Meta's new political content policy could create new complexity—and new opportunities—for advertisers.

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Earlier this month, Meta announced it will no longer “proactively recommend content about politics” on Instagram and Threads. The company says the change is intended to improve the user experience and give audiences control over how and when they encounter content that they deem “political,” but ambiguity around what exactly “political content” is has left both audiences and advertisers with more questions than answers—particularly with the 2024 US election cycle already underway.

Social Media’s Role in Political Campaigns

In 2008, back when Facebook was still a relatively new platform and social media still in its infancy, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama recognized its potential as a way to speak directly with voters, engage in grassroots fundraising, and get out the vote.

In the 16 years since, social media has exploded, becoming a virtually ubiquitous part of audiences’ digital lives. Facebook—now a part of Meta alongside platforms including Messenger, Instagram, Threads, WhatsApp, and others—has long since transformed from “innovative startup” to “media giant.” The platforms make up one of the largest walled gardens in the digital advertising ecosystem, drawing a projected $62.7 billion in US ad spend in 2024—accounting for 75.6% of US social ad spend and 20.4% of all US digital ad spend.

Amidst this extraordinary growth, it’s no surprise that political ad spending on social networks has increased rapidly alongside it, having grown by 194% from the 2016 to 2020 election cycle and projected to rise by nearly 350% from 2020 to 2024. But social media’s role in political campaigns extends beyond paid advertising. The platforms allow for public discourse and grassroots mobilization, providing a place for voters to express their opinions and engage in the political process.

Yet social media can also foster polarization, allow hate speech to run rampant, and lead to the rapid spread of misinformation and disinformation. And with tools like generative AI making it all too easy to create and circulate false and misleading content—from robocalls purporting to be President Biden to AI-generated images of Donald Trump being arrested—social media is poised to again be a complex space throughout the 2024 election cycle, with Meta’s recent announcement only further complicating matters.

The degree to which Meta’s policy change will impact both marketing and political discourse on social media is still unclear, particularly given the many unknowns surrounding the announcement. Meta has yet to clarify what qualifies as “political content,” and there has been no mention of any new limits to political advertising on these platforms. What the company does make clear is that users will only see organic political content from accounts they choose to follow, and that if users want political posts recommended to them, they will have more control over how and when they see them.

Meta’s Political Advertising Track Record

When it comes to political advertising, Meta’s history is both storied and spotty.

“Historically, Meta entities have been a consistent and successful environment for political campaigns—from fundraising, to storytelling, to get out the vote efforts,” says Jaime Vasil, Group Vice President of Candidates & Causes at Basis Technologies. The 2008 election was, after all, dubbed the Facebook Election by some observers. With many rival social media platforms (including TikTok, LinkedIn, and Pinterest) prohibiting political ads entirely, Meta’s platforms have long been a reliable go-to for political campaigns.

However, the company’s past is also checkered with scandal and fallout: from the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal in the 2010s, to Facebook’s role in spreading false narratives leading up to the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. Meta has also made significant cuts to its teams tasked with online safety—including content moderators—as well as team members with positions related to trust, integrity, and responsibility.

Improving the User Experience

Given this legacy, Meta’s recent announcement could well be a move to get ahead of the potential spread of mis- and disinformation that has already begun to characterize the 2024 election cycle.

That motive also aligns with what they’ve said publicly about wanting “Instagram and Threads to be a great experience for everyone.” Like that text you get from your aunt right before Thanksgiving reminding you to check your politics at the door, Meta likely wants to keep these platforms fun, escapist, and bright—a place where users can get lost in an endless doom-scroll of light and entertaining content.

This change is likely to shape how marketers and advertisers of all kinds (both political and nonpolitical) approach the platform. If Meta's suppositions prove to be correct, a relative lack of political content could make Instagram a more enticing destination for users and more brand safe for advertisers—creating new incentive and opportunity for increased spend on the channel. Yet it also brings new complexity around brands' organic content and creative on Instagram and Threads: When there is so much ambiguity around what exactly constitutes "political content," marketers may find themselves steering clear of anything that could be interpreted as political subject matter, thereby narrowing the focus of their organic marketing efforts—and curbing its potential.

For political marketers, meanwhile, this could have a significant impact on how they approach both their campaigns and messaging on Instagram and Threads—particularly if they were counting on organic social content to drive awareness and action for their campaigns. Meta’s shift could push political advertisers to put a greater emphasis on gaining followers, since only audiences that follow them will see the political messages posted to their accounts. It could also mean that user-generated content will play an even bigger role, as candidates strive to connect with younger and diverse audiences without any help from the algorithm.

What About Political Ads on Instagram?

One notable absence from Meta’s announcement: any implications for their political advertising policies. Since 2018, advertisers have spent more than $4.2 billion on ads about social issues, elections, and/or politics across the tech company’s several social media platforms, and Meta’s policy of accepting political ads (and the accompanying ad spending) shows no signs of changing.

With this new content policy, the only way for political advertisers to reach new audiences on Instagram will be through paid ads (Threads, meanwhile, remains ad-free…for now…) And though this shift could cause challenges for marketers when it comes to organic content, it could also create new advertising opportunities, such as partnering with influencers to reach the sizable audiences and followings they have already amassed.

“In general, it is getting tougher for political campaigns to reach voters. But I think this move by Meta may actually create an environment that is less cluttered for paid ads, potentially leading to more engagement,” says Vasil. Perhaps in a space where users are less inundated with organic political content, teams’ paid ads will have a more significant impact.

Advertising on Meta—Looking Forward

Whether it’s an attempt to make their platforms better for users, to ensure the only way to get a political message across is through paid ads, or something else entirely, Meta’s recent announcement will no doubt impact political advertisers in the 2024 election cycle and for years to come.

Though many questions remain unanswered, political campaigns that rely heavily on social media for both paid and organic content will benefit from reconsidering their approach within Meta’s updated guidelines and shifting their campaign and messaging strategies to meet the demands of this new landscape.


Interested in taking a deeper dive into the political advertising environment in 2024? In our Ultimate Guide to Political Advertising in 2024, we unpack the latest trends, stats, insights, and strategies for political advertisers to craft winning campaigns in the year ahead.

Audio is everywhere. And digital audio? Some might say it’s having a magic moment. More people than ever are tuning in—74% of US internet users last year, to be precise—and seasoned listeners are upping their time with the channel.   

Whether through the true crime podcast they binge on their morning commute, the songs they blast on their smart speakers while cooking dinner, the live sports broadcast they stream on their laptop while knocking out a last-minute work project, or the tunes they jam to during their evening workout, digital audio is pervasive in people’s lives. It’s a channel that both complements traditional radio and extends beyond it, allowing listeners to tune in from virtually anywhere and enabling advertisers to use proven adtech tools to connect with audiences in the moments they’re listening.   

