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After years of calling wolf, it looks increasingly certain that cookies will be eliminated during 2024. Google Chrome, the last major browser bastion of the cookie based internet will begin deprecation in January, culling 1% of their cookie pools and by June ‘24, they plan to have removed the rest. Other major browsers have long since moved on but Chrome carries 59% of web browsers and with them, has been delivering a massive adtech sized sticking plaster.

If you think that this still represents ‘tomorrow’s problem’ or indeed a tomorrow which may never come – then scour your paid media activation and you’ll likely find the evidence that this is already todays problem. If you’re using ‘audiences’ outside of walled gardens like LinkedIn, then the likelihood is that all of your current media buying is hitting Chrome users only, and the cost of inventory on Chrome is now trending up to 65% above like-for-like impressions on other browsers (measured on eCPC). You are already missing out on unique reach, you’re already not identifying and activating on B2B audiences in major ‘B2B environments’ like Safari mobile. You’re already overpaying for inventory because you like your competitors are being pushed into competitions for only half of the worlds impressions, and you’re losing out to forward thinking competitors who are already using the tactics that I will outline below.

B2B marketers are already struggling to reach their online audiences in consistent, transparent and privacy aware way – and cookies are still here. Yet there’s already some clear efficiencies in going ‘beyond cookies’ in the manner we do at FunnelFuel – namely upwards of 161% CTR uplift, an incredible 60x lift in addressable audiences on Safari and Firefox,  -29% media efficiency (reduction in unnecessary or excessive frequency) and a 65% more cost effective CPC. This is the value of using a unique ID solution, and we cover this and more below in our B2B 2024 game plan. Firstly back to cookies…

Cookies have been the currency of the adtech universe, the hidden world of ‘piping’ that connects digital buyers with digital sellers, often via convoluted and vastly interconnected pathways. Cookies have been the data currency that makes sense of users, enabling both first and third party audience based signals to be passed through the adtech pipe work.

We’ve always argued that cookies are of negligible value to B2B marketers. Their average lifespan is just 29 days and the average B2B sales cycle vastly outstrips this time horizon. B2B differs from B2C in its reliance on decision making teams versus individuals, and as cookies track individual devices not whole decision making units, their value is further limited.

That said, at least one of the major Account Based Marketing players solutions is anchored on cookies, and the removal of this currency will make targeting third party audience segments much harder, at least until alternative solutions are found.

We have already observed that the average B2B marketer is delivering a disproportionately high percentage of their spend via Chrome, and we have also observed – via the great benefit of running our own programmatic Demand Side Platform – that impressions on chrome are disproportionately expensive versus other browsers like Safari. Yet Safari is the native browser on Apple devices, and there are proportionately more ITDM’s in the Apple ecosystem then Android. Whilst many can and will run Chrome on desktop, from our data it becomes clear that the majority run Safari on mobile, and mobile captures over 70% of the addressable internet…

So all of this is to say that 2024’s looming challenges around cookies are actually already todays problem. If you’re buying media you’re already impacted. If you’re tracking using ABM platforms, you’re also equally likely impacted. A simple litmus test is to use your web analytics to observe your website visitor browser split and see if Chrome is over indexing.

Will IP come under threat next? 

IP has long since being a key targeting lever for B2B marketers, typically because it can be used to find corporate Wi-Fi addresses. Many B2B offerings still rely entirely on such data points, as opposed to say building true first party audiences or creating segments based on more persistent identifiers like email. So in many ways, the increasing squeeze on IP addresses will continue to cause pain

We believe that its only a matter of time before IP addresses follow suit. Over 2 billion people globally are now exposed to connected television (CTV) and the devices IP address is the addressability lever – ie the targeting hook. Whether the sheer volume of users and the inevitable scrutiny that comes with them is the straw that breaks the camels back, its arguably too late anyway.’ Big tech’ is already working to obfuscate IPs and it’s inevitable that more solutions like Apple’s private relay will emerge and with it, the usefulness of the IP address will diminish.

