The MadTech Sketch: Chrome's Insane Addressability Problem

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In this week's MadTech Sketch, Ciaran O'Kane illustrates Google Chrome's addressability issue, and discusses why it's a major problem for the industry.

Last week Google announced it was pushing its timeline for deprecating third-party cookies in its Chrome browser.  The cookie will be kept alive in Chrome at least until 2024.  

At this rate we will be drawing the pension before Google commits to a decision. Google (sorry, the Chrome team) would dearly love to jettison the third-party cookie. But intense antitrust scrutiny and commercial concerns have once again kicked the can down the ad tech road.

The industry’s reaction was predictable: quietly relieved. The show goes on. Vendors will still make money from matching cookies, saving everyone’s quarter and beyond.

It is a sad indictment that we are so reliant on a failing targeting and measurement system. Safari has blocked third-party cookies for the past three years. Likewise Firefox. Chrome has been the one big hold out.

The entire programmatic market is now over indexed on Chrome. The argument: it represents 50% of the open web, and that in itself is somehow a half-decent panel for a “scaled” buy.  

This is such a reductive piece of strategic thinking given you are not messaging the most affluent segment on the open web, namely the Apple user.

"Only 60% of the Chrome audience is addressable."

But there is an even bigger problem with Chrome. Right now only 60% of the Chrome audience is addressable. 40% are either using aggressive privacy settings (like myself) or are browsing “incognito”.  

We went into more detail on this addressability problem with Quantcast’s Alan Tinkler in a recent TraderTalk episode. The big revelation comes at 20.22. I am also hearing this from a bunch of other vendors. But it's not being discussed publicly.

What does all this mean?  Simply put, ad tech is targeting just 30% of the open web. This industry is living off the big Chrome addressability lie.  I think it’s time for a serious reality check.

MadTech Sketch - Chrome's addressability problem

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