Why is digital audio such a powerful medium, and how can advertisers harness that power in their campaigns this year? Today, we’re digging into all this and more as we explore the state of digital audio in 2024. Ready to talk about it, talk about it, talk about it? Let’s dive in.

How Do People Today Tune into Digital Audio?

In an increasingly fragmented (and, thus, complicated) digital media ecosystem, digital audio offers advertisers a unique opportunity to reach audiences in an intimate and targeted manner. By leveraging the power of sound to engage with listeners, advertisers can connect with audiences during the one-fifth of their daily digital media time spent listening to digital audio. Beyond commanding a substantial share of listeners’ time, digital audio’s popularity also spans age, identity, and background. In other words: It’s a great way to connect with a variety of audiences where they’re spending a good amount of time—and often highly-engaged time.

Digital audio’s popularity with listeners makes sense, since it allows them to listen to the content they want, when they want, and where they want. With this wealth of benefits and increased convenience, it’s no shock that listeners are increasingly tuning into digital audio over traditional AM/FM radio. Though, notably, broadcast radio still has a strong foothold with listeners, and can be effective when used alongside digital audio (more on this shortly!).   

And just where are people tuning in to digital audio? Though listening can happen on a wide variety of devices—desktops, laptops, mobile phones, smart speakers, tablets, connected cars—74% of US listeners reported that smartphones were their top choice of device when listening to music and/or podcasts. Talk about tak[in’] it on the run!  

What’s The State of Digital Audio Advertising In 2024?

If digital ad spend had a personal anthem, it would be “Where You Lead”—and it would be sung directly to consumers. Predictably, with people increasingly tapping into digital audio, ad spend has followed in kind. Don’t believe us? Check it out:

Plus, audio listeners are highly engaged with the content they consume and tend to respond well to audio advertisements as a result. Case in point:

All in all? For advertisers who still haven’t found what [they’re] looking for when it comes to their media mix, this might be the year to give digital audio a try.

Where Does Broadcast Radio Fit In?

Amidst the digital audio boom, broadcast radio remains a resilient and effective advertising channel, serving as a trusted companion for a diverse audience. Though it is less portable and offers less listener choice than digital audio, AM/FM radio still commands a sizeable amount of audiences’ time—an hour and twenty minutes per day for US listeners in 2024, to be precise. Its enduring presence, rooted in accessibility and widespread availability, provides advertisers a unique opportunity to connect with a broad demographic.

The great news? It doesn’t need to be an “either/or” situation when it comes to digital audio and broadcast radio: In many cases, they work better together. On the one hand, digital audio allows advertisers to reach specific audiences through targeting capabilities and personalized content delivery. This versatile channel can be effectively used at various touchpoints along the customer journey. In contrast, broadcast radio, with its widespread reach and established listener base, excels in building broad awareness and driving consideration. By strategically combining these channels, advertisers can establish a unified brand presence and engage with audiences at pivotal moments throughout their customer journey. And by leveraging an omnichannel platform that allows advertisers to tap into both digital audio and broadcast inventory through the same interface (alongside other digital channels), advertisers can gain a holistic understanding of their campaign performance, enabling them to optimize their ad spending and maximize impact in the competitive landscape.     

Cookieless Digital Audio Advertising

In 2024, cookieless advertising is top-of-mind across the industry: Google’s third-party deprecation in their Chrome browser is officially underway and set to be completed by the end of the year, a seemingly-final blow to the identifier that was once ubiquitous in digital advertising. As advertisers grapple with how best to connect with audiences amidst cookie deprecation and widespread signal loss, channels that offer inherent privacy-friendly advertising features come with significant benefits.

Digital audio is one of these channels, as it allows advertisers to target specific audiences with contextual and walled garden opportunities. For example, teams can use contextual targeting in podcast ads to connect with listeners when they’re tuning into relevant content, or leverage dynamic ad insertion (DAI) technology alongside platforms’ second-party data to serve personalized ads to targeted audiences.

In the past, one of digital audio’s downsides for advertisers was that it lacked a clickable element—unless, of course, banner ads were used alongside the audio content in question. In a last-click attribution world (aka a world driven by third-party cookies), audio couldn’t deliver as effectively as other digital channels. However, the impending loss of third-party cookies is poised to redefine the rules of engagement, potentially leveling the playing field for audio advertising by removing that barrier to adoption.

Overall, as signal loss continues to pose challenges to advertising teams, digital audio stands out as a valuable channel, offering advertisers the ability to build genuine connections and capture audience attention effectively.

Wrapping Up: Why Embrace Digital Audio In 2024?

In many ways, digital audio advertising is what dreams are made of: Time spent with the channel is increasing, more and more people are listening each year, it provides a personal avenue to engage with consumers, and it allows for privacy-friendly and personalized advertisements.

Digital audio is everywhere, and the opportunities to reach consumers in meaningful, personalized ways that drive action are significant. For advertisers looking to connect with consumers when and where they’re spending time with media, including digital audio in your 2024 marketing mix just makes sense.

Want even more audio insights? In our guide to audio advertising, we dig deeper into this channel’s potential, and provide strategies digital advertisers can use to make the most of the audio opportunity. It’ll have you belting “I’ve got the power” at the top of your lungs.

Largely speaking, TV was simpler in the days of yore. Sure, there was the stress associated with missing the start of your favorite sitcom (in the days before DVRs or streaming), or the conflict that arose when two of your go-to shows aired opposite one another. But just a decade ago, watching TV was relatively straightforward.

Fast forward to today, and watching your favorite TV content has become an increasingly complex, and decision-riddled endeavor.

First, there’s the question of what device to watch on: Your phone? Tablet? Smart TV? Laptop? All of the above (and, perhaps, all at the same time)? Then, there’s the consideration of where to watch: Hulu? Netflix? Disney+? MAX? Peacock? YouTube TV? Or maybe even good ol’ cable? Finally, there’s the choice of just what you’re going to watch—that is, if you have enough decision-making energy left to tune into anything other than your go-to comfort reruns.

For advertisers, this shift in audience habits and emerging opportunities has invited a host of new challenges: Just where, exactly, is my audience? How do I navigate the increased fragmentation of the TV landscape across linear and streaming? And how can I best meet my audience where and when they are watching to fully capitalize on the convergent TV opportunity?

This complexity has all culminated in convergent TV: a new mindset for TV advertising wherein strategies extend beyond any individual channel and instead account for the proper balance between traditional/linear TV, over-the-top (OTT) streaming, and connected TV (CTV). And though OTT and CTV are increasingly establishing themselves as forces to be reckoned with among viewers, linear TV still maintains a strong foothold.

Here, we’ll dig into everything advertisers need to know about convergent TV in 2024: from the lay of the land today, to emerging trends, to new innovations—and how viewers feel about them.

What’s the Latest in the Convergent TV Landscape?

