How Meta Is Defending Its Advertising Turf

How Meta Is Defending Its Advertising Turf

Meta

Meta, the second-largest online advertising platform in the world, faces numerous challenges ranging from stricter privacy controls to the emergence of new competitors such as Amazon Ads and TikTok. Meta, like the market leader Google, is defending its position the best way it knows how: rolling out new ad products.

On October 3, Meta announced new ways for advertisers to reach the company’s user base, which encompass brands such as Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger. They include:

  • Post-loop ads on Facebook Reels. The skippable video ads, ranging from four to 10 seconds in length, play at the conclusion of a Reel, followed by the original Reel resuming and looping again. (Instagram Reels already have ads.)
  • Image carousel ads for Facebook Reels. These are horizontally scrollable and can include anywhere from two to 10 image ads. They appear at the bottom of Reels content.
  • Ads in creators’ profile feeds. These are aimed at giving creators another monetization option and will allow them to earn extra income from ads within the content they already have in their profile. This ad format is being tested with a small number of creators in the United States. A Meta spokesperson told Adweek that company will make it clear that creators are not affiliated with the ads that appear in their profile feeds.

Meta also announced new spaces available for advertisers on both the Explore page of Instagram, within Facebook Reels and on creators pages.

But wait – there’s more! Instagram also launched a series of ad formats. For instance, Instagram  is developing an open beta of augmented reality ads in feed and Stories. This makes it possible for brands to provide an immersive AR ad experience and encourage people to interact via their surroundings.

Instagram is also offering new multiadvertiser ads that use machine learning to serve ads from other businesses under an ad that may be of interest to the user. In theory these will help advertisers be discovered by Instagram users who are already in a shopping mindset. The new option is only enabled for direct-response objectives. Advertisers will have to opt in, with the opportunity to opt out whenever they choose.

The most interesting take-away from Meta’s new ad formats is the way Meta is trying to monetize the value of Reels for creators and Meta. For in-Reel Facebook ads, creators would get 55 percent of the revenue, while Meta would get 45 percent. The more consumers see Reels, the less time they spend in the legacy parts of the platform like the main feed.

In a July earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “We saw a more than 30% increase in the time that people spent engaging with Reels across Facebook and Instagram.” If creators of Reels can make money from their participation on these platforms, they could start to win back some of the audience Meta has been losing to TikTok.

Will Meta succeed? One concern advertisers shared with Adweek is that too many ad formats could create saturation. If users feel like their experience is cluttered with too many ads, their engagement with Meta platforms will decline.

But if monetizing Reels makes Meta a more attractive destination for creators, the format could provide a credible alternative to TikTok. For now, businesses should work with their agency partners to evaluate these ad products against where their audiences are most likely engaging with their brands. If you are already achieving strong results by advertising on TikTok, for instance, Meta’s new formats might not be necessary unless you aim to court Meta’s relatively older audience (compared to TikTok). But if you’re already looking for ways to reach Meta’s audience, and you’ve been using Meta as an ad platform, these formats may hold more appeal.

Contact True Interactive

To succeed with social media advertising, contact True Interactive. We have extensive experience helping businesses succeed on social media.

Why Google Upped the Ante with Visual Search and Shopping

Why Google Upped the Ante with Visual Search and Shopping

Google

With the rise of Gen Z, Google has come to grips with the reality that people are using the Internet in a more visual way. We recently blogged about Google admitting publicly that Instagram and TikTok are challenging Google’s dominance of search with Gen Z.  Well, Google is responding. At the company’s recent Search On event, Google announced a slew of features to make search and shopping more immersive.

Search Is More Immersive

Google said that it’s making search more immersive and visual than ever. Earlier this year, Google introduced multisearch, which makes it possible for people to take a picture or use a screenshot and then add text to it (similar to the way you might naturally point at something and ask a question about it). At Search On, Google previewed “multisearch near me,” which enables people to snap a picture or take a screenshot of an item, then find it nearby instantly.

This is important because half of Google searches seek local information. According to Google, “This new way of searching will help you find and connect with local businesses, whether you’re looking to support your neighborhood shop, or just need something right now. ‘Multisearch near me’ will start rolling out in English in the U.S. later this fall.”

