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Make Sure Your Post-Cookie Identity Plan Isn’t Half Baked

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By Jaan Janes, VP, Publisher Partnerships
March 10, 2021

So many stakeholders in the programmatic advertising ecosystem are looking for solutions for the coming third-party cookieless world. Unfortunately, on the surface, many of the individual approaches can seem half-baked. It remains unclear how advertisers, agencies and publishers will know how and with whom to accurately target their digital advertising and content experiences. What are ideal ways to replace that third-party piece of the identity pie?

Because publishers own the relationships with their audiences, managing those relationships via content, subscriptions and relevant ads on a first-party basis makes it easier to sustain readers and drive revenue. Brands and agencies will be flying somewhat blind because without cookies they cannot know as precisely who those audiences are and targeting against their own data sets is going to get harder.

Another major challenge lies in managing the multiple identity solutions in the marketplace. More and more programmatic vendors who promise ID resolution are cropping up, and nobody has the clairvoyance to know which ones will gain traction and be viable for the long haul. As such, much uncertainty exists about which identity partner to choose.

Many publishers are exploring how to solve for some of these challenges on the technology side by selecting the partner that aligns with their strategies for identity resolution and consumer privacy. They need to experiment with different vendors, their platforms, and ID resolution systems. We’ve seen that experimentation and critical experience with identity can give publishers lift today while they chart a successful long-term course for tomorrow.

PubMatic is a curator and a guide, shepherding publishers and advertisers along the path to the addressable future. Our Identity Hub is a turnkey solution with a short set-up cycle – helping publishers simply and easily deploy and use leading independent identity solutions such as those from LiveRamp, The Trade Desk, Neustar, and Criteo. We cut out the development cycles and make the contract process easier, getting you started simply and quickly.

Through curating independent identity solutions, PubMatic matches publishers with the right number of partners to test. Experimentation is a key step on the post-cookie identity resolution path.

Publishers worry that without the strong ID resolution that third-party cookies provided, their ability to monetize audiences will be set back. All the more reason to begin experimenting with other strategies now; so-called setbacks aren’t a given. Buyers are using new, independent ID solutions today to direct spending – promising potential CPM lift for publishers alongside a performance lift for advertisers.

As the industry takes a moment to assess the new tools out there, in some ways it may be found that these tools prove to be better and more sustainable. A determining factor will be how widely they are adopted by both the buy-side and the sell-side.

Publishers already have an advantage in the amount of first-party data they collect and use (such as contextual data) but it’s just part of the answer. They need to know how to enhance monetization against the backdrop of Chrome without cookies, Apple’s IDFA changes, and in adherence with the privacy legal landscape including California’s CCPA and the European Union’s GDPR. Here is what they can do right now:

  • Build first-party audience connections to authenticated IDs through registration or sign-in;
  • Build customer connections with email newsletters;
  • Provide a level of meaningful and applicable customer insight with contextual data;
  • If only a portion of the website experience can provide valuable contextual targeting, put that portion into play, even if it’s as little as 10 percent; and
  • Experiment with identity partners and data companies to create value in ad inventory today.

Think of the identity resolution issue as a pie. Slices are being taken away, and we need to find other slices to replace them or publishers and ad buyers will starve. There is not a single slice to make up for cookies, but the new tools and cookieless identity solutions can help put back some slices, and maybe even fill up the whole pie.