The last few years have seen significant shifts in the convergent TV landscape, including the 2023 writers’ and actors’ strikes, more streaming platforms releasing their own ad-supported tiers along with new original content, an increase in streaming-exclusive live event broadcasts (including MLB and NFL games), and more.

Alongside these shifts in the TV landscape itself, audience viewership and ad spend trends have evolved as well.

Here’s where things stand in TV land in 2024:

Linear vs. Streaming TV Viewership

In terms of viewership, traditional TV is on the decline: As streaming grows in popularity, more and more viewers are opting to cut the cord (or, in the case of mostly younger viewers, have never used a cord at all).

Over the past five years, time spent per day with traditional TV has decreased by nearly 19%. It’s likely not a coincidence that, during that same time period, OTT streaming services have exploded in popularity, and that time spent with CTV has increased by more than 115%. Though connected TV is especially popular with younger generations—with millennials and Gen Z turning to CTV for more than half of their TV screen time—older viewers are doing a good amount of streaming themselves.

So, just what is driving these trends? Pandemic lockdowns famously helped accelerate the shift toward streaming and drove substantial CTV adoption. And in an age when consumers have grown accustomed to content being available on-demand and on-the-go, the increased convenience and flexibility that streaming offers—not to mention the ability to watch across multiple devices—also plays a significant factor. Additionally, beyond the extensive libraries of classic content that's long lived on streaming platforms, the emergence of new original content produced exclusively for streaming services has further increased the appeal of OTT and CTV. Coupled with a significant slowdown in new scripted content on linear TV in 2023 due to Hollywood labor strife and it’s not a huge shock that linear TV fell below 50% viewing share for the first time last year.

Linear vs. Streaming TV Ad Spending

As more and more viewers choose a bundle of streaming services over a bundle of cords, advertisers are following in kind, attempting to connect with audiences precisely where they’re consuming their TV content.

Here’s what the convergent TV advertising landscape looks like heading into 2024:

This growth in OTT and CTV ad spending has, unsurprisingly, coincided with increased viewership on those platforms, but their advertising appeal extends beyond just eyeballs. CTV and OTT also lend themselves to highly targeted advertising, enhanced flexibility and customization based on user demographics and behaviors, as well as enhanced analytics and measurement capabilities. And, with third-party cookie deprecation, signal loss, and privacy-friendly advertising a top consideration for advertisers in 2024, CTV in particular can appeal as a trusted safe haven for digital advertising—after all, CTV has always been cookieless, allowing advertisers to connect with audiences in a targeted and privacy-friendly way.

Political Advertising and Convergent TV in 2024

Then, of course, there’s the other story that’s shaping the convergent TV landscape in 2024: political advertising.

Basis data shows that political programmatic CTV spend grew by 67% from 2020 to 2022, and strong growth is forecast for this year’s election cycle as well. In fact, of the $30 billion in projected total CTV ad spending this year, election year political spending is forecast to account for upwards of $1.8 billion—or more. With a controversial presidential race at the top of the ballot, combined with many other high-profile races and causes, advertisers across all industries will feel the effects of the 2024 election and should be aware of its potential impacts—particularly within the convergent TV landscape.

Linear TV has long been a staple of political advertising. With its familiar, lean-in viewing experience, it allows campaign teams to connect with and educate viewers in an emotion-driven way that fosters memorability. And though streaming is overtaking the convergent TV landscape, linear/traditional TV will still play a significant role in the 2024 election cycle, with 51% of total political ad spending during the 2024 cycle forecast to go toward broadcast television.

That said, political advertisers are increasingly taking a balanced approach to TV advertising by complimenting their linear ad buys with CTV and OTT. Digital video offers political advertisers many of the same benefits as linear TV, plus the ability to target and measure ads more precisely. It can also help them reach voters (particularly younger voters) who might not be tuning into linear TV—an increasingly pressing need given that 65% of likely voters prefer streaming to linear TV and 82% use ad-supported streaming services.

There are a variety of ways for political advertisers to tap into CTV inventory, spanning the open exchange, programmatic guaranteed, private marketplace (PMP) deals, and select partnerships with premium and/or exclusive inventory. By leveraging a well-balanced media mix and utilizing advanced targeted technologies such as automatic content recognition or district-based geopolitical targeting, political teams can turn to CTV to connect with key audiences.

Taken altogether, political advertising is set to spend, spend, spend across the convergent TV advertising ecosystem this year—and that will have a significant downstream impact on non-political advertisers, too. Linear, OTT and CTV inventory is likely to be more limited (and certainly more costly) in the days leading up to state primaries and Election Day itself. This is especially true in “purple” battleground states such as Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Georgia.

To adapt, non-political advertisers should be prepared to either pay significantly inflated rates for broadcast TV, or to shift dollars away from that channel during the weeks leading up to the election as political ads gobble up much of that inventory. When it comes to streaming, advertisers should consider leaning more heavily on other channels in their omnichannel mix or tapping into streaming inventory that does not allow political ads, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. Additionally, advertisers should be especially mindful of brand safety and perception implications during the politically charged campaign season. By proactively understanding and adapting to the changes that political advertising will have on the larger convergent TV landscape, non-political advertisers can manage campaign costs, prioritize brand safety, and effectively reach target audiences in the runup to November 5.

How All Advertisers Can Make the Most of Convergent TV in 2024

In 2024, convergent TV presents a significant opportunity to all advertisers—particularly as more and more consumers shift towards streaming.

Live Sports Advertising

Across both linear and streaming, live sports advertising continues to be a powerhouse opportunity for advertisers looking to reach large and engaged audiences. And whereas live events used to be available only via cable/broadcast (think: the Super Bowl being broadcast live exclusively on CBS back in 2010), these events are increasingly being streamed simultaneously via connected TV and on OTT platforms (for instance, Super Bowl LVIII being broadcast on CBS, Nickelodeon, and Paramount+). Some games are even being aired exclusively through these streaming services (see: Peacock’s exclusive NFL playoff game in January 2024 or the many NCAA sporting events that air on ESPN+).

In the year ahead, linear will continue to be a majority of viewers’ go-to home for live sports—and, in turn, a great way for advertisers to  engage broad and captivated audiences in real-time. And as viewers increasingly turn to streaming for sports and other live events, advertisers can experiment with targeting these audiences via tailored and contextually relevant ads, ensuring their message resonates during these high-impact moments wherever those viewers happen to be tuning in. With Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery recently announcing a new ad-tiered streaming bundle where viewers can access live sports content from ESPN, FOX Sports, TNT, and more, those digital opportunities will only continue to increase in the months ahead.

New Streaming Inventory & Audiences

Advertisers also have an array of new and emerging ad-supported tiers available to them on different OTT streaming platforms. Netflix’s ad-supported tier has amassed 23 million monthly users less than two years after its launch, and Disney+ was sitting at just over 5 million ad tier subscribers in late 2023. With news of Amazon’s new ad-supported tier, this all amounts to a significant amount of high-quality inventory that advertisers can use to connect with highly engaged audiences. And, by tapping into this inventory via private marketplace deals (PMPs) and programmatic guaranteed, advertisers can align their ads with streaming content most likely to resonate with their unique audience.

