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Google reports results of tests of Interest Based Audience (IBA) solutions vs. 3rd-party cookies
19 April 2023
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Results "showed promise" for IBA solutions

Adweek: "Some protocols don't perform dramatically worse than third-party cookies"

Google VP/Global Ads Dan Taylor reported yesterday on the Google Blog some initial results of tests of Interest Based Audience (IBA) solutions as a possible replacement for 3rd-party cookies in Chrome.

Tests were done on affinity, in-market and custom audiences and demographic segments on the Google Display Network using "privacy-preserving signals" including contextual information, Privacy Sandbox Topics API, and first-party identifiers.

Using Chrome, researchers compared advertising using IBA solutions (with and without AI) against a control group using 3rd-party cookies.

How IBA solutions (with and without AI combined) performed vs. 3rd-party cookies:

  • Ad spend: down 2% - 7%
  • Conversions per dollar of ad spend: down 1% - 3%
  • Clickthrough rate: within 90%

On each metric, IBA solutions with AI performed better than IBA solutions without AI.

IBA ad campaigns using Optimized Targeting or Max Conversions Bidding were less impacted by removal of 3rd-party cookies, which suggests that AI can compensate to some extent for loss of cookies.

Additional tests were run on Video 360 display campaigns with similar results.

Mr. Taylor said:

"Over the coming months, we’ll continue to iterate and run more rounds of testing in consultation with the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK. We’ll continue to provide regular feedback to Chrome and publish our findings to the broader industry to help improve Topics as it continues to evolve. We’re also making progress on our remarketing and conversion measurement experiments, so stay tuned as we’ll share our findings later this year. Meanwhile, as an advertiser, make sure you continue adopting innovative ads solutions that protect people’s privacy and help you drive performance."

If you're wondering what the UK Competition and Markets Authority has to do with this: In November 2020 that body established a Digital Markets Unit tasked to ensure that Google's competitors will be able to operate on a "level playing field".

I've published several articles about that.

Some ad industry people have criticized the IBA test results as being "unverifiable and heavily in Google's interests."

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