Google has pushed back the timeline for Chrome’s depreciation of third-party cookies but it doesn’t affect the size of the challenge that publishers are facing. Over 50% of traffic in the US and UK is already cookieless, so while there is added time, the push for cookieless solutions will continue.
With this constant change, it’s no surprise that only 23.7% of publishers claim to fully understand the various industry initiatives to solve the cookie dilemma according to a study by Teads. In April, the media platform surveyed 450 global publishers to learn about their journey.
The research revealed that 27.6% of publishers are exploring first-party data, 27% contextual, 21.8% universal ID, and 18% Privacy Sandbox. However, it also showed that over 65% of publishers are not planning to use logins to combat cookie deprecation — mainly due to user experience disruption and impact on traffic.
To provide deeper context, Teads gathered a panel of experts to discuss how prepared publishers can realistically be, given the rapid change within data privacy and what partners can do to help their transformation.
The panel included Jana Meron, SVP, Programmatic & Data Strategy at Insider; Daniel Papalia, VP, Programmatic Revenue & Strategy at Dotdash; Jason White, SVP, Head of Publishers at LiveRamp and Aly Nurmohamed, General Manager at Permutive. The conversation was moderated by Eric Shih, Chief Supply Officer at Teads. He said: “As borne out by both our survey results and panel discussion, the only option for publishers right now is to follow the money when considering cookieless solutions.”
Shih added: “With a landscape as fluid as it is, betting everything on a single solution is too risky for publishers. So the ability to test, be agile and adapt to the market will ensure publishers are prepared for what emerges in the next 6-12 months as viable paths for buyers.” Here are some highlights from the panel conversation.
Advertisers see value in publishers’ first-party audience data
There’s a growing appetite among advertisers to work with publishers who have first-party audience insights. Jana Meron, SVP, Programmatic & Data Strategy at Insider, said: “We fully launched our first-party data platform SAGA in February of 2020 and are seeing 400% growth year-over-year with advertisers who are using our data successfully for their advertising campaigns.”
The publisher sees 19 out of its top 20 advertisers using SAGA today at a 95% renewal rate. While Insider is building an authenticated solution for its subscription business, it’s not relying on that for advertising. “For us, it’s less about the authenticated user and more about understanding that context and content are the greatest drivers of intent,” said Meron.
First-party data requests are proactively appearing in briefs
First-party data is making a difference for advertisers. After running A/B tests, Dotdash saw a 2-3x performance-based increase versus third-party data, depending on the segment and seasonality. The publisher also noticed a proactive ask from brands and agencies for this data in RFPs since the first half of this year.
This indicates a shift from publishers understanding the power of their first-party data to advertisers identifying this and starting to seek it out as they build their post-third-party cookie marketing strategies.
“We’ve seen an acceleration over the last year from the buy-side,” said Aly Nurmohamed, General Manager at Permutive. But, he added: “Before it was publishers pushing this opportunity, telling the market about different ways to target that are privacy-safe. People see privacy as a headwind for adtech, but actually, it’s a tailwind for publishers to build solutions.”
“Now there is a demand from advertisers and agencies where most briefs will expect to be able to use that data,” said Nurmohamed.
Authentication can’t be viewed in isolation
The Teads survey shows that 65% of publishers are not planning to use logins, impacting the potential use of universal ID solutions. Nurmohamed at Permutive said that publishers need to assess whether they generate revenue from their authentication strategy but recommended not looking at authentication in isolation. He said: “It’s a feature of what publishers are doing overall. From the publisher’s point of view, they understand 100% of that audience. The key is having rich data within the percentage of authenticated users, to be used as a seed for building out cohorts and models.”
Jason White, SVP, Head of Publishers at LiveRamp, sees publishers growing authenticated traffic over time. White said: “As publishers A/B test authenticated and non-authenticated strategies, they’re going to be able to define the value of authenticated users based on bounce rates and other key metrics.” White said: “Facebook has been doing this for years. They find birds of a feather that flock together and we can bring that to top publishers, mid-and long-tail publishers.”
“It’s about taking what they’ve done and replicating it for publishers,” added Nurmohamed.
Identity in the open exchange requires a bespoke approach
Identity and how it relates to the open exchange is a “huge topic” for Dotdash. The publisher recently hired a Head of Identity to go through the multitude of solutions that exist today.
Meron at Insider said, “there’s a right strategy for each publisher.” When asked if Insider would add its first-party taxonomy into the open exchange, the answer was “some of it”. Meron said: “There’s some part of our taxonomy that we’d be more than happy to put into the open exchange so that we can understand which advertisers are buying those audience segments. And then there will be some segments that will never go anywhere.”
When the open exchange is mentioned, it’s always a debate about how it works and what it could be, according to Nurmohamed at Permutive. He said: “Finding a way for publishers to put their rich first-party data out there in a privacy-safe way and be able to control who can buy it is valuable. There are some segments that publishers may want to reserve for direct to advertiser deals but having controls in the open exchange is a big leap that we need to take.” He adds: “This will allow smaller publishers who have rich data and close relationships with consumers to be able to leverage that.”