Shopping Is More Visual

Google is also making shopping a more visual experience. For instance:

  • Search with the word “shop.” In the United Sates, when people search using the word “shop” followed by the item they’re looking for, they’ll get access to a visual feed of products, tools, and inventory for that product. Technically this shoppable search experience has been in development already, but Google is expanding it to include more categories such as electronics and beauty.

search

  • Shop the Look: This tool will allow searchers to see options of where to buy the products you see in search. The “shop the look” feature show links to the exact product being searched for, as well complementary pieces and where to buy them.

Shop

  • Shop in 3D: Google began to roll our 3D visuals of home goods in search results, and the company is expanding 3D search to include more products such as shoes. To give merchants and advertisers better access to 3D visuals, Google is making available a new automated 360-degree spin feature that can be accessed by using a handful of static photos. The new technology will become available in the coming months.

3D shoe

These are the latest examples of how Google is changing for a more visual web. As we discussed, Google recently announced features such as Product feeds for a shoppable YouTube experience and Swipeable shopping ads in search.

What Advertisers Should Do

  • Capitalize on Google’s advertising tools that are designed to be more visually appealing. For instance, Google Discovery ads are image-rich ads designed for a more “laid back” search experience (more about that here). Google is clearly doubling down on the visual web, and advertisers should expect more visually appealing ad products as it attempts to become a stronger e-commerce player.
  • Optimize your online inventory for visual search. For instance, offer numerous images, choose high-resolution photos, optimize image titles and descriptions, add alternative text, optimize image sizes and file types, and include great captions.

Contact True Interactive

To succeed with online advertising, contact True Interactive. Read about some of our client work here.

Why the NFL on Amazon Prime Is a Victory for Connected TV

Why the NFL on Amazon Prime Is a Victory for Connected TV

Amazon

For decades, watching NFL games on television has meant gathering in front of a TV set and watching a game on one of the major networks. NFL games have been events that vanquish the competition. Featured programming such as Sunday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, and Monday Night Football have dominated viewer ratings. All of this is still the case. But how we watch football is changing.

On September 15, the NFL officially entered a new era of television broadcasting when the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers took the field for Thursday Night Football. Instead of televising the game on an established linear TV network, the NFL streamed the match-up on Amazon Prime as part of a $13 billion, 11-year deal with Amazon.

The game marked the NFL’s official embrace of streaming. It also meant that to watch TNF going forward, football fans would need to sign up for Amazon Prime, which is Amazon’s premium service costing $139 annually. And so far, it looks like fans are willing to pony up. According to an internal Amazon memo, the September 15 broadcast drew a record number of Prime sign-ups for a year-hour period.

Given the popularity of the NFL – easily the most dominant brand on TV based on viewer ratings – the streaming agreement has significant ramifications for advertisers. Notably, this is a victory for connected TV, which means watching TV content through a device such as Roku or Amazon Fire. Many people refer to connected TV as over-the-top (OTT) TV, which refers to streaming content directly over the internet instead of cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms. Although technically the two terms differ – with connected TV referring specifically to the device people use to stream content – for all intents and purposes, they are the same. Whatever you want to call it, connected TV has arrived: streaming is now more popular than cable. It’s no longer optional for businesses to have an OTT advertising strategy.

Connected advertising is similar to linear TV advertising because both formats rely obviously on video. But connected TV is different in many important ways. For one thing, advertisers need to understand how to create video content that will reach viewers across a variety of viewing devices in addition to TV screens, and connected TV ads are competing with multiple content streams. (You can watch TNF on a laptop, mobile phone, or gaming console with multiple screens open.)

And each streaming service and connected TV device (ranging from Amazon Fire to Roku) offer their own ad units. For example, Amazon Ads, which is Amazon’s fast-growing advertising business, offers ad units such as inline ads (which appear as selectable rows in each major browsing section of Fire TV) and feature rotator (a carousel-like ad placement appearing above the fold of the screen).

Ahead of the launch of TNF on Amazon Prime, Danielle Carney, Amazon Ads’ Head of NFL Sales, said:

We’re offering myriad opportunities to get involved with TNF, catering to brands’ range of needs. Our premier sponsorships give advertisers the ability to elevate their brands during the pre-game, pre-kick, halftime, and post-game shows. But that’s not all. We’re continuing to innovate and explore other potential sponsorships and packages that will enable brands tell their stories in unique ways through our surround, alternate feeds, and ancillary programming. Our newly built creative sports team will help customize the experience for our partners.

