CES Review – The Ad Tech Perspective

CES 2024 lacked the usual jovial tone that you would expect from an industry event in Las Vegas. It came at a momentous time for the digital advertising industry since Google had just announced the start of third-party cookie deprecation days before the event. While the industry knew this day would come, everyone came ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work. Conversations centered around committing to the Privacy Sandbox, investing in alternative identifiers, and growing other mediums like CTV. Over the week the 33Across team met with many industry stakeholders and discussed what was top of mind. Here’s some of what we heard:

Solving for Signal Loss

Due to Google’s recent change, advertisers are reallocating investments to alternative IDs since more than 50% of advertising impressions are cookieless. To sure up investments more independent measurement and attribution for alternative IDs are seeing rising investment. Considering that most partners have taken a portfolio approach and plan to adopt 3-5 identity partners, measurement is a key component.

For publishers, this number could be higher since many employ both probabilistic and deterministic solutions for accuracy and scale across the open and private marketplaces. Since there are many in-market identity solutions, publishers stressed the importance of transparency with DSPs when considering a long-term partner.

What we didn’t see was panic over signal loss, since cookie alternative solutions like Lexicon, have proven to scale and be a sound alternative to third-party cookies.

Privacy Sandbox

Google is implementing a huge revision on how the Internet functions; impacting digital advertising’s functionality for the Chrome browser. What’s concerning is, that to properly work, the demand side has to implement a lot of time and resources just to test it. In general, when investing in a project of this scale and cost most organizations would need to feel confident about customer adoption and what type of return they’d gain. However, with the limited test results that have been shared, there is some hesitancy.

Lack of technical resources

With many partners investing in the Privacy Sandbox, there’s little room for much other development work. Partners made it clear that solutions that require development work, must generate immediate revenue and be relatively low lift since the majority of engineer hours will be devoted to the Privacy Sandbox.

To supplement identity, first-party data, and additional data assets, were discussed to help increase scale.

The next few months will be interesting to see how everything will shake up as Google’s cookie deprecation plan continues. We’ll continue to see more partners working together to work towards a new paradigm of digital advertising. There will be sure to be some bumps in the road but opportunities lie ahead for those who continue to explore cookie alternative solutions.