to assume that 95.33% of marketers at the webinar come from the 51% still using third-party cookies.

What rings loudest in this data is that there’s still a lot of doubt about which way to go.

  • 36.45% say they could be more prepared 
  • 31.78% feel completely unprepared 

If anything else, find comfort that you’re not alone.  No matter what your answer is.

Another reason to be encouraged:

Before we wrap up these third-party marketing statistics, I’ll hand you four LUX-approved strategies for replacing third-party cookies – all of which you can implement and start using today.

But we’ve still got plenty more statistics to unpack.  

Up next, tracking.

41% of marketers believe their biggest challenge will be an inability to track the right data

Out of everything being affected by the move away from third-party cookies, the biggest impact will be on tracking––even more than A/B testing and personalisation.

So now, 70% of marketers declare that digital marketing will take a step backwards.

Look, this is likely an over-exaggeration unless you have the right strategy.  

<Click here to get four strategies for replacing third-party cookies now.>

But before we step forward into the inevitable future, let’s steal a moment to appreciate what marketers say they’ll miss the most about third-party cookies.

What benefits of third-party cookies will you miss the most?

Before third-party cookies become a thing of the past, let’s see what marketers say they’ll miss the most: 

There you have it.  The two top answers are related to targeting.

But what if the very thing we thought was our demise might actually make things… better?

Could this be a new era in digital marketing?

A new era of spending?

What if digital advertising was better without third-party data?

While many marketers are crying over the loss of third-party cookies, there might be an upside.

Here’s what I mean:

With privacy intact and third-party data being unstealable, because well, it won’t exist––it is possible customers will be more likely to spend.  

After all, privacy is no longer an excuse not to buy that pair of Christian Louboutin high heels. 

And maybe… just maybe, those who once opposed the notion of online shopping might now be willing to spend up big––considering that Google is now on their side.  

Ok, pipe down, conspiracy theorists!  Google is all things pure, and you know it.

While we’re on the topic of spending, are you wondering where you should now allocate your budget?  

How much will you need to spend to get the same results as third-party cookies?

44% of marketers predict they’ll increase their spending by 5% to 25% in order to reach the same goals as 2021

Obviously, if you want the same results (or better) as you did with third-party cookies, you’ll have to reallocate your budget to accommodate the new strategies.

But be prepared; your budget will take a few hits in trialling these new strategies and finding your groove in a world without third-party data.  

More budget for SEO?

Until now, the typical business spends a measly 5% of its marketing budget on organic.  Yet, 60% of revenue comes from organic activities. 

So, without third-party cookies, will organic take the main stage?

Check out the next lot of data to see what marketers told us.

What do you plan to spend more budget on when third-party cookies end?

This could be the juiciest piece of third-party marketing statistics you read all day.  

And the most insightful.

You’re about to learn what other marketers plan to do with their budget after third-party cookies are no longer available.

Knowledge is power.  Do with this what you will.

Here’s where marketers are reallocating their budgets, post third-party cookies:

What do you plan to spend more budget on when third-party cookies end?

It’s important to remember that not every strategy is right for every business. 

Just because first-party data is the most popular data, it doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.  

As you know, there’s no one size fits all in marketing. 

At the end of this piece, I’ll share a link to a free guide that gives you more details about all four strategies. 

But for now, here’s the skinny on each strategy, in order of their popularity.

First-Party Data - 44.34%

87% of APAC brands consider first-party data to be critical to their marketing efforts.

89% of digital companies invest in marketing personalisation.

So, why is first-party data so popular?

Well, unlike third-party data (which is data you source from a third party such as Googe or Facebook), first-party data is consumer data you collect and own yourself.

First-party is credible, cheaper and more personalised.  

And being able to personalise your marketing is a pathway to capturing category demand, as you’ll see in a moment.  

When you know who they are and precisely what they’re searching for, you can give them a better UX––which means they’ll prefer to buy from you.

The most valuable first-party data

So how will marketers be obtaining first-party data?

  • 36% of marketing professionals say customer purchase history will be their most valuable source of data
  • 32% will focus on customer data collected from social media profiles
  • 31% will collect first-party data from website registrations

Here’s a chart from Ascend2 and Oracle that shows the top 10 sources of first-party data:

The most valuable first-party data

Learn more about using first-party data to replace third-party cookies in this free download: A guide to replacing third-party cookies.

Contextual targeting - 24.53%

In second place is contextual targeting, contextual advertising, or as Google calls it, automatic placements.

Contextual targeting is all about what surrounds your ad, i.e. the message and theme of the website, app etc.

Suppose you’re advertising a kid’s bike on a blog about “how to get my kid to love the outdoors”.  This is good contextual targeting.  

Alternatively, advertising a comfort food recipe book on a weight loss blog is not.

But contextual advertising is not a new thing.  

In fact, you might already be in the 49% of marketers currently using it.  

What’s truly amaze-balls about contextual advertising is that they generate 43% more neural engagement, produces 2.2 times better ad recall, and arouses a higher buying intent than advertising with third-party cookies.

You can see why it came in as a strong second.

Learn more about using contextual targeting to replace third-party cookies in this free download: A guide to replacing third-party cookies.

Capturing category demand - 19.81%

Capturing category demand is actively targeting customers currently in the market––hot to buy.

This is where Longtail UX shines.  Using our Customer Acquisition Platform, we help our clients capture the long tail of demand at scale.

Capturing category demand is more than focusing on brand awareness.  You are selling to those who have decided to purchase within your category.

Here’s what I mean: 

Say you sell a “Frozen” branded toy microphone.

