Guest Columns Reader Revenue
3 mins read

Juggling Cookies, Privacy and GDPR

The following is a transcript of Piers North talking at the recent Quantcast Virtual Nova Event: Advertising in 2021 and Beyond, held on March 3rd 2021. Piers North is Chief Revenue Officer at Reach PLC, which in terms of users is the largest publisher in the UK today, reaching nearly 85% of the population.

“The industry loves to catastrophize and we’ve had enough instances over the time I’ve worked in it, which is 20 plus years. Clearly, the degradation of cookies is the next big thing.

“We’ve obviously had some of it already through Safari and Apple, and we’ve had a better sight of it through Chrome. It of course impacts our strategy, does it completely reverse it or change it? No.”

Customer Value Strategy

“As a legacy publisher moving into digital, we pursued a scale game. Scale in the context as a national publisher in the UK, with a bit of global footprint, but predominately the UK and that has served us well.

“For us, scale was the first step in the strategy, the next challenge is depth and the way you get depth, from our point of view, is understanding the customer more.

“That is why our customer value strategy is front and centre of everything we do now, from the Chief Exec, to me, down to my team and right down to the sales teams on the ground.

“It’s using that kind of data from our own internal point of view, and then of course, how that links to the wider industry. Because we can never be successful on our own. Much as we’d like to be a walled garden globally, we know that the value of our inventory has to be accessed by partners.

“So, balancing it out with cookies and balancing it out with the privacy and the GDPR, that is the balance we need to find. So, the degradation of cookies doesn’t change our strategy, but of course, we are aware of it.”

Privacy Partners

“With regards to privacy, the Consent Management Platform (CMP), which is powered by Quantcast, is probably our single most important thing on a daily basis that needs to go right. It needs to go right for our consumers, making sure that it’s there and they understand it and they have the option to opt-out.

“But, equally important is that the consent signals we pass via Quantcast reach our demand partners because if they don’t read the consent signals right it has a very serious impact on our daily revenue. The CMP is the first thing you see before even our content so, in that sense, Quantcast is very important to us.”

A Single ID

“Actually, a lot of the hygiene that we’re having to do internally puts us in a great position to then plug into whatever solution ends up being either the dominant, or if there are multiple solutions to it, multiple partners, we’ll be able to plug in what we call our Reach ID.

“One of the things that people may not be familiar about Reach is that we are a network of sites – our 42 million people come from multiple domains, so of course third-party cookies and the change there is impacting us because we have multiple domains.

“Trying to unify them behind an internal Reach ID is really, really important. So, for example, we have the Mirror and we have The Manchester Evening News, so if there are Manchester Utd fans, we’ve got to stitch all those data points together so that is what we are currently doing. That will help us in readiness for whatever changes may come down the line.”