Outside of sponsorships, brands can use Streaming TV ads to reach fans throughout games on Prime Video and Twitch. Like our sponsorships, these video ads are backed by Amazon’s first-party insights, bringing more value and insight into campaign performance for brands.

To succeed, though, Amazon Prime needs to deliver viewing numbers to advertisers. Reportedly, Amazon has told advertisers that it expects to see nightly viewership of about 12.5 million people for its inaugural season of TNF. We’ll soon see. Amazon agreed for Nielsen to track ratings for TNF, and ratings for the September broadcast are still forthcoming.

Amazon Prime also needs to deliver a desirable experience. Amazon promises alternative ways to watch TNF, including Dude Perfect, a popular trick-shot comedy group. Amazon Fire TV and Alexa are bringing new features to NFL fans as well, such as trivia and real-time access to statistics (which should appeal to Fantasy Football devotees). Early fan reactions to the September 15 broadcast were mixed, and it looks like Amazon has some technical issues with content buffering to fix. Of course, no one can predict the quality of an actual NFL game, but Amazon can certainly deliver on the overall experience. Let’s see how Amazon adapts.

The broadcast is also significant for another reason: a victory for first-party data, which is the information that businesses collect directly from their customers. Amazon will use first-party data to sell targeted ads to help drive revenue for the games. This is huge. Right now, third-party audience data is withering away thanks to Apple’s and Google’s privacy measures. Businesses that figure out how to monetize first-party data enjoy an enormous advantage. Amazon has already become the third biggest ad platform in the world (behind Google and Meta) by using first-party data to sell targeted ads. The ascendance of first-party data is one reason why retailer-based ad networks have become so popular.

Bottom line: what is your advertising game plan for connected TV?

Contact True Interactive

To succeed with connected TV advertising, contact True Interactive. We have deep experience with this format.

Will Brands Cozy up to Geneva, the No-Like Zone?

Will Brands Cozy up to Geneva, the No-Like Zone?

Social media

Group chat app Geneva is setting out to disrupt some established norms: unlike its peers, the group communication platform is jettisoning familiar benchmarks like follower counts and Likes. An unconventional approach, perhaps, but people are responding: the app’s user base has quadrupled since the beginning of 2022.

Unique as Geneva is, it’s making its way in an undeniably crowded field. What exactly are its chances in an arena where social apps can enjoy a moment in the sun, only to disappear seemingly overnight? Let’s take a closer look.

Geneva Has a Historic Name — and Aspirations

Geneva was launched in March 2020, named by founder Justin Hauser after the Geneva Conventions. If the historic treaties created after World War II were meant to define what humane treatment of people during wartime should look like, Hauser wants Geneva the app to redefine what it means to connect online. Hauser sees the treaties as having made the world a better place. If he has his way, his app will do much the same thing, fostering healthy conversation in a safe place. As noted on the Geneva website, “We believe technology products can bring out the best in us or the worst in us and we’ve poured our hearts and minds into ensuring Geneva is for the better.”

It’s no pipe dream. Geneva has walked the walk from the get-go, eschewing the sense of exclusivity fostered by services like Clubhouse and its invite-only model. Instead, Geneva leans into the idea of inclusivity. Come one come all seems to be the mandate — an attitude that embraces wide-ranging interests as well as personalities. That said, the app takes protecting its users seriously. Trolls need not apply.

The setup is pretty simple: users log in, at which point they can join one of the existing “homes” on the app, or create their own. The core architecture here draws its inspiration from Slack, and what drives the app is the idea of creating community around shared passions, which on Geneva run the gamut from thrifting to wellness. What’s missing from this equation? The social pressures that heat up when users become consumed with user numbers, Likes, or a highly curated online persona. “Rooms” within Geneva further define user experience:

  • Chat rooms: Similar to Slack channels, the chat rooms facilitate casual, spontaneous conversations, whether users are making plans or sharing favorite pet photos.
  • Post rooms: Announcements, internship bulletins, and recipes all find a home in the post rooms, which allow for structured, asynchronous sharing of content.
  • Audio rooms: Likened to a big group phone call, audio rooms allow users to pop in and out for casual conversation or scheduled meetings.
  • Video rooms: For the times when we want to see one another’s faces, video rooms are go-tos for everything from book club discussions to live study meets.
  • Broadcast rooms: A nice alternative for hosting planned virtual events or expert panels, broadcast rooms allow up to nine people to live stream to thousands. Audience members can “raise their hands” and access the stage, or communicate via a live chat feed.