These problems extend beyond programmatic – they include biddable media in general 

We recently saw that Meta (Facebook) are running into first party data challenges too. From all of the stats that we see in our FunnelFuel web analytics across hundreds of millions of page views on B2B websites, we have consistently seen that Meta is not only a go-to platform for B2B marketers but equally its one of their best performing. Many vendors see better on-site metrics from Meta then they do LinkedIn, so the upcoming changes in ad buying on their vast platforms comes as another blow. The news that Meta will offer ad free subscriptions to its users was the first sign of 1st party data troubles, and the soon to follow news that their 1st party data is essentially illegal in the EU, and thus won’t be activatable against was perhaps less of a shock.

This all goes to show that B2B’s go-to data currencies are coming under threat from all angles. So how will a savvy B2B CMO and their paid media teams go about buying growth [via paid media] in 2024 and beyond?

A 2024 B2B Game Plan 

All of the above paints a decidedly bleak picture of the media buying world next year. At FunnelFuel we have been working to get ahead of all of this for sometime.

It would clearly be churlish to give away our whole game plan in a publicly available blog, but we can give you a clear sense on our direction of differentiated travel, and how we’re positioning ourselves to lead the B2B market next year.

First party data is king and we are continuing our progression towards building a transparent, open, and genuinely scaled B2B graph. This is built using our world class B2B analytics, which has been delivering best in class insights through this year across over 250 data points, in what we believe is the most expansively open (IE full APIs) analytics platform in the market. We have been proudly cookieless in our analytics since its inception, and decided against any ‘easy but short term wins’ around utilising cookie data. The 29 day average cookie lifespan and B2B were never bedfellows so we avoided the upheaval that 2024 will bring to our competitors completely.

Buyers and sellers need to be closer in 2024, and we have accelerated working with best in class B2B vendors and publishers alike, building a genuinely two-sided marketplace which is bookended on the same structured data. Our analytics, which acts like a combined insights tool married with a CDP, enables value propositions for both sides of the market. Whether its media segmentation for multichannel activation (ie you can create segments AND actually buy against them, all in your analytics!), full company level (ABM) insights across hundreds of data points, personalisation without cookies and multi-channel media reporting including attribution for the previously unattributable media channels like Digital out of Home; there are features designed to provide huge value to both sides of the market. The co-op of identify that comes out delivers real business value for publishers and advertisers alike.

Email is king, providing the most reliable single identifier and source of persona data in existence. We introduced our own email based unique identifier (UID) this year, structuring content consumption data and media buying data against persistent cookieless identifiers. We’re partnering with the UID marketplace to map into over 40 other common identifiers, meaning FunnelFuel B2B data will live across the ecosystem of identity.

This identify ecosystem leads us further down the path of a really consolidated supply chain and aggressive supply path optimisation. Our bidder already accesses media incredibly cleanly, with deliberate actions taken to avoid the interconnected pipes of multiple fee taking intermediaries. The data leakage, costs, environmental impacts and downright inefficiencies of that landscape need avoiding like the proverbial plague. Our bidder does and will continue to connect directly to best in class B2B media.

As we touched on above, there is a tangible set of benefits linked to using the FunnelFuel B2B identity graph and clean supply chain in order to reach your B2B audiences in a consistent, transparent and privacy aware manner. These include;

  • a 669% lift in unique impressions versus single [Google Chrome] based activation
  • 7% views ability lift
  • 1,271% impression lift driven by cheaper media access [using the same budget]
  • 60x more addressable (recognisable B2B audiences) uplift in Safari and Firefox
  • 41.3% CTR lift

These stats definitively show that the right tech stack, like the one compiled by FunnelFuel, combined with unique identifiers rather then cookies delivers scale, increased addressability and superior performance.

If this is something which could help your business in 2024, whether you’re a publisher or a vendor, get in touch with us today