Marketers Uncertain About the Future While Planning for What’s to Come

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9 in 10 Marketers are experimenting with cookie replacements, yet only 12% feel fully

MMA Global, the association devoted to architecting the future of marketing, in partnership with BCG Group, today released The Year of Change in Digital Marketing, research aimed at understanding tectonic shifts in the digital marketing landscape as a result of the pending deprecation of 3rd party cookies, plus iOS tracking limitations, & ongoing regulatory changes.

The report, which compiles the findings from a survey of 150 senior marketers and marketing and digital practitioners across various industries, reveals a dynamic where 90% of marketers feel uncertainty around recent and forthcoming changes and are testing new potential solutions to help them mitigate at least some of that same uncertainty.

“It’s clear to everyone that anti-tracking changes designed to ensure consumer privacy choices are respected are already having a significant impact on marketing productivity, disrupting targeting and personalization,” said Greg Stuart, CEO of MMA Global. “However, our research, conducted in partnership with BCG, also showed brands are adapting to the changing landscape by prioritizing 1st party data, investing in new technology such as CDPs instead of DMPs, integrating multiple forms of measurement, and increasing their testing routines.”

Key findings include:

  • Marketers are expecting, at a minimum, to experience a 22% reduction in measurable marketing ROI due to cookies deprecation and have already seen a 17% reduction, on average, reduction in ROI due to Apple’s ATT rollout alone.
  • Marketers are shifting to new identifiers, but slowly: 50% are still planning to rely on cookie-based solutions in the next two years, however 90% are testing at least one new identity solution.
  • In response to upcoming 3rd party cookie deprecation, 40% of respondents expect to increase spend on Search and Social over Programmatic (Display/Video).

Perhaps most stunning of all, among mid-level marketers surveyed, 50% do not have faith that their CMOs fully understand the changes taking place and their implications to compliance, targeting and measurement solutions currently deployed.

The report revealed the challenge that anti-tracking changes like ATT and cookie deprecation have created when it comes to media allocation.

“As scale and fidelity of targeting and attribution are now at risk, marketers need to decide whether to double down on the scale platforms or place more emphasis on the open web and emerging channels like CTV where other signals are often stronger,” said Vasilis Bakopoulos, Head of Industry Research and Analytics at MMA Global.

"Marketers have been hearing about 3rd party cookie deprecation for a while now, they know first-party data will be key and they know they will need new solutions when it comes to identity,” said Derek Rodenhausen, Partner, Boston Consulting Group. “The problem is, it’s not clear exactly when cookies are going away, what the alternatives will be, nor how to best tackle identity in a post-cookie world.”

Rodenhausen believes the uncertainty is leading some marketers to wait on the sidelines to see what happens, but that the best marketers aren’t waiting – they are jumping into the ballgame.

Additional findings speak to what the best marketers/companies are doing:

  • Companies grew their 1st party data assets by an average of 31% last year and expect to grow 34% YoY looking forward. "Well prepared" companies grew 1p at an 80% greater clip than companies with lower levels of preparation.
  • While 60% of marketers have invested in DMPs, the majority expect future investments to be made in marketing clouds and customer data platforms; affordability, compliance, and the ability to track cross-platform & device are the most important factors.
  • The "well prepared" companies have invested almost twice as much in data/privacy-related teams, 36% compared to 20% - and only 45% of marketers believe their organization is sufficiently prepared with the "test and learn" attitude that will be required.

To download The Year of Change in Digital Marketing:

“It’s clear from our research released today that we are still in the midst of the year of change, and that tells us there’s more work to be done in this area. That’s why MMA Global will continue to study the future of identifiers and how marketers will be able to forge a path forward to deliver more relevant customer experiences during what seems to be a near continuous cycle of change,” Stuart added.

About MMA Global:

Comprised of over 800-member companies globally and 15 regional offices, the MMA is the only marketing trade association that, brings together the full ecosystem of marketers, martech and media companies working collaboratively to architect the future of marketing, while relentlessly delivering growth today. Led by CMOs, the MMA helps marketers lead the imperative for marketing change–in ways that enable future breakthroughs while optimizing current activities. The MMA is committed to science and questioning and believes that creating marketing impact is steeped in constructively challenging the status quo encouraging business leaders to aggressively adopt proven, peer-driven, and scientific best practices, without compromise. The MMA invests millions of dollars in rigorous research to enable marketers with unassailable truth and actionable tools. By enlightening, empowering, and enabling marketers, the MMA shapes future success, while also propelling business growth.

Members include:, Adobe, Activision Blizzard, Ally Financial, AppsFlyer, AT&T, Bank of America, Campbell’s, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Chobani, Choice Hotels, Clear Channel Outdoor, Colgate Palmolive, CVS Health, Diageo, Dunkin’ Brands, eBay, E*TRADE, Ford, General Motors Company, Google, GSK, Hilton Worldwide, IBM Watson Advertising, Kargo, Kroger, L’Oreal, Major League Baseball, Marriott International, Match Group, Mastercard, McDonald’s, Merkle, Meta, Molson Coors, NBCU, Neustar, a TransUnion Company, Peloton, Pinterest, Roku, Salesforce, Snap Inc., Target Inc., The Walt Disney Company, T-Mobile, Twitch, Twitter, Uber, Unilever, Universal McCann, Vibes, Visa, Walmart, Waze, Yahoo! and many more. The MMA’s global headquarters is located in New York with regional operations in Asia Pacific (APAC), Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA), and Latin America (LATAM). For more information see

Media Contact(s)
Lou Paskalis
President & COO, MMA Global
+ 1 917 536 0477

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MMA Global
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