How Google Ad Exchange Performs in Both Cookie and Cookieless Environments?

As you know, Google announced that Chrome will phase out the support for third-party cookies within two years and adtech is trying to figure out a way to run targeted ads without the cookies. As an industry, we’ve been relying on third-party cookies to do everything — from targeting to measurement to attribution. 

With the privacy laws and anti-tracking initiatives from the browsers, the way forward is clear: we need to programmatically transact in a cookieless environment. This means, as a publisher, you have to ensure that you are prepared for what’s ahead. 

Note that the consortiums and digital advertising giants like Google are coming up with new standards (Privacy Sandbox and Project Rearc) and identity solutions to sustain some level of targeting and personalization. 

At Automatad, we tend to adopt industry initiatives and encourage our publishers to do the same. However, in this case, we are yet to see a long-term solution. 

So, right now, we would like to help you understand Google Ad Exchange’s performance across the browsers — Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and more. Why? We know for a fact that Google AdX is the largest demand partner that contributes to more than 50 percent of the ad revenue and it is important to know how it performs in both cookie and cookieless environments. 

How to interpret the charts? 

We’ve studied the performance of AdX across the browsers in different geos including the U.S, U.K, India, and Germany. 

If you have U.S audience, then you can refer the performance charts of the U.S and see how Google AdX eCPM varies from one browser to another. In other words, cookie to cookie-less environments. If the difference is huge, then the impact will be great as well. 

In addition, it is important to consider the revenue/impression split between the browsers. For example, the higher the volume of impressions or revenue from Chrome, the higher will be the impact when the cookies are dropped.

Shall we begin?

Google Ad Exchange Performance – U.S

Safari market share in the U.S. is higher than the other markets as almost one out of two smartphone users owns an iPhone. So, Chrome gets to have half of the impressions and Safari has 45% — closely trailing Chrome. The rest is split between the other browsers. 

Google Ad Exchange Impressions Split Across the BrowsersNow, this is where it gets interesting. Though Safari took up to 45% of the available ad impressions, it accounted for just 25% of the total revenue. On the other hand, Google chrome accounted for almost 70% of the revenue. 

Google Ad Exchange Revenue Split Across the BrowsersWhy? 

Take a look at the eCPM value and you’ll get the answer. 

Google Ad Exchange eCPM Across the BrowsersAd Exchange eCPM of the impressions from Google Chrome is ~150% higher than that of impressions from Safari. You can see that eCPM from the browsers that don’t allow third-party cookies by default — Safari, Firefox, are at the more or less the same value. 

This is in line with the report published by BidSwitch. BidSwitch Programmatic Insights Report states that the difference between Chrome and Safari CPMs has increased to 1.8x last year. 

Google Ad Exchange Performance – India

Google Chrome has the lion’s share of India’s browser market and so it isn’t surprising to see Google Ad Exchange capturing more than 90% of the impressions and the revenue via Chrome. 

Google Ad Exchange Impressions Split Across the BrowsersThe % of revenue from all the other browsers are in single-digit and except Safari and Firefox, other browsers didn’t contribute more than 1%.  

Google Ad Exchange Revenue Split Across the BrowserseCPM from the Chrome browser is 58% higher than eCPM of impressions from Safari. Interestingly, the eCPM difference b/w Chrome and Safari in India isn’t as great as it was in the US. 

Google Ad Exchange eCPM Across the BrowsersWhat could be the reason? Well, it’s because there are just 12 million iPhone users in India (the second-largest smartphone market) and they are considered to have greater spending power than the others. Besides, targeting iPhone users substantially reduces the potential reach, resulting in higher eCPM. The narrower the targeting, the higher the eCPM. 

Secondly, almost every smartphone users (even iPhone users) tend to have a Google account in India. Gmail market share in India is 82% vs. 53% in the US. So, Google knows more about iPhone users in India, which in turn, helps it to bid higher and win auctions.

Because of the disproportionate market share of Chrome, Indian publishers are going to be adversely affected. They should be the first to adopt a solution or figure out a way to run targeted ads without third-party cookies. 

Google Ad Exchange Performance – Germany

Again, Google didn’t take the complete market in Germany. Safari, Firefox, and other browsers accounted for ~35% of the impressions. 

Google Ad Exchange Impressions Split Across the Browsers - GermanyRevenue from Google Chrome is ~75% and others add up to get the rest of the revenue. Apparently, it is because of the eCPM difference.  

Google Ad Exchange Revenue Split Across the Browsers - GermanyAd Exchange eCPM of the impressions from Chrome is almost 2x than that of impressions from Safari. 

Google Ad Exchange eCPM Across the Browsers - Germany

Google Ad Exchange Performance – U.K

Here’s how Google Ad Exchange impressions and revenue are dispersed across the browsers. Chrome accounts for 56% of the total impressions brought by Google AdX and Safari for ~37%. 

Google Ad Exchange Impressions Split Across the Browsers - U.KSafari’s share in the total ad exchange revenue decreased to just 20%, while Chrome increased its share to 72.3%. And, it means, the difference b/w the eCPM values are greater.

Google Ad Exchange Revenue Split Across the Browsers - U.KeCPM of the impressions from Chrome is 128% higher than that of the impressions from Safari (non-cookie environment). 

Google Ad Exchange eCPM Across the Browsers - U.KIf you are wondering, it is quite similar to the U.S. So, the U.S and the U.K publishers are going to be impacted equally. 

What’s Next?

To be frank, every publisher, regardless of its audience geo, will be affected by Chrome’s upcoming change. But we have tried to show the significance of it — based on the geographies. What does it mean for you?

– Prepare for the impact. Leverage the upcoming standards and identity solutions to retain targeting up to an extent. For instance, you’ll be able to allow advertisers to target a group of people with similar interests with Google’s new advertising standard named “TURLEDOVE”.

– Build first-party data. It’s time to see how you can collect deterministic data like an email address to deliver a personalized experience to the readers.

Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments.

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