Google Shares Results From its Latest Post-Cookie Tracking Experiments

In the wake of phasing out data tracking cookies, Google has been developing new, more privacy-friendly solutions that will enable advertisers to continue running effective online ad campaigns. Google’s main initiative on this front is its Privacy Sandbox suite of tools, which tracks different aspects of user behavior without using specific identifiers. Recently, Google ran an experiment to see how its latest Sandbox-based Interest tracking tools (IBA) match up to cookie tracking in relation to response insights.

New Tools vs. Cookie Tracking

Google provided a note that the experiment is not an apples-to-apples comparison, and that it’s used multiple new tracking elements matched up against traditional cookie tracking to come close to the data insights currently available. These signals included contextual information, the Topics API from the Privacy Sandbox, and first-party identifiers such as Publisher Provided IDs. Based on this research, it reveals that it will take more effort to get comparative tracking with the new system.

The experiment shows that when using interest-based audience (IBA) solutions with privacy-preserving signals on the display network, Google Display Ads advertiser spending on IBA decreased by 2-7% compared to third-party-cookie-based results. For conversions per dollar, the decrease was 1-3%. Google also observed that click-through rates remained within 90% of the status quo. The experiment used a range of data signals for comparison, so it’s not a precise or direct comparison at this stage.

Hope for Advertisers

Google’s findings provide some hope for advertisers concerned about the demise of cookie tracking and what that could mean for their results. Apple’s ATT update, another privacy-protection initiative, has had a major impact on many platforms. The platforms are working to improve their targeting alternatives to counter this; and those solutions are getting better all the time, but the roll-out of ATT has many marketers spooked, as Google contemplates this next big shift.

Google is working to build alternative solutions that’ll enable advertisers to generate good results, as opposed to just dumping the change on them, and experiments like these underline the potential, at least, on this front. Google further notes that campaigns utilizing AI-powered optimization, which is still in line with enhanced privacy, have also been driving better performance. For instance, campaigns using optimized targeting or Maximize conversions bid strategies were less impacted by the removal of third-party cookies, indicating that machine learning can play a significant role in driving results.

The Future of Tracking

Meta’s Advantage+ automated ad tools are also now generating good results, and as AI systems improve, this will increasingly become a more viable pathway. Perhaps eventually, that avenue will be trusted enough to replace cookie tracking outright, without losing performance. There’s a way to go – Google’s not phasing out cookies till at least next year – but these experiments provide some hope for the post-cookie world.

Sources: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-shares-results-from-its-latest-post-cookie-tracking-experiments/426983/