Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Behind The Curtain: The Adtech Truth – S3xified, I fear for your Life

Behind the Curtain is a monthly column from Redbud, digging deep each month to discover what’s really going on buried deep in the adtech layers around publishers’ sites.

By Chloe Grutchfield, Co-Founder,  RedBud

Dear s3xified,

It’s been a while since we last saw you and your cookies on UK devices. In fact, it’s been almost a year since we wrote this open letter. The platform whose pipes you managed to sneak into to drop cookies subsequently cut you off.

We thought it was the end and that we’d never hear from you again. I was actually quite nostalgic and missed you tracking me. Ok I’ll admit, I check my browser frequently to see if you’d left a little cookie behind but you haven’t.

But you are resourceful, aren’t you? We saw you ‘jet-setting’ across the   US, popping up here and there throughout various IP addresses in our DIAGNOSE reports. You wanted to keep your distance, play hard to get – I get it.

The thing is,   we recently caught sight of you tracking us down closer to home, on UK and German IP addresses. You found your way in again, via a couple of different platforms. You even found your way via the one platform that will kill you softly in the next two years. Have I said too much?

Your cookie is still storing a unique ID and it seems you’re still looking for a long-term relationship with your 10-year expiry date. You’re a symptom of the cracks in the programmatic advertising ecosystem: too open, not audited, not GDPR-friendly.

You’re one of the reasons why the ICO isn’t impressed with our industry and another argument in favour of browsers’ severe stance on cross-site tracking.

Your days are numbered s3xified. With Chrome killing the 3rd party cookie, you’ve lost your raison d’etre. You’ll shoot blank: your pixel may fire but no cookies will drop.

You’ll be added to what we like calling the “cookie syncing graveyard”. Or, you’ll end up like all those pixels that still fire but fail (server errors due to companies shutting down, 404s due to server structure change etc.).

Thank you Chrome for promising to end the stalking soon (not thank you for the hell of a ride the whole industry is about to embark on). But is it truly over?

S3xified, I think it’s nearly the end. Unless you can find a way to single me out from the Chrome FLoCs somehow?

You managed to get through via Google, which causes me to be concerned. I trust you’ll survive in a less stalker-ish way.

Until then x