Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Cookies crumbled data for publishers, now they hold the key

By Stian Remaad, CO-founder and CEO at Adnuntius

The upcoming (delayed) deprecation of Google Chrome’s third-party cookie has been the talk of the industry for some time now, and it’s forced agencies, advertisers, and publishers all to reconsider how they approach the world of digital advertising. 

Even before Chrome’s cookies disappear, the industry is already having to deal with several changes around identity and data privacy – whether that’s new data protection laws being implemented in markets around the world, Apple making changes to IDFA, or Safari and Firefox already binning third-party cookies, which has caused declines of between 30 and 50% in programmatic revenue on these browsers alone. 

This is all a big problem for buyers. When you ask them why they prefer programmatic advertising, the ability to target is usually one of the things at the top of the list. However, most of the data that has been so important to advertisers is disappearing. We have to ask ourselves: once third-party data is gone to provide targeting at this scale, who will accept paying half of their ad budgets to intermediaries within the programmatic supply chain rather than on actual media spending?

So, with third-party cookies approaching their end, the industry is desperately seeking ways that it can replace them and continue to reach and target audiences. And this creates an enormous opportunity for publishers in particular.

Publishers control the future of digital advertising

Third-party cookies were never a good thing for publishers. They commoditised publisher data and made it practically worthless as third parties made it available across the internet.

 This is where publishers can benefit from deploying a marketplace which collects first-party data and gives them full control of their users’ data, with necessary consent. With first-party data, publishers can start collecting data in a fully GDPR-compliant manner, and begin to effectively monetise their audiences, which will become so important in a world where huge swathes of third-party data is no longer available to advertisers. 

On the other side of the fence, agencies have been used to working with this data from marketplaces, such as Oracle, Adobe, and Salesforce, but that’s not going to work anymore, because most of that data is based on third-party cookies. So, they have to consider what their plan is to continue obtaining publisher data going forward. 

A single platform at the centre of a digital advertising deal can enable these agencies to make a one-time agreement with the publisher, leading to the publisher opening up their advertising traffic and data to the agency and its client(s), and meaning that a repository of first-party data can be built up. Such a platform will enable publishers and agencies to work more closely together. Publishers will be able to activate their first-party data, and work with agencies to ensure the data fulfils their targeting needs.  

Just because Google has delayed the end of third-party cookies on Chrome, it doesn’t mean the industry should sit back and wait a little longer to sort things out. There’s no point in waiting for Google, because it can’t rebuild the whole data structure, however much time it gives itself. There needs to be less dependency on big tech platforms and a move toward more direct and transparent relationships between advertisers and publishers. And one that’s built on the power of publisher first-party data.