Interactive Content

Viewers today consume content across a variety of devices—and often, on multiple screens at once. To capture and hold audiences’ attention, many advertisers are embracing interactive elements in their linear TV, OTT and CTV ads.

Innovations like shoppable ads and QR codes, in particular, can enhance the TV advertising experience and deliver value to consumers and marketers alike. Shoppable TV allows advertisers to seamlessly integrate e-commerce elements into their content, providing viewers with a direct pathway to make purchases. QR codes can play a similar role, offering a quick and convenient way for viewers to access additional information or promotional offers, and giving advertisers an easy way to meaningfully measure impact and attribution for specific ads.

Using these interactive elements can significantly boost conversion rates, as viewers can instantly act on their interest in a product or service. And, better yet, the features seem to be resonating with audiences, with one study finding that 70% of viewers like TV ads with QR codes and 62% would scan a QR code if they saw one in a relevant ad.

By leaning into new opportunities in the convergent TV landscape to capture and maintain audience attention—and, of course, balancing linear, OTT and CTV ads with other channels to create a holistic, omnichannel experience for viewers—advertisers can engage with audiences intentionally and elevate their campaigns.

Next Steps: Convergent TV in 2024

The next several years will continue to see evolution in the convergent TV landscape, as the shift from linear dominance to streaming supremacy continues. Advertisers who navigate this complex terrain with agility, embracing the emerging trends and opportunities, are poised to make the most of this transformative era in TV advertising.


Looking for a deeper dive into how TV advertising fits into you video advertising strategy? Explore how savvy advertising teams can leverage digital video channels effectively and cohesively to create customer journeys that engage audiences and inspire action with Video Unleashed: The Ultimate Guide to Digital Video Advertising.

Over the past several years, digital advertisers have grappled with widespread signal loss due to a variety of factors, including Apple’s App Transparency, new digital advertising regulations, and increased privacy demands from consumers. Now, after numerous delays, third-party cookie deprecation in Google Chrome has officially begun, making the challenge of adapting to signal loss even more urgent.

Though it’s happening in phases—with only 1% of Chrome users having cookies disabled in Q1 2024—the total third-party phaseout slated for later this year will be here before we know it. For B2B companies, who are already navigating the complexities of a rapid shift from traditional to digital advertising channels, this transition poses additional challenges.

To help B2B teams amidst this transition, we turned to Natalie Lowe, Basis Technologies’ VP of Integrated Client Solutions, for her top recommendations on how B2B advertisers can navigate signal loss and continue to connect with the right businesses, on the right channels, with the right message.

What are the top considerations for B2B advertisers as we move towards a cookieless future?

Natalie Lowe: For B2B advertisers, it can feel like everything is changing at a whirlwind pace. There’s already been a huge shift from traditional to digital channels over the past several years, and as investment in digital has grown, so too has reliance on third-party cookies and their attribution capabilities. So, within the B2B space, there’s been a lot of uneasiness and unrest as we’ve encountered signal loss and started to approach the cookieless future.

That said, we’re starting to see a shift now, and B2B marketers and brands have begun to reframe and rethink their advertising strategies in the context of this larger signal loss. Teams are realizing that there’s an opportunity to lean more deeply into connections with target audiences, and to focus on quality of leads over quantity of leads (which is, admittedly, a hard shift to make). B2B teams often already have a relatively narrow audience they’re trying to connect with, since B2B software and service offerings are quite specific. Within the context of third-party cookie deprecation in Chrome and the larger signal loss taking place throughout the advertising industry, it’s going to become even more critical to lean into first-party data, ensure that data is collected and organized in a clean way, and then segment that data to create personalized advertising experiences for the most qualified leads.

What cookieless marketing solutions are particularly useful for B2B advertisers?

NL: When it comes to targeting, contextual relevance will be key. Getting ads placed alongside other content that B2B brands know their key audiences are consuming will be crucial for ensuring their message is reaching the right people when they are in the right mindset. Additionally, leveraging first-party data to get customized messages in front of the right audience is going to be critical. Finally, B2B marketers can lean on using others’ first-party data (aka, second-party data)—for instance, by tapping into social media sites or premium publishers that have proprietary targeting capabilities based on user-entered information. In the cookieless future, B2B marketing teams are going to need to strike a balance between using second-party data and building up their own first-party data.

Attribution, on the other hand, is a whole different ballgame. If B2B marketers don’t already have lead generation on their website, now’s the time to set that up so they can collect that info. Beyond that, there’s going to have to be a shift in mindset and an acceptance that attribution isn’t going to be as precise as it once was. Third-party lift analyses can help measure things like brand awareness, and for companies that have loads of data, media-mix modeling can be useful, but B2B brands and marketing teams will need to recognize that attribution is going to look different and adjust KPIs to this new cookieless landscape.

Could you provide some specific examples for how B2B advertisers might approach the cookieless future?

NL: Sure! Let’s take, for example, a SMB (small or midsize business). If they’re starting a campaign focused on awareness, they might decide to tap into LinkedIn to make the most of the growing trend of using social media to capture the attention of audiences in a personalized way. On LinkedIn, they can use the platform’s proprietary data to do job title/description targeting. They can also take advantage of the brand lift studies that LinkedIn offers to measure the impact of their ads.

Or perhaps there’s a software company focusing on collecting first-party data. They could consider a content-based strategy where they publish a whitepaper on a relevant topic, use contextual targeting to market that whitepaper in relevant places, and then require a form-fill to download the content, meaning each person that downloads it is another de-anonymized lead for future marketing efforts.

Wrapping Up: Cookieless Advertising for B2B Marketers

Navigating signal loss poses challenges for all marketers, and is likely to prove especially tricky for advertisers in the B2B space. However, by homing in on first-party data collection, leveraging cookieless targeting approaches like contextual, and resetting expectations around attribution, B2B companies can find success in the (rapidly approaching) cookieless future.

Want to learn more about the state of identity in 2024? We surveyed over 200 marketing and advertising professionals to discover how they’re navigating signal loss, third-party cookie deprecation, and the shift towards privacy-first digital advertising. Check out all the latest data and insights in our in-depth report.

For nearly two decades, third-party cookies have helped advertisers understand audiences’ behaviors, create personalized advertising experiences to meet their needs, and measure the impact of their campaigns. But recent years have brought an increased focus on consumer data privacy—spurred by regulations and consumer demands alike—and third-party cookies are on the way out.

As of 2024, Google’s long-awaited (or, more aptly, long-delayed) deprecation of cookies in Chrome is officially underway, with a total phaseout appearing set for later in the year. That cookie deprecation is a key factor in the widespread signal loss that’s now posing a challenge for all advertisers, but especially those in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. CPG marketers are already contending with highly saturated markets, navigating the explosion of private-label goods and adapting to complex consumer sentiments.