Geneva combats the ubiquitous threat of misinformation via features like “Gates,” which use “House Keys” and questionnaires to control access to Geneva homes and manage who can or can’t exert control over message moderation or invites.

Influencers Dig Geneva

Influencers are spiking an interest in the platform, drawn by the promise of real connection. The Washington Post notes, “[N]ow content creators are setting up accounts on chat apps, like Geneva . . . where they can connect privately and directly with people they know are listening.”

The intimacy of a give-and-take chat is appealing, as content creator Kate Glavan notes: “It’s more about what the community wants instead of just [me and best friend Emma Roepke] posting,” she says.

In short, the old model — creators putting out a steady stream of content, sometimes into the void — has been upended. So is the natural hierarchy that can be created between creators on the one hand and users on the other.

In Geneva, home creators don’t direct the discussion; they simply provide a place for people to connect. It’s like that great friend in college who always knew how to bring people together and create a space where the fun could commence. Again, we’re talking friendly, troll-free fun: as Hauser puts it, “People are fed up and they’re seeking salvation in safer spaces.” If Hauser has his way, that safe space will be Geneva.

Why Geneva Matters to Brands

Brands are taking note, though the app is currently free and does not incorporate paid advertising tools. Suncare brand Supergoop and haircare line Ceremonia are examples of brands that have created Geneva homes and rooms to foster conversation, offer product training, and facilitate product development.

And for marketers interested in reaching Gen Z, Geneva may prove a profound tool. Gen Z is drawn to the ideas of community, mutual support, and cooperation, all mandates that Geneva embraces. And because Gen Zers like to do something — whether it’s engage in discussion or tap and click — the Geneva platform, predicated as it is on the idea of engagement, is an obvious go-to for the Gen Z demographic.

The platform also underlines a powerful lesson for brands: numbers (as in Likes and user stats) aren’t everything. In fact, Geneva seems to be out to prove that less can be more. The one-on-one connections fostered by the app can offer a profound exchange that almost certainly pays off for businesses in the long run, regardless of that business’s size. When a consumer has a question about a product, the importance of that question getting answered by a human being — not an algorithm, not a phone tree, in a friendly space — cannot be overstated. In Geneva, users are heard.

And being heard creates loyalty.

Contact True Interactive

Curious as to whether experimenting with an app like Geneva might make sense for your brand? Contact us. We can help.

The Most Popular Social Media Apps for Teens

The Most Popular Social Media Apps for Teens

Social media

How are teens spending their time on social media these days? This is an important question for advertisers. That’s because teens spend money. They talk about their favorite brands with each other. Their preferences influence the popular cultural trends that advertisers need to understand in order to stay relevant. And if advertisers play their cards right, they can, in turn, influence teen behavior.

A new survey of Americans aged 13-17 from Pew Research Center reports some eye-opening findings about where and how teens are spending their time online. Key findings:

  • YouTube reigns. 95 percent of teens use YouTube, followed by TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.

Social Media Apps

  • Only 32 percent use Facebook, compared to 71 percent in 2014-15. Not only is there a smaller share of teenage Facebook users than there was in 2014-15, teens who do use Facebook are also relatively less frequent users of the platform compared to the other platforms covered in this survey. Just 7 percent of teen Facebook users say they are on the site or app almost constantly (representing 2 percent of all teens). Still, about six-in-ten teen Facebook users (57 percent) visit the platform daily.

Leading Social Sites

  • Many teens are always on. 46 percent of teens say they’re on the internet “almost constantly,” up from 24 percent in 2014-2015.  Roughy one in five teens are almost constantly on YouTube, which leads all platforms.

