Digiday+ Research Briefing: CMO Strategies — How marketers’ social platform budgets stack up

This research is based on unique data collected from our proprietary audience of publisher, agency, brand and tech insiders. It’s available to Digiday+ members. More from the series →

Interested in sharing your perspectives on the media and marketing industries? Join the Digiday research panel.

Welcome to the Digiday+ Research Briefing, your weekly curation of media and marketing research insights. As a member, you have full access to the Digiday+ Research below. 

In this edition, we share focal points from Digiday’s recently released reports on how marketers’ social platform budgets stack up, and how agencies are feeling less pessimistic about the death of the third-party cookie.

CMO Strategies: How marketers’ social platform budgets stack up — from Instagram to TikTok

This is the first installment of a multi-part series covering CMO strategies across marketing channels. Keep an eye out for an upcoming report on retail media.

Marketing channels have had a turbulent time in recent years, from shifts in privacy regulations to an increase in marketing costs and the impact of macro-economics on marketing spend. As marketers continue to face roadblocks in their efforts to keep their brands at the top of consumers’ minds, Digiday+ Research has analyzed strategies and challenges across leading marketing channels — like programmatic display, Instagram and Amazon Ads — to identify key trends and best practices in our CMO Strategies series. This first report takes a closer look at budget allocations across social media platforms.

Key findings:

  • Social platforms that took the top spots for budget allocation in 2023 were those that have feeds where ads are much more common — Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. TikTok was the only exception. Despite its nascency, TikTok has quickly become a favorite among marketers, even outpacing Google-owned YouTube.
  • Twitter, Reddit and Snapchat fell toward the lower end of marketers’ budgets. Rather than hosting higher quality influencer or professional content, these platforms give users the ability to interact consumer to consumer. Brands typically use the platforms as an opportunity to educate or engage consumers rather than to advertise to them.

Read the full report.

As the end of the third-party cookie truly draws nearer, the winners and losers are likely to start emerging. According to a Digiday+ Research survey of more than 50 agency professionals, agencies are still feeling out who they think those winners and losers will be, but they’re doing so with notably less pessimism than they have in the past.

Key findings:

  • Agencies expect Apple to be the winner in the wake of the end of the third-party cookie. More than half of agency pros (53%) said that Apple will gain a lot or a little after the third-party cookie goes away, with 20% saying Apple will gain a lot. Meanwhile, 43% said Google will gain a lot or a little, and 32% said Meta will gain.
  • The levels of pessimism agencies expressed about the end of the cookie have dropped significantly. Forty-three percent of agency pros said in Q2 2022 that they expected Meta to lose a lot from the end of the third-party cookie, but that fell to 27% in Q2 2023. And, while 26% said last year they expected Google to lose a lot, only 16% said so this year. 

Read the full report.

Digiday+ Research: Agencies choose contextual targeting over first-party data in post-cookie era

It seems the third-party cookie’s days are actually numbered now. Google said last month it will deprecate third-party cookies for 1% of Chrome users globally in the first quarter of 2024. And, agencies are taking their preparations for a post-cookie world seriously. In case you missed it, most are looking to contextual targeting as the way forward, according to a Digiday+ Research survey of 56 agency professionals in the second quarter of this year.

Key findings:

  • Almost three-quarters of agency pros (70%) said in Q2 2023 they are spending more on contextual targeting campaigns to prepare for the end of the third-party cookie, up from 47% a year ago. That puts contextual targeting well ahead of other alternatives.
  • Agencies appear much less interested in first-party data than brands. Sixty-nine percent of brand pros said they’re investing in technology to acquire more first-party data this year, making it the most popular cookie alternative option among brands. In comparison, just 39% of agency pros said the same, down from 45% last year.

Read the full report.

See research from all Digiday Media Brands:

Digiday+ Research

Glossy+ Research

Modern Retail+ Research


More in Marketing

In the marketing world, anime is following in the footsteps of gaming

As marketers look to take advantage of anime’s entry into the zeitgeist, they might be wise to observe the parallels between the evolution of anime as a marketing channel and the ways brands have learned to better leverage gaming in recent years. 

With the introduction of video ads and e-commerce, Roblox looks to attain platform status

Roblox is expanding into more areas than just ads in 2024. Much like platforms such as Amazon and Facebook have transcended their origins to evolve from their origins as online marketplaces and social media channels, Roblox is in the midst of a transformation into a platform for all elements of users’ virtual lives.