To help CPG advertisers navigate signal loss and third-party cookie deprecation, we spoke to Vanessa Allen, Basis Technologies’ VP of Integrated Client Solutions. Read on for her top insights for CPG advertisers to consider as they invest in and implement privacy-friendly advertising solutions.

What are the top considerations for CPG advertisers as we move towards a cookieless future?

Vanessa Allen: Even though CPG marketers won’t have third-party cookies to work with, there is still going to be a heavy focus on identifying who their target audience is and determining how they’re going to reach them. First-party data is going to be critical for this, as it allows advertisers to tap into audiences who are already interested in their products. As such, it’s important for CPG advertisers and brands to ensure they’re collecting that data in a privacy-compliant manner and storing it in a way that makes it easy to use.

It's also going to be important for CPG brands and advertisers to really focus in on researching and understanding consumer behaviors. Once they have those insights, they can adapt their campaigns to meet audiences’ distinct needs. That might look like leaning into opportunities with user-generated content on social to connect with younger audiences, or it could involve highlighting product and service offerings focused on convenience, since more and more shoppers (millennials, in particular) say this is a key factor that influences their purchasing decisions.

What cookieless marketing solutions are particularly useful for CPG advertisers?

VA: As mentioned earlier, first-party data will be crucial in a number of different ways. Many CPG brands—and, especially, larger brands—have a ton of this data already and are well-positioned to use it to connect with audiences in personalized ways. They can use this data not only to focus on retaining audiences who they know have bought their products in the past, but also to push out new products to those audiences to drive trial.

Contextual targeting will be another key tool to leverage, especially for more niche CPG brands. For instance, let’s say you’re a brand that offers direct delivery of toilet paper or paper towels, and you do it in a way that minimizes waste. So, you’re cutting down on how much plastic and extra packaging you use, and you’re offering a way for customers to get your products in a convenient way. Since many of your customers might be interested in sustainability or eco-friendly options, you might target display ads to websites that talk about green products and/or being a more environmentally conscientious consumer.

Another option is tapping into retail media networks (RMNs) to take advantage of their proprietary data. But it’s important to take a balanced approach to RMNs, as brands also need to be building up their own data so that they aren’t entirely reliant on these walled gardens. When it comes to leveraging RMNs or using other platforms’ second-party data, it’s important to incorporate them as part of a holistic media mix.

In terms of attribution, traditional CPG brands are already accustomed to using third-party brand lift studies to measure the results of their ads (i.e., household lift, awareness, sales lift), since they can’t measure footfall traffic. As we shift towards a privacy-first approach, these studies are going to continue to play a major role. For direct-to-consumer brands, it’s going to be pretty seamless for them to connect the dots on their website using first-party data they’ve collected.

Could you provide some specific examples for how CPG advertisers might approach the cookieless future?

VA: Absolutely! Let’s imagine you’re working on a campaign for an organic pet food. This product is pretty niche, so it’s going to be critical for you to understand your target audience and home in on where they’re spending time and consuming content. Most likely, your target customers are going to be doing research on the best pet foods, and using contextual targeting to place ads based on relevant keywords is one effective way to reach them. Additionally, you might determine that people who have pets who are sick are more likely to turn to different, specialty pet diets. To connect with those audiences, you might also target pages that discuss specific pet conditions that necessitate a different diet.

As another example, let’s go back to our earlier eco-friendly paper goods brand. In addition to leveraging contextual targeting, advertisers for this brand could use promotions (for instance, free shipping) to incentivize consumers to share their first-party data. Then, they could use that data to follow up with targeted, more personalized ads and recommendations based on this opted-in user data.

Wrapping Up: Cookieless Advertising for CPG Marketers

Though third-party cookie deprecation will change the game for digital advertisers in many ways, CPG marketers are well-positioned to reach audiences in privacy-friendly ways. By researching their consumers and adapting to meet their needs, leveraging first-party data, and using contextual targeting intentionally, CPG advertisers can connect with audiences at key moments of impact, drive conversions, and bolster brand loyalty.

Want to learn more about the state of identity in 2024? We surveyed over 200 marketing and advertising professionals to discover how they’re navigating signal loss, third-party cookie deprecation, and the shift towards privacy-first digital advertising. Check out all the latest data and insights in our in-depth report.

From Apple’s App Tracking Transparency to consumer privacy demands and resulting regulatory action, digital advertisers have grappled with widespread signal loss in recent years. But 2024 will bring even more drastic change in this area, as Google finally deprecates third-party cookies in Chrome after numerous delays. For healthcare and pharmaceutical advertisers, this shift adds yet another layer of targeting and measurement complexity to an industry that is already wrought with privacy-related regulations.

For insights and strategies to help health and pharma advertisers navigate third-party cookie deprecation and signal loss, we turned to Katherine Mitton, Director of Integrated Client Solutions at Basis Technologies. Read on for her top recommendations on weathering the identity crisis.

What are your biggest pieces of advice for health and pharma advertisers as we move towards a cookieless future?

Katherine Mitton: My biggest piece of advice is to set up systems that allow for the collection of as much HIPAA-compliant data as possible. If brands haven’t already invested in advanced customer relationship management (CRM) platforms and capabilities, that should be their top priority. Then, once they have those systems and solutions in place, they can shift their focus to building up their CRM list so that, once third-party cookies are completely gone, they can still understand who they need to target and build lookalike audience segments to extend that targeting.

Beyond that, it’s important for health and pharma marketers to maintain a mixed-funnel approach in their campaigns. When third-party cookies are gone, advertisers won’t be able to track their mid-to-lower funnel actions the same way they can now. Those mid-to-lower funnel tactics will remain an important part of a holistic media mix, but health and pharma brands will need to lean more deeply on historical performance to prove out their impact. We know that they work—we’re just not going to have the attribution for them anymore.

What cookieless marketing solutions are particularly useful for health and pharma advertisers?

KM: Beyond leveraging their own first-party data and CRM lists, health and pharma advertisers have several other options for privacy-friendly targeting solutions. Luckily, advertisers in the space already have experience navigating a lot of regulation (i.e., maintaining HIPAA and OCR compliance), so there’s a level of comfort with alternative targeting and measurement methods that advertisers in other industries may not have.

One cookieless solution that will be particularly useful in the health and pharma space is healthcare provider (HCP) targeting. Now is a great time for agencies to communicate the benefits HCP targeting offers their clients and to bolster the partnerships that enable it. That might look like working with third-party providers that specialize in healthcare systems and allow targeting based on providers’ specific specialties. Or, it might include leveraging platforms like LinkedIn that allow job title-based targeting, which is another way for health and pharma advertisers to get their message in front of doctors and other healthcare professionals without using third-party cookies.

