‘There’s no future in cross-site tracking’: Confessions of a publisher on the death of third-party cookies
By Seb Joseph
With third-party cookies being phased out from the largest browsers, publishers are losing the main way advertisers profile and target people on their sites. But the demise of third-party cookies could be a blessing in disguise for publishers. At least, that’s the view of the head of product development and insights at a publisher. In our latest edition of Confessions, where we exchange anonymity for candor, this exec said they are being chased by media buyers who see the publisher’s data as a replacement to third-party cookies.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Has it been all doom and gloom for the business since Google announced that it would purge third-party cookies from its browser by 2022?
On the contrary, we’re seeing lots of agencies ask if they can use our data. The data we own can be used in insertion order deals and to set up private marketplaces. Execs on the agency trade desks can use our data to build segments within the ad platform we’re building and get reports on how their campaigns have performed. We had one media agency ask for 70 first-party data deals to be set up. Essentially, these were programmatic guaranteed and private marketplace deals that allow them to target ads on our site. We’re not seeing the disaster scenarios that experts predicted would follow once third-party cookies go away. Advertisers will always find a way to get their message out there.
What are other ways are you planning to monetize your data?
We’re talking to agencies about probabilistic ID graphs where there’s no chance of our data being combined with other data sets. This way, the advertiser is able to forecast whether the specific audience they want can be found on our sites without having to match identifies. For these types of deals to work, the advertiser must have access to large amounts of their own data.
Have there been any challenges working more closely with agencies?
Some of the agencies we’re talking to want us to mix our first-party data with the data their own so that they can buy ads off of our site. The problem is they need third-party data to make those deals work — and we’re back to square one.
So the data you sell to agencies can only be used on your sites?
We’re not sharing cookie IDs or user IDs with agencies because we don’t want to end up in a situation where our users feel like we betrayed their confidence. Instead, we’re exerting more control over how our data is used. That means that agencies can only use the data we trade with them to target ads to our sites and subsequently measure the performance of them. Agencies will eventually have to come round to the fact that everything is becoming more site-centric and publisher-focused. The old notion that media buyers could reach any user with the same campaign across 30 sites using the same third-party data set is no more. There’s no future …read more