Social Media Usage

  • The vast majority of teens have access to digital devices, such as smartphones (95 percent), desktop or laptop computers (90 percent) and gaming consoles (80 percent). Since 2014-15, there has been a 22 percentage point rise in the share of teens who report having access to a smartphone (95 percent now and 73 percent then). While teens’ access to smartphones has increased over roughly the past eight years, their access to other digital technologies, such as desktop or laptop computers or gaming consoles, has remained statistically unchanged.
  • More affluent teens are particularly likely to have access to all three devices. Fully 76 percent of teens that live in households that make at least $75,000 a year say they have or have access to a smartphone, a gaming console and a desktop or laptop computer, compared with smaller shares of teens from households that make less than $30,000 or teens from households making $30,000 to $74,999 a year who say they have access to all three (60 percent and 69 percent of teens, respectively).
  • U.S. teens living in households that make $75,000 or more annually are 12 points more likely to have access to gaming consoles and 15 points more likely to have access to a desktop or laptop computer than teens from households with incomes under $30,000.
  • Habits vary by demographic. Teen boys are more likely than teen girls to say they use YouTube, Twitch and Reddit. Teen girls are more likely than teen boys to use TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat. Higher shares of Black and Hispanic teens report using TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp compared with white teens.

Implications for Brands

  • Short-form content on TikTok is popular, but so is longer-form content on YouTube. Within just a few years, TikTok has famously rocketed to popularity by featuring videos that are about 30 seconds in length (often shorter). But YouTube’s popularity demonstrates that teens also like more in-depth video content, as Mashable points out. Longer-form content lends itself to content marketing, such as “how to” topics and podcasts, as noted here. On the other hand, shorter-form TikTok videos lend themselves to catchy, engaging micro-moments. To use a television analogy, TikTok is the place for 30-second spots, and YouTube for advertorials. As one influencer on LinkedIn wrote, “If digital media is hunger, TikTok feels like McDonalds, and YouTube feels like [insert fairly decent quality restaurant]. TikTok gives you dopamine hits. It’s addicting, you can become consumed by it, but it doesn’t mean you’re satisfied with the quality. Each swipe is, ‘okay, now what’s next.’ Before you know it, it’s an hour. YouTube, even with most videos watched being through recommendations, provides a deeper connection with the viewer. If you watch a video for >1min, you’re truly invested. This also means that creators will build more meaningful viewer connections through YouTube. All data shows that Gen Z appreciates the quality and connections of YouTube.”
  • Teens are not all the same. Variances exist by income level and demographic, as noted above. It’s important to understand the differences depending on your audience. In addition to the statistics cited above, we also noticed the popularity of gaming consoles among more affluent teens. And overall, Hispanic (47 percent) and Black teens (45 percent) are more likely than white teens (26 percent) to say they use at least one of the five most popular social media online platforms almost constantly. And teen girls are most likely to be social media loyal than teen boys: teen girls are more likely than teen boys to express it would be difficult to give up social media (58 percent versus 49 percent). All of these nuances influence any company that wants to launch a credible multi-cultural marketing strategy.
  • Facebook still matters, but Instagram does even more. Even though it’s less popular among teens than it was in 2014-15, it’s still more popular with teens than Twitter, Twitch, WhatsApp, Reddit, and Tumblr. As teens get older, they may very well spend more time on Facebook. And Facebook the platform still enjoys widespread usage among adults, as seen in other recent Center studies. However, it’s clear that among Meta’s brands, Instagram is more important for reaching teens, especially as Instagram morphs into a social selling site.

Contact True Interactive

We deliver results for clients across all ad formats, including social mediavideo, and mobile. To learn how we can help you, contact us.

Photo by Rami Al-zayat on Unsplash

How Brands Are Using YouTube Shorts

How Brands Are Using YouTube Shorts

YouTube

The rise of TikTok is one of the most phenomenal stories in the digital world. Since launching globally in 2018 through a merger with Musical.ly, TikTok has become a multi-billion-dollar advertising machine. TikTok has more than 1 billion members, has surpassed Snapchat to become the most popular app with teens, and is on course to earn more than $11 billion in ad revenue in 2022.