Contextual targeting is another critical privacy-friendly targeting tool. If advertisers are trying to reach patients via contextual, that might look like placing ads for their products or services alongside relevant health info that prospective patients will likely be engaging with. And if they’re trying to reach HCPs, that strategy might include targeting medical journals, medical resources, and other online medical content that appeals to the HCP audience.

When it comes to attribution, leaning on historical performance will be key for lower-funnel tactics where pixel-based attribution isn’t going to be possible anymore. Agencies will need to educate their clients early and often about the impact of cookie loss on performance measurement and lead the way in resetting expectations. For instance, if one of their client’s paid search ads historically drove a lot of conversions, an agency can encourage their brand partners to continue to invest in those tactics even if they can no longer show the same attribution. Additionally, third-party brand lift studies can be a helpful way to measure success of campaigns without cookies. These studies are privacy-friendly and, when used in conjunction with historical performance, can help agencies and brands evaluate their ad campaigns and make data-driven decisions.

Could you provide some specific examples for how health and pharma advertisers might approach the cookieless future?

KM: Let’s imagine you’re a pharmaceutical company with a drug that treats a very specific condition. Your target audience is already pretty small, and targeting patients directly is tough due to HIPAA and OCR regulations. Your best options would likely be to do some contextual targeting based on keywords related to the condition your drug treats, and to leverage partnerships that enable the targeting of healthcare providers who treat the condition your drug is tied to.

As another example, let’s say you’re an agency that works with a telemedicine provider. I’d recommend investing in some contextual targeting based on keywords and driving folks who see those ads to a landing page where they can opt in for more information. Once that’s done, you’ll have first-party data you can leverage to target these audiences with customized messages based on the personal information they shared.

Wrapping Up: Cookieless Advertising for Health and Pharma Advertisers

With an abundance of industry-specific privacy regulations, healthcare and pharmaceutical marketers are navigating a complex advertising ecosystem even without third-party cookie deprecation. With widespread signal loss and the loss of third-party cookies, these teams must get even more intentional about how they target and measure their ads. By investing in the collection and actioning of first-party data, upping their contextual targeting spend, leaning on historical performance, and leveraging opportunities like HCP targeting, health and pharma advertisers can make the most of their ad spend in a privacy-first world.

Want to learn more about the state of identity in 2024? We surveyed over 200 marketing and advertising professionals to discover how they’re navigating signal loss, third-party cookie deprecation, and the shift towards privacy-first digital advertising. Check out all the latest data and insights in our in-depth report.

What comes to mind when you hear “2024”?

If you’re a digital advertising professional (and if you’re reading this, we’re going to hazard a guess that you are!) then chances are that “signal loss” and “third-party cookie deprecation” are some of the first words that bubble up. What seemed like a far-off future when the headline “Google Delays Third-Party Cookie Deprecation to 2024” first broke is now a reality, with the official (though gradual) cookie phaseout beginning in Q1 of 2024 and appearing set to wrap up before the year’s end.

For travel and tourism marketers who are already navigating a highly saturated market—and given consumers’ increased price sensitivity thanks to the tumult of the last few years—third-party cookie deprecation makes things all the more complex. As such, it’s critical that advertisers in the industry begin implementing and optimizing cookieless solutions now, if they haven’t done so already.

For specific insights on how travel and tourism marketers can approach this transition, we spoke to Nicole Stahlecker, VP of Integrated Client Solutions at Basis Technologies. With over a decade of agency and digital media expertise—and extensive experience in travel and tourism advertising—Nicole brings a wealth of knowledge to this discussion. Read on for her top recommendations for travel and tourism marketers as they approach privacy-first advertising in 2024.

What are the top considerations for travel and tourism advertisers as we move towards a cookieless future?

Nicole Stahlecker: So many travel and tourism marketers are sitting on a goldmine of first-party data. The problem? It’s often housed in distinct platforms across tons of different third-party vendors, rather than centralized in a customer data platform (CDP). Because that data is so disparate, marketers can’t action it collaboratively, or easily confirm when and how consent for it was given, since different platforms have different levels of privacy consent. This becomes particularly challenging for teams operating internationally, and as a result, they end up using only a limited amount of the data available to them and actioning it on the strictest of levels to ensure they’re meeting all data privacy regulations and requirements.

Since first-party data will be so critical to getting personalized messages in front of prospective travelers once cookies go away, finding ways to unify, organize, and maximize that data is absolutely key. To that end, there are two action steps marketers should take as soon as possible:

The first is to clean up existing data so that it’s organized and usable from a customer data privacy standpoint. This might include working with vendors and platforms to gain access to that data, and/or investing in a CDP. The second step is to come up with a plan for how to collect and house first-party data in a clean and organized way moving forward, so advertisers they can use it in future campaigns.

What cookieless marketing solutions are particularly useful for travel and tourism advertisers?

NS: When it comes to cookieless targeting, contextual targeting is key for travel and tourism marketers. There’s never going to be anything that beats that age-old marketing adage of putting your message in front of the right person, in the right place, and at the right time, and when it comes to those objectives, contextual targeting never lets us down. For example, tour companies know that the people most likely to book a tour are already going to be looking at other relevant information for that destination. By placing ads strategically near content about that location (such as on a travel blog that explores best times to book for that destination), advertisers can ensure they’re connecting with the right audience at a time when they’re likely in a decision-making mindset.

When it comes to attribution, leaning on your historical data will be most impactful. Just like keeping your first-party data clean, organized, and readily accessible is going to benefit your team, so too will keeping track of your campaigns and their results. Even though you won’t be able to track attribution the way you used to, you can compare your recent data to your historical data and make improvements based on that.

Could you provide some specific examples for how travel and tourism advertisers might approach the cookieless future?

NS: Sure! First, let’s imagine you’re a museum, and you have one location in a single destination. When it comes to targeting, you might take want to advantage of geotargeted digital out-of-home ads to capture the attention of tourists who are physically walking around near your museum and might be enticed by these displays.

For larger companies, or those with a presence that extends beyond a single location, you don’t want to overuse geotargeting—and you certainly don’t want to assume that you know where your customers are coming from, as you might miss out on potential audiences. For instance, let’s say you’re a hotel with multiple locations. You would likely lean more heavily on targeting based on your first-party data by linking your data collection with your advertising platforms. This would allow you to both target people who performed specific actions on your site, as well as create predictive (AKA lookalike) audiences to find similar users. You’d then be able to target these audiences based on their booking history, other individual actions on your website, demographic information, and more.

Wrapping Up: Cookieless Advertising for Travel and Tourism Marketers

The next several months will be a critical time for travel and tourism marketers to implement and fine-tune cookieless solutions to connect with their target audiences. By focusing on collecting, storing, and intentionally leveraging first-party data, as well as harnessing the power of contextual targeting, travel and tourism marketers can find success in today’s privacy-centric digital landscape.

