Advertising Guest Columns
3 mins read

Will a cookieless world help publishers get ahead?

In today’s landscape, privacy is at the forefront of decisions of Big Tech companies, Google has flexed its muscles with the phase-out of third-party cookies, as well as its recent decision not to support Unified 1D 2.0. Now, with Apple releasing its new privacy guidelines with iOS 14.5 out of beta, the media ecosystem is in flux, with advertisers and publishers on a carousel of privacy changes by tech giants.

While heads are spinning trying to make sense of how to survive in a privacy-centric era of marketing and advertising, this is an immense opportunity for publishers to position themselves in a place of power – where in the past they have been at the mercy of platforms and advertisers. Publishers once again will become a critical part of the ecosystem, due to their immediate access to first-party audience data.

Resurgence of Publisher Autonomy

The moves from Google and Apple only benefit big tech, like Facebook and other social giants with large amounts of first-party data. But, who else in our ecosystem has first-party data or the ability to collect data at scale? Publishers. 

Publishers collect data from their audience via sign ins, subscriptions, consuming content, newsletters, and more, giving them a rich database of first-party data. Media companies will begin to form cohorts of their own and pool their audience data to help advertisers spend their ad dollars. In the meantime, publishers will need to make sure they work with multiple identity solutions so they do not leave any advertiser struggling to identify their target audience.  

By working directly with their own cohort of publishers, they will no longer be at the mercy of advertisers or tech platforms, because they will have more transparency – ultimately making them more autonomous and self-reliant.

The Power of Identity

Without cookies, understanding your audience of online users goes back to square one. While publishers have spent time focusing on partnering with tech solutions that will help monetize or sell available advertising inventory, they now need to focus on partnerships that will help them activate their first-party data and work with advertisers to provide contextual ads. 

With the array of methods publishers have of generating first-party data, direct relationships with publishers are one of the best ways of adapting to the new privacy regulations, helping to solve the identity crisis.

Publishers have the data to make them an invaluable resource in the media ecosystem, unlike before where various tech partners and advertisers left them blind to how much their inventory was worth and what advertisers bid at the top of the programmatic funnel. As publishers reclaim their autonomy, legacy publishers will need to innovate, because they hold the keys to a plethora of data. New media brands disrupting the landscape, have mastered ways of becoming more data driven, but don’t have the mass amounts of data that naturally flows from publishers.

Following the current progression of privacy moves from Apple and Google – ones that have already been put into place and ones that are to come – the publisher renaissance is upon us and it will be key to helping advertisers solve the identity crisis big tech has created since the demise of the third-party cookie was set into motion.

Paul Roberts
CEO and Founder, Kubient

Kubient is Nasdaq listed (KBNT) and based in New York City. Its Audience Cloud’s open marketplace enables supply & demand partners to reach, monetize & connect their programmatic advertising audiences.