TikTok has succeeded by becoming the preferred app for short-form videos. Although users can post videos that are as lengthy as 10 minutes, the ideal TikTok video is about 30 seconds long. Some of the most popular TikTok videos of all time, racking up billions of views, are blink-and-you’ll-miss-them short.  As a result of TikTok’s popularity, brands are spending more money advertising on the app, which is a threat to more established apps such as YouTube and Instagram.

Because of TikTok’s popularity, YouTube and Instagram have responded in kind by launching short-form video features. For example, in 2021, YouTube rolled out Shorts globally after a more limited launch in India in 2020. Although YouTube Shorts is not yet a source of meaningful advertising revenue for YouTube, it is gaining traction with brands.

What Is the YouTube Shorts Feature?

Shorts is basically a TikTok copycat. Using the YouTube app, people can quickly and easily create short videos of up to 15 seconds. The videos are created on mobile devices and viewed, in portrait orientation, on mobile devices. And once you open one short, you essentially access the motherlode in that videos start playing one after the other. Just swipe vertically to get from one to the next.

Shorts, much like TikTok, provides editing tools you can use to flex creative muscle. Users can string clips together, adjust playback speed, and add music and text. And as YouTube has blogged, creators can play off of existing content: “[Y]ou can give your own creative spin on the content you love to watch on YouTube and help find it a new audience—whether it’s reacting to your favorite jokes, trying your hand at a creator’s latest recipe, or re-enacting comedic skits.” (Notably, creators are in control of their material; they can opt out of having their long-form videos remixed in this way.)

According to YouTube, more than 1.5 billion people use Shorts – impressive numbers that actually surpass TikTok’s user base. It was only a matter of time before YouTube made it possible for brands to get involved creating their own Shorts. And they are.

How Are Brands Using YouTube Shorts?

As reported in The Wall Street Journal, brands are increasingly experimenting with ways to engage with users on Shorts. For example:

  • Kitchen and home marketplace Food52 is posting Shorts that offer sneak peeks at its longer-form content on the traditional version of YouTube, as well as repurposing some recipe videos.
  • Drupely’s olive-oil brand Graza says it is creating user engagement by posting how-to cooking and recipe content. According to Graza, videos focused solely on Graza products do better on TikTok than on Shorts.
  • Glossier sold products through Shorts in June by creating a challenge for users to try. Glossier gave about a hundred influencers a new pencil eyeliner and encouraged them to create Shorts videos with the hashtag #WrittenInGlossier in the caption. People who tapped the hashtag were brought to the Glossier website. There, they could buy the eyeliner and were asked to recreate a look as part of the challenge. Any Shorts video that included the hashtag was shoppable.
  • Danessa Myricks Beauty used a short to promote its launch in Sephora. The Short built excitement for the launch by featuring the sending off a package of its product to be sent to Sephora stores.
  • NBC’s The Voice relied on Shorts to feature hosts for its most recent season. The ad included a banner at the end with clear directions for viewers on when and where to watch the show.

This is all encouraging for Shorts, but the feature is not yet a revenue generator, and YouTube is under pressure to staunch the flow of ad dollars to TikTok. On top of that, Instagram is turning up the heat with its own TikTok challenger, Reels.

Even so, YouTube is striking a note of optimism.

Philipp Schindler, senior vice president and chief business officer at Google, said during second-quarter earnings call in July. “…[E]arly results in Shorts monetization are also encouraging, and we’re excited about the opportunities here.”

It’s early days for Shorts and brands. Meanwhile, Shorts has one big advantage over TikTok: integration with YouTube, which has 2.6 billion active users. This is important because YouTube can promote Shorts to the built-in user base, and brands can connect Shorts content to their already established YouTube presence.

What Brands Should Do

  • Know your audience. YouTube appeals to the 15-25-year-old demographic. It is also very popular among 26-35-year-olds. TikTok skews younger: it is most attractive to 16-24 year-olds.
  • Be ready to capitalize on Shorts ad formats when they become available widely. For instance, brands will be able to connect their product feeds to their campaigns and make video ads on YouTube Shorts more shoppable.
  • Understand how to integrate Shorts ad formats into a broader YouTube advertising strategy that includes skippable video ads, bumper ads, overlay ads, and others.

Contact True Interactive

We deliver results for clients across all ad formats, including video and mobile. To learn how we can help you, contact us.