Want to learn more about the state of identity in 2024? We surveyed over 200 marketing and advertising professionals to discover how they’re navigating signal loss, third-party cookie deprecation, and the shift towards privacy-first digital advertising. Check out all the latest data and insights in our in-depth report.

Take a moment and pause. As you read this, consider the environment you’re in right now. How many tabs do you have open on your browser? If you’re on your phone, take note of how many apps you have running, the notifications pinging for your attention, the subtle pull of the endless stream of tasks vying for your focus. Perhaps you’re reading this while listening to music or a podcast? Maybe you’re skimming as you walk on an under-desk treadmill, or (perhaps most likely of all) you’re switching back and forth between reading this post and working on a project you need to complete by end of day.

In today’s digital world, we live in a near-constant state of distraction and multitasking. We are ever connected and our attention often divided, dispersed across screens and responsibilities. Given this inundation of content, it’s no surprise our attention spans are shrinking.

For digital advertisers, then, seeking and capturing attention is critical. After all, attention matters for memorability: If audiences can’t remember what they’re seeing from an advertising standpoint, it’s going to be difficult for them to remember the messages being served to them and the brands and advertisers connected to those messages. And if they can’t remember the brands connected to those messages, it’s unlikely they will use or purchase the products or services they offer.

So, how can advertisers better capture attention in the year ahead? By taking an audience-centered approach, crafting creative that captivates, and focusing on high-quality ad placements. Read on to learn key considerations for capturing audience attention, cutting through the clutter, and crafting winning campaigns in 2024 (and beyond).

Compelling Creative Is Key

We live in an age of endless distractions fueled by a desire for instant gratification. Bored by the video that popped up on TikTok? Just scroll. Underwhelmed by the show you’re watching on Netflix? Hop over to Hulu. Not a fan of the playlist you originally picked for your workout? Here’s an AI-generated one based on the songs you listen to most!

How can advertisers break through this noise to both capture attention and sustain it?

It starts with having strong creative. With a literally endless supply of other content available at all times, advertising teams need to ensure their creative is standout so that their audiences don’t tune out, scroll by, switch apps, or simply forget about it.

In 2024, audiences will consume more than 12 hours of digital media per day.  In this context, it’s not simply enough to get a message in front of audiences. Advertisers can do every single thing right with their tech and targeting—getting in front of the perfect person at the perfect time—but if the creative is a miss, then they’re not going to capture that individual’s attention or make the most of that opportunity.

Instead, advertisers need to produce thoughtful creative that tells their client or brand’s unique story in a way that resonates and drives action. To do so, advertising teams can embrace a host of strategies and tactics, including:

Considering Quality of Impressions vs. Quantity of Impressions

Beyond investing in standout creative, digital advertisers looking to capture attention must focus on the quality of their ad placements. There’s a big difference between delivering 100 impressions on a low-quality site (or with low-quality targeting) that lead to zero conversions vs. 10 high-quality impressions that lead to two conversions. This focus on quality is especially important given the rise of made-for-advertising sites (MFAs) and the steady increase in low-quality AI-generated content, both of which can syphon ad spend away from higher-quality inventory.

Advertisers should actively seek to avoid bidding on this inventory in their campaigns, leveraging tools like a dynamic MFA blocklist and taking advantage of buying methods like programmatic guaranteed and private marketplace (PMP) deals to secure high-quality and premium placements. Additionally, advertising teams will benefit from leaning into KPIs that gauge the quality of impressions to determine not only if their ads are being seen but also if they’re sticking with audiences.

Taking an Audience-Centered Approach Is a Must

The final consideration for capturing audience attention in 2024? Focusing on identifying, getting to know, and targeting ideal audiences with precision.

Marketers should re-double their efforts to familiarize themselves with their target audience, conducting (or investing in) thorough market research to grasp their demographics and behaviors. From there, advertisers will want to tailor content to those distinct audiences by creating personalized ads addressing their specific needs, desires, and pain points—and, of course, to make sure those ads are reaching those audiences on the channels where they’re spending time.

Advertising teams can leverage pre-bid segments and custom PMP deals, and tools like custom bidding algorithms and pixel-based verification, to both capture and measure users’ attention, helping marketers answer the questions: What have people actually seen, and what’s stuck with them? They can then use the data and insights they gather to make optimizations responsive to their audience’s wants and needs. By putting audiences front and center, advertisers can maximize outcomes and craft campaigns that inspire action.

Next Steps: Capturing Attention in 2024 and Beyond

In digital advertising, seeking and capturing audience attention is not simply a strategy—it’s a necessity. As consumers gain access to an increasing amount of captivating content, advertising teams that focus on getting a compelling story in front of the right audience on the right channel will find success.


Want to learn even more about how to make the most of your campaigns this year? Check out our webinar, Future in Focus: 2024 Digital Advertising Trends. In it, Basis Technologies’ VP of Media Innovations and Technology Noor Naseer shares insights and strategies to help advertisers tune out the noise and instead focus their attention (see what we did there?) on the most important, proven trends in 2024.

What do working out, putting money in a 401(k), and running an advertising campaign have in common?

They all require an investment—whether that be time, effort, or money (or all three!). And, like with any investment, people expect a return. Avid gym goers expect to get stronger. Folks investing through their 401(k) accounts expect those funds to grow. And brands spending money on advertising campaigns? They expect for that money to drive revenue.  

Today, we’re digging into how marketing teams can maximize their return on ad spend (ROAS) by adjusting their target ROAS bidding strategy. We’ll explore what a target ROAS strategy is, when to use one, and how to fine-tune your target ROAS in different scenarios to maximize returns. Ready to become an ROAS rockstar? Read on!

First Things First: What Is ROAS?

Before we dive into what target ROAS is, let’s review the basics. ROAS is a metric that tells advertising teams how much revenue they are generating relative to their advertising spend.

How do advertisers calculate ROAS? Easy—they use the following formula:

ROAS = (Revenue ÷ Ad Spend) x 100

So, if you spend $100 on a campaign and it generates $200 in revenue, your ROAS = (200/100) x 100, or 200%.

What Is Target ROAS?

Target ROAS is an automated bidding strategy offered by many programmatic advertising platforms. As the name suggests, it optimizes campaigns towards a “target” ROAS value, which is set by an advertising team based on historical conversion values.

For instance, if you are using a target ROAS strategy and set a target of 300%, machine learning will automatically optimize your bids towards the placements that are most likely to generate $3 of revenue for every $1 of ad spend. To be clear, this doesn’t mean the technology will only bid on placements that will generate $3 in revenue, but rather that $3 per every $1 of ad spend is the average revenue target it will optimize towards.

