Only 48% of UK publishers prepared for cookieless future – study


A surprisingly low 48% of UK publishers have said they are actively preparing for the cookieless future.

That’s according to a new study of 555 publishers across 58 countries, by global advertising firm Teads.

Cookieless future

The transition to a cookieless digital landscape has already taken significant strides, despite the delay in Google’s phase-out of third-party cookies.

With 45% of global web traffic now cookieless on Teads’ SSP, publishers and advertisers are navigating uncharted territory. This shift poses substantial challenges for UK publishers and advertisers.

And while the Teads study revealed the low level of cookie less preparation, it also noted that over a third (37%) of UK publishers are planning to take action at some point in 2024, and the number of those that are looking to get ahead of the deprecation is 16% higher in the UK compared to average global results.

Gwern Parri, Publisher Group Account Director at Teads UK, said: “Despite the fact that UK publishers appear to be more informed about the upcoming changes than their global colleagues, our survey still highlights a continued lack of readiness.

“This is surprising as (59%) of respondents answered that they are still receiving a higher yield from cookie-based traffic, meaning that when final depreciation does eventually happen, it’s likely there will be a significant impact on their ability to monetise this supply.”

 Angelina Eng, VP of IAB’s Measurement, Addressability & Data Centre, said: “At the IAB, we see this as a critical time to advance our guidelines and frameworks to support the industry’s transition.

“We’re accelerating our efforts to develop standards that address the needs of a cookieless web, ensuring that all parties can navigate this shift smoothly”.

Teads’ new study also showed that a staggering 85% of UK publishers are considering direct selling to advertisers and agencies, leveraging their first-party data, and have a strategy in place to increase the utilisation of logins.

This, however, can have different implications for nationally renowned brands and smaller publishers.

A major challenge remains in encouraging user logins, with almost seven in 10 (67%) of UK publishers being concerned about the potential disruption of user experience and almost six in 10 (59%) expecting the potential impact on traffic.

Additionally, only 22% of publishers report more than half of their users visiting more than three times per month, highlighting that some cookieless alternatives that require logged-in users may struggle with scale.

Despite potential revenue losses, 52% of UK publishers remain optimistic and see this transition as an opportunity to leverage their first-party data and enhance the quality of their content.

Furthermore, 48% of respondents appreciate the privacy benefits, expressing confidence in finding new alternatives.

Finally, only 7% consider increasing the ad space and/or number of third-party monetisation partners to increase demand, which reinforces that UK publishers are resilient and aware of the tools that can help them successfully navigate the realities of a cookieless world.