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Global Ad Tech Media Event: Authenticated first-party data – the lifeblood for publishers

  • 5 min read

At the Global Adtech Media Event, LiveRamp’s Managing Director, Addressability Europe, Tim Geenen, was joined on the virtual stage by Bernard de Vreede, Data Strategy Benelux at eBay; Cristina Pianura, Managing Ad Tech Director at Digital Bloom; and Nick Flood, Global Commercial Operations Director at Future Publishing, to discuss the role that first-party authenticated data can play in the cookieless world.

As we slowly head toward the ‘death of the cookie’, the industry is working hard to develop and adopt alternative solutions. A big part of the future of the ecosystem is likely to rely on the first-party data held particularly by publishers. 

In order for first-party data to be trusted and provide true value to advertisers, it has to be authenticated. 

LiveRamp’s authenticated traffic solution (ATS) now has 33 billion live impressions every day. There are 25 SSPs and 45 DSPs integrated, with around 400 publishers either signed up and ready to deploy or deploying already, across the US, EMEA, and APAC.

“We’ve built an infrastructure that is able to function when third-party cookies go away. We’ve reimagined how that will work,” said LiveRamp’s Tim Geenen. 

“We made it based on deterministic data, which means that people actually authenticate. When they login with their email address or their phone number, that data point can be used and shared with an advertiser. We don’t have a universal ID. Whatever we do only works in the context of that publisher and that specific brand. And that’s a big change that we believe is for the good.”

Depth of first-party data

For some publishers – or those that work with many publishers – there is a huge amount of first-party data at their disposal across multiple titles. For them, there is the issue of finding ways to bring all of that data together while adhering to laws around data sharing and privacy. And it’s a problem that Digital Bloom, Italy’s first adtech partner for publishers, is no stranger to. 

“We have a different position because we work with a lot of different publishers. And that means a lot of first-party data,” said Digital Bloom’s Cristina Pianura. “This is an opportunity for all publishers to re-evaluate their first-party data. And this is really important because, if you are a publisher that has free content and a big part of this content isn’t under registration, it could be complex at this moment to transform or convert these users into a deterministic identifier.” 

“I think that we have to move on with a new normal in which publishers have to understand new KPIs to evaluate their audience. And this will probably mean more quality, more transparency, and real collaboration with advertisers,” Cristina continued.

“What I suggest is that you define a scaling partner. A partner that can guarantee cross-availability and the best integration of multiple technologies. It’s very important that you don’t create single silos, but have a very cross-operational environment.”

A publisher faced with a similar problem to Digital Bloom is Future, which is home to over 160 publications, each with their own individual domain. Nonetheless, Future’s Nick Flood is adamant that the publisher will never bring all its titles under a single ‘’ domain. 

“The industry has continually dealt with challenges that we turn into opportunities, so we will find a way,” said Nick. 

Building bridges

Even with all of this data, authenticated or not, the key for publishers is to build bridges to both the user and to the advertiser in the cookieless world. There’s a need to be more transparent with the user about their data, but also a need to work with advertisers in the way that they want to be worked with.

“It’s important to build those bridges and reach those authenticated users, not only for targeting, but also for exclusion. We see so much waste in the digital ecosystem. We see users getting reach with the same ad over and over. So, with authenticated solutions, we also want to exclude them and make sure they don’t get annoyed,” said eBay’s Bernard De Vreede. 

“We want to build more direct partnerships. It can be targeted on first-party advertising, or contextual, or based on custom audiences with lookalike modelling… We’re in a different position because we’re in classifieds. People come to our platform with a certain goal, so we want to give the opportunity for users to reach that goal, but advertising is a big part of it. Addressability, particularly in the near future, is becoming harder, but is important nonetheless.”

Nick added: “It’s really where the agencies and clients go, where they have trust in technology solutions that address their needs. The publishers’ job is to be able to effectively trade with them. Future’s position is that we will effectively trade with anyone in whichever method they want to. We’ve already deployed a number of ID solutions, including LiveRamp’s ATS, to make sure that we’re ready for whatever happens.”


One big issue around the future of identity is that it’s all very complex and a lot of people within organisations still don’t know what all of this is about. As such, educating various stakeholders on the work