Target ROAS vs. Target CPA

Target cost per action (otherwise known as cost per acquisition or CPA) is also an automated bidding strategy, but it optimizes bids towards a different goal than target ROAS. Target CPA takes the amount you’re willing to spend per a specific conversion or consumer action, and bids with the goal of achieving the highest number of conversions or consumer actions based on that amount. For example, you might set a target CPA of $20 per new customer. Machine learning will then automatically optimize bids towards gaining as many conversions as possible at or near that target cost.

Target CPA is often used in lead generation campaigns and is best suited for teams who want to acquire customers at a predetermined cost. Target ROAS, on the other hand, is best for those who want to generate the most revenue possible for a specific amount of ad spend, and it can provide more flexibility amidst market changes. For example, an e-commerce brand might benefit from using a target ROAS strategy to maximize their ROAS leading up to the holidays. A B2B startup, on the other hand, might benefit from using a target CPA strategy, to ensure they’re acquiring customers within their set budget.

Both target ROAS and target CPA strategies rely on conversion data, but they use it in different ways. With target CPA, machine learning optimizes towards a specific conversion value. With target ROAS, on the other hand, machine learning uses historical conversion values to try to achieve your target ROAS. For example, if your online store historically saw $6 worth of sales for every $1 of ad spend, you might use that information to set a target ROAS of 600% ($6 in sales ÷ $1 in ad spend x 100%) to continue to make the same return on ad investment.

When to Use Target ROAS

Advertisers should use a target ROAS strategy when they have a specific ROI (return on investment) goal for their advertising efforts. It’s also important they have a clear understanding of the value associated with different conversions, so that the bidding strategy can use those values to optimize for desired returns.

Beyond having sufficient data to inform this strategy, there are specific scenarios when advertisers might benefit from using target ROAS:

How To Set Up Target ROAS

To set up a target ROAS strategy, advertisers must first define their conversion values based on historical data. In other words: They need to have a clear understanding of how much revenue can be generated by different customer actions. Once those values are defined, advertisers can select a target ROAS bidding strategy based on existing data and set a target ROAS value based on their unique objectives.

This target ROAS value then guides the bidding system as it makes optimizations. But just like any strategy, it’s important to monitor and adjust based on performance metrics (more on this shortly!).

How Is a Target ROAS Value Determined?

Often, teams will set an ROAS target based on a known value of doing business, likely due to an understanding of what margin of revenue is required on ad spend to ensure profit.

But remember that the goal of this bidding strategy is to maximize revenue—and simply setting a target ROAS and forgetting about it is not guaranteed to result in the best returns. In fact, with a bit of testing and optimization, teams can make adjustments that result in a greater ROAS.

So, how can advertising teams go about determining what ROAS target will result in the most profit? Even if a target ROAS metric is being met, that’s not a guarantee that you’re capturing the maximum amount of profit available. A higher ROAS target may result in similar revenue, with lower spend. A lower ROAS target may conversely result in increased revenue, with similar spend.

To determine if performance is short of what it could be, here are a few things to consider:

By observing the interactions between these components over time, teams can figure out whether their target ROAS is too low, too high, or just right. Let’s dig into a few scenarios to see what this looks like in action.

Target ROAS Adjustment Scenarios

Scenario 1: Revenue is consistent, cost is increasing, and ROAS is lowering towards the target set

In this scenario, your target ROAS is likely too low. Though you’re getting closer to your target ROAS, you’re losing out on profits because you’re spending more on ads even though your revenue is the same.

Let’s dig into an example of what this might look like:

Imagine a team’s target ROAS is set to 200% (i.e., make $2 in revenue for every $1 of ad spend). In the past, they were spending $25 on ads and bringing in a revenue of $100, with an ROAS of 400%. But, since their target ROAS is 200%, their ad spend is being shifted in a way that spends more on ads without an increase in revenue. If they’re now generating a revenue of $100 at a cost of $40 in ad spend, they are technically getting closer to their target ROAS with their new ROAS of 250%. But, they’re spending more to do so! In other words, they’re getting less bang for their buck.

That’s why the recommendation here is to increase your ROAS target based on the higher historical ROAS your account had. In other words, if you were spending $25 on ads and generating $100 in revenue, set your target ROAS to 400% and monitor.

Scenario 2: Revenue is decreasing, cost is decreasing, and ROAS is increasing towards the target set

In this instance, your target ROAS is too high. The optimization strategy is reducing spend in an attempt to hit a potentially unattainable ROAS target at an “acceptable” revenue volume.

Here’s what this might look like and how a team could adjust their target ROAS in such a scenario:

Let’s say a team sets their target ROAS to 500%. In the past, they generated $100 in revenue at a cost of $50 in ad spending, meaning their past ROAS value was 200%. Now that their target is set to 500%, they are currently generating $75 in revenue at a cost of $25, putting their current ROAS at 300%.

Like scenario 1, this team’s ROAS is getting closer to the target ROAS, but they are missing out on revenue—only, this time, it’s because their target ROAS is too high, which means the platform is lowering spending in an attempt to hit a higher ROAS. In this scenario, the best thing the team could do would be to lower the target ROAS and monitor campaign performance.

Scenario 3: Revenue is increasing, cost is increasing, and ROAS is consistent

This is a great situation to be in! In this instance, you’re spending a bit more, but making a bit more at the same time. Here’s an example of what this might look like:

Imagine your target ROAS is set to 200%. In the past, you generated $100 in revenue at an ad spend of $50, meaning you were hitting your target at an ROAS of 200%. Now, you’re generating $200 in revenue at a cost of $100 in ad spend. Your ROAS is the same—200%—but you’re generating more revenue than you were in the past.

Teams have a few options here, depending on what their business goals are:

Scenario 4: Revenue, cost, and ROAS are all consistent over time

This is another beneficial situation to be in! Your team is consistently hitting its target ROAS, but they might be able to increase profits and/or revenue—either by spending less for the same revenue, or by spending a bit more in advertising to generate additional revenue.  

Here’s what this might look like:

Similar to the last example, let’s say the target ROAS is 200%. In the past, your team generated $100 in revenue at an ad spend of $50, making your ROAS 200%. Now, your team is still generating $100 in revenue at the same spend of $50, and your ROAS has stayed consistent at 200%. Since you’re hitting your target, this is good—but, it’s possible you could make slight adjustments to your target ROAS that would make your campaign even more profitable.

Teams in this situation have similar options to scenario 3, but with a slight twist: It’s difficult to know if you are hitting the limits of available revenue, or if there is more out there to obtain. As such, here are a few options to explore:

Fine-Tuning Target ROAS: Closing Thoughts

Fine-tuning your target ROAS is both an art and a science: It takes time and experimentation to figure out what the ideal ROAS target should be in any given scenario. In complementing that experimentation with the insights and advice outlined above, advertisers will be well on their way to making the most of target ROAS bidding strategies.


Interested in more expert insights on how to make the most of your campaigns? Connect with us and learn how our media strategy and activation services can help you further fine-tune your digital campaigns to meaningfully connect with audiences.