Your initial thought might be to target the keyword Frozen Microphone.  

Makes sense.  Considering it has a monthly search volume of 880 with a medium to high difficulty, right?

Here’s the thing:  

Targeting short tail keywords with high competition makes ranking difficult.  

Unless the competition is complete rubbish in the eyes of Google, it’s unlikely you’ll be ranking anywhere close to where the sales happen.

But, dig a little deeper into your long tail keyword research, and you’ll find that karaoke microphone for kids has 90 searches per month.  

Might not have the numbers, but it’s got way less competition.  

And if we know one thing about the long tail, these customers are way more likely to buy than those using short-tail keywords.

As much as marketers love to target keywords with high search volume, long tail keywords make up 50-70% of total monthly searches.

And we’ve found that the longer the keyword, the more ready to buy the customers are.

Now, imagine taking all the long tail keywords that apply to your frozen microphone.  

4, 5, 100, 1000.  Whatever applies.

Build a PLP for each – all selling the Frozen microphone and any other of your products that are an exact match of the keyword. 

Now, imagine doing the same for all of your products.

Multiple matching products on a single page, for every long tail keyword you want to target.

That’s a world of opportunity there.

Yet, most never even try to tap into it.

That’s why Longtail UX clients do so well.  

Smart-pages-don't-require-third-party-cookies

Because Longtail UX builds out tens of thousands of these PLPs for you in a matter of weeks––as opposed to the months or years it would take to do it internally.

So our clients rank fast, rank high and scale like a supernova.

To learn more about capturing category demand, click here: A guide to replacing third-party cookies.

Replacements - 7.55%

Originally, Google had planned to replace third-party cookies with something called FLoC.  

But after realising that interns don’t always have the best ideas, they scrapped FLoC and went with Topics API instead.

Topics API considers what a user has been viewing and searching for over the past week. 

The user then gets dropped into five different buckets.  

All buckets represent a different interest.  e.g. men’s fashion.  

The topics bucket a user sits in determines what digital advertising they see.

The downsides:

  • More wasted ad spend due to randoms placed in your topics bucket. i.e. a user may have stumbled onto a related website yet has no intention of buying––Currently, more than 40% of ad spending is wasted on digital advertising.
  • Over-generalisation – Bombshell! Third-party cookies are only 40-60% accurate.  But with Topics API, this will only be harder when trying to classify websites covering multiple topics or industries.
  • Google will list the topics in random order – that means if a person spends only 5% of their time looking at websites relevant to your topics, you’re likely wasting your money showing your ads to them.
  • Google includes random interests – to improve privacy and reduce fingerprinting, Google throws a random sixth interest into the mix––Honestly, it seems more like another way for Google to up their bottom line.
  • Users can opt out of topics or browse in incognito mode––Sounds like iOs14 all over again.

LUX advice:  Even with the negatives, don’t discount Topics API from your marketing strategies.  Just don’t put all your eggs in this one basket.

Read about Google Topics API and other third-party data replacement in the free download: A guide to replacing third-party cookies.

Those who arrive on a PDP are 72% more likely to bounce than those who land on any other page of the site

Bouncing / Pogo sticking.  

The struggle is real.

But why does it happen so much?

Presenting:

Six sneaky landing page snags:

  1. The discovery process is non-existent – unlike wondering through a retail store, there’s no lightning strike moment.  No magic of stumbling over a product they never knew they needed
  2. PDPs only focus on shoppers searching short-tail keywords
  3. Slow mobile page download times – users get bored and bail.
  4. Lack of social proof – testimonials, logos
  5. Low ad relevance.  i.e. the ad and the landing page don’t match
  6. Most landing pages only show a single product.

Apart from targeting the long tail at scale, this is where we see the biggest opportunity.

You see, the norm is to create a single product landing page or a category page targeting a top-of-funnel term.  

The problem with this method is that you can only target one pocket of the market while the rest of the world is out there using their chosen long tail keyword––not buying from you.

But, if you can change up the UX by showing only exact match products that are hyper-relevant to the Google search term, you can potentially boost your conversions by 30-80%.

Before bringing this one home, let’s take one last deep dive into your fellow marketer’s minds.  This time looking at how they feel about their UX.

Do you landing pages deliver exactly what they're searching fro?

Do your landing pages deliver exactly what users are searching for?

With most sitting around the disagree/not sure/agree mark, we’ve got some room to improve.

Luckily there are plenty of new technologies available that can help make the UX on your site feel like the Taj Mahal.

One option is headless commerce.

Now, we might be done with statistics, but third-party cookies are still coming to a close.

This means we need a way to move beyond this cookieless world.  

Well, you’re in luck.  Scroll on a little further.

4 alternatives to third-party cookies

The end of third-party cookies doesn’t need to be a fight to the death.

You can make four changes right now that will ensure your success well into the future.  

In fact, with the strategies I’m about to place in your hand, I expect you’ll end up doing better than you are right now.

To pull you to safety, we’ve prepared an eBook titled: You guide to replacing third-party cookies.  And it’s yours to download for free.

Here’s a snap of what you’ll get out of this free guide:

✓  Four alternatives to cookies: Google-proof strategies to keep your data flowing and your ad targeting on point––they may help you target better than you do now

✓ LUX-approved framework for deciding which strategies best suit your situation

✓  How to play both sides of the Google table to dominate brand AND non-brand search

✓  How to churn out thousands of pages that rank high on Google––within months, as opposed to years

✓  What Google intends to do with all that user data––and how you can tap into it

Grab your complete guide for cookie-less customer acquisition and get actionable and practical tips on replacing third-party cookies. Start doing.

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