Adweek: How Ad Tech Is Bracing for Life After the Cookie

Following Google’s announcement that Chrome will no longer support third-party cookies

Presently, few details are clear, although sources suggest Google is “cooperating” with the trade body, which has convened a working group to examine the means of trading media on the open marketplace without cookies. One proposal currently under consideration puts forward the idea of using a recently launched common data taxonomy and publishers’ first-party data, where a user registers an ID such as an email address, to help advertisers target audience types.

Advertisers can then find their desired audiences by bidding against a relevant audience ID that is created using this verified data, as opposed to a cookie, with the working theory that it can be applied across browsers.

According to Joe Root, CEO of Permutive, a company that helps publishers better manage their data, this way of online audience targeting poses less of a risk to internet users’ personal data, as the ID is less persistent than a cookie. “The cookie has been the currency of the internet, but now it is moving to publishers’ first-party data,” he added.

Google’s decision to pull support for cookies in its Chrome web browser apes that of Apple’s Safari web browser, which has been rolling out its intelligent tracking prevention software since 2017.

Andrew Casale, CEO of sell-side programmatic outfit Index Exchange, explained how publishers haven’t seen a recovery in their CPMs, and similar to Root, believes the focus of online media trading will be publishers’ first-party data as such a method of audience targeting will mean less personal information is traded between (comparatively) anonymous ad-tech players.

“What we’ll see is a call for solutions that involve user-controlled authentication,” Casale said. “We may also see attempts to make users sign in to a browser.”

All sources agreed that phasing out cookies will strengthen the hand of the industry’s walled gardens, as the nature of their data collection assures data compliance. Ana Milicevic, co-founder and principal of consultancy firm Sparrow Advisers, said there was a need for a common taxonomy among publishers, otherwise they will continue to lose ad spend to such walled gardens at an even faster rate.

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