Why Google Delayed Its Cookie-Killing Effort to 2024

Why Google Delayed Its Cookie-Killing Effort to 2024

Google

To no one’s surprise, Google announced that the company is postponing its plans to kill third-party cookies on Google Chrome. The deadline, originally scheduled for 2022, will now be late 2024. If this news seems familiar to you, you are not alone. In 2021, Google announced a delay to 2023, but now 2023 no longer is feasible.

Why?

The problem for Google comes down to the reality that the company raked in more than $209 billion in advertising revenue in 2021.

Google Ad Revenues

As a result, Google needs to proceed very carefully in its phasing out of third-party cookies, which advertisers use to serve up targeted ads to people by tracking their browsing habits across the web. The fact that Google announced the delay after it disclosed subpar quarterly earnings shows just how wary Google is of rocking the boat. To protect its advertising business, Google must:

  • Come up with an alternative to third-party cookies that will satisfy advertisers. If Google fails to do that, Google will lose business to competitors such as Amazon Ads. Amazon Ads deliver targeted ads based on their own data beyond the reach of Google’s privacy controls. And Amazon Ads isn’t the only one, as I blogged recently.
  • Mollify regulators. Because Google is the largest online ad platform in the world, Google must convince regulators that its consumer privacy changes won’t give Google an unfair advantage. As we blogged in 2021, U.K. regulators have already slowed down Google’s efforts. Regulators are concerned that the demise of third-party cookies could give Google too much power because Google can rely on first-party data on sites such as YouTube (which Google owns) to support its ad business.

Google’s approach to satisfy advertisers consists of the Privacy Sandbox, where Google experiments with alternatives to third-party cookies that enable targeting with stricter privacy controls in place. Those alternatives include:

  • Fledge, for remarketing new ads.
  • Attribution reports, for telling advertisers which ads work without compromising consumer privacy.

But it is taking some time for Google to devise solutions as noted above, and not without some considerable trial and effort. For the record, here is Google’s rationale for the delay this time:

The most consistent feedback we’ve received is the need for more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome. This feedback aligns with our commitment to the [U.K. Competition and Markets Authority] to ensure that the Privacy Sandbox provides effective, privacy-preserving technologies and the industry has sufficient time to adopt these new solutions. This deliberate approach to transitioning from third-party cookies ensures that the web can continue to thrive, without relying on cross-site tracking identifiers or covert techniques like fingerprinting.

That rationale underlines both the impact of regulators and the difficulty in developing an answer to third-party cookies.

This latest delay has annoyed advertisers who had been taking measures to adapt to a cookie-less world and now find themselves delaying their plans. Others simply do not like the uncertainty of living in an extended transitional period while Apple enacts privacy control measures of its own. We suggest that for now, advertisers:

  • Accept the reality that as third-party cookies crumble and technology companies enact privacy controls, your ads will be less targeted than they were – at least until the industry adapts to alternative tools being developed. This does not mean you should stop advertising online. Online advertising remains the most efficient and cost-effective way to reach your audience.
  • Try alternatives beyond Google’s Privacy Sandbox. These include alternative IDs, contextual targeting, and seller-defined audiences.
  • Work with your advertising agency to understand what’s happening and how you may be affected. That’s exactly what our clients are doing with True Interactive. That’s what we’re here for.
  • Don’t abandon ship with ads that rely on web tracking. As you can see with Google’s announcement, things may not proceed the way Google plans.
  • Do invest in ways to leverage your own (first-party) customer data to create personalized ads. We can help you do that.
  • Consider ad platforms such as Amazon Advertising and Walmart Connect, which give businesses entrée to a vast base of customers who search and shop on Amazon and Walmart. True Interactive offers services on both platforms in addition to our longstanding work on Google, Bing, and other platforms. Learn more about our services with Amazon Ads here and Walmart here.

One other important consideration: remember, Google is not the only company doing away with third-party cookie tracking. Apple did so with Safari in 2020, and Mozilla with Firefox. The writing is on the wall: it’s time to adapt to a world without third-party cookies. True Interactive can help you do that.

Contact True Interactive

To succeed with online advertising, contact True Interactive. Read about some of our client work here.

Lead image source: https://unsplash.com/@laurenedvalson

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