Half of marketers predict “death of the cookie” by 2018


Over half of digital marketing managers (53%) say that cookie-based advertising campaigns will die out within the next 12 months, according to a new report.


The ‘Power of the People’ report, from Viant, a Time Inc. company, surveyed 251 brand-side digital marketing managers in the UK.

It reveals that many digital marketers are turning away from cookie-based campaigns and instead embracing a people-based marketing approach. Unlike cookies, people-based campaigns give marketers the ability to advertise to real people linked across multiple devices using registered user data. This means marketers can reach the same individuals across all of their mobile or tablet devices and can also track the role of digital in offline sales – something which is impossible to do with cookies.

The vast majority of marketers (83%) say people-based marketing campaigns perform better than cookie-based campaigns. When asked about the specific reasons for this performance, marketers say people-based marketing campaigns offer improved targeting ability (58%) and the ability to reach real people (40%). As two thirds of smartphones and tablet devices don’t accept cookies, over a third of marketers (36%) also say they value the ability to effectively track users across multiple devices with people-based marketing.

The positive experience of early adopters means people-based marketing budgets are increasing quickly - marketers will spend 40% of their digital advertising budgets on people-based marketing campaigns in 2017. However, while many are dedicating budget to this area, the vast majority are investing in people-based marketing on social media (75%). As social media ad spend accounts for less than half of all display ad spend according to the IAB2, the report shows the full potential of people-based campaigns is still untapped across the rest of the web.

With $7.2billion predicted to have been wasted on fraudulent ads in 20163, being able to reach real individuals and improve targeting will be key for brands to ensure they are seeing real ROI from campaigns. With almost a third (29%) of marketers admitting they are still new to the concept of people-based marketing, the report reveals there is huge scope for growth in the market.

The report also reveals a number of challenges that need to be addressed for the growth of people-based marketing to continue. The main roadblock for brand-side marketers is a lack of reliable people-based marketing partners (48%), followed by difficulties accessing and using first party data (38%). In fact, over half of digital marketing managers surveyed (53%) said they don’t use any first party data in their advertising campaigns.

Finally, 33% said they have been held back by their agency not suggesting a people-based marketing approach in the past.

Toby Benjamin, VP of Platform Partnerships at Viant said “This research data shows that marketers’ faith in the cookie is crumbling. Yet while the industry is increasingly embracing people-based marketing, running campaigns that are built on a foundation of people, not cookies, there is huge potential for growth. I’m optimistic that we will see a real shift in attitudes towards digital marketing in the UK over the next few years.


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