Google reveals results of its interest-based advertising experiment

Image Source: Google Ads & Commerce Blog

While Google is getting ready to sunset third-party cookies in Chrome next year, it’s also exploring new privacy-focused solutions to fill the gap for both advertisers and publishers. On Monday, the tech giant revealed the results of its interest-based advertising testing, which was conducted by its Google Ads and Display & Video 360 teams during the first quarter of 2023, in an effort to see how the future replacement performs compared to third-party cookies.

‘’We created two experiment arms on a share of Chrome traffic,’’ said Dan Taylor, Google’s Vice President of Global Ads, in a blog post. ‘’On one arm, we continued using third-party cookies. On the other, we replaced third-party cookies with a combination of privacy preserving signals for IBA solutions while maintaining the use of third-party cookies for other use cases such as measurement and remarketing.’

Taylor said they found that ‘’interest-based audience solutions with privacy-preserving signals showed promise compared to third party cookies’’. 

‘’The experiment showed that when using interest-based audience (IBA) solutions with privacy-preserving signals on the display network, Google Display Ads advertiser spending on IBA — as a proxy for scale reached — decreased by 2-7% compared to third-party-cookie-based results,’’ he explained. ‘’For conversions per dollar, as a proxy for return on investment, the decrease was 1-3%.1 Finally, we also observed that click-through rates remained within 90% of the status quo.2 And we observed similar performance for Display & Video 360.’’

The findings of the study also indicate that machine learning could have a significant role in the cookieless future since optimization solutions powered by artificial intelligence were found to be less affected by the elimination of third-party cookies.

‘’These results — while encouraging — should not be considered as an unequivocal indicator of Google’s IBA performance after the third-party cookie deprecation,’’ Taylor noted. ‘’The current experiment measures the effectiveness of serving interest-based audiences; the results of future experiments including measurement, remarketing, and other use cases may vary.’’

Google is planning to continue its interest-based advertising testing in the upcoming months in consultation with the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Written by Tuna Cetin


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