Epsilon Third-Party Cookie Deprecation Study Uncovers Nearly 75% of Marketers Not Testing or Investing in Resilient Activation Partners

On the heels of another delay with the deprecation of third-party cookies, Epsilon has released a new study revealing that most marketers are unhappy with Google’s moves and feel underprepared and uncertain about their advertising future, yet still aren’t actively seeking new solutions: Preparing for a world without third-party cookies

78% of marketers feel negative emotions towards Google’s move
73% of marketers are concerned about the potential loss in their ability to effectively do ‘person-based advertising’

On one hand, our research shows that most marketers (~60%) are expanding their first-party data assets. They recognize the importance of owning and leveraging their own data and are investing resources to build it into a foundation for targeted advertising and personalized customer experiences—one of very few encouraging trends from our report.

On the other hand, while marketers are expanding their first-party data strategies, the study also revealed that many marketers are not adequately investing in seeking partners whose ability to activate first-party data will survive third-party identifier deprecation.

Only 26% of marketers are testing with new, more resilient partners

The hesitancy to explore and adopt alternative activation methods reveals a significant gap in readiness for the post-cookie era. Instead, many marketers are choosing to rely on their current partners to furnish solutions for post-third-party identifier activation and are looking backwards to less precise, outdated approaches. Despite that, marketers have pervasive skepticism about their existing partners’ abilities to deliver effective strategies and solutions, leaving marketers feeling overwhelmed by the challenges.

79% of marketers are not confident their partners will find a viable solution to replace key identifiers

The growing sentiment among marketers is to shift more budget towards existing walled garden partners post-third-party identifiers. While this reflects a cautious approach to safeguarding advertising efforts in the absence of proven alternatives, this dependence on walled gardens comes with some apprehension as marketers anticipate a potential drop in ROI on paid media as their options are narrowed.

All this to say, Google's latest delay in third-party cookie deprecation has likely made them more enemies than friends while further intensifying the challenges for marketers.

As the industry braces for a new and drastically different advertising landscape, the stakes for marketers have never been higher. They can choose to be boxed into walled gardens and continue to waste dollars with ineffective partners, or they can be successful by exploring the right strategies and working with the right technology providers to help them reach the highest value consumers across the Open Web.

In short, marketers that recognize the urgency and importance to test new solutions and approaches for effective post-third-party identifier activation now will see sustained, if not improved, media performance and increased competitiveness, while the marketers that don’t will not just fall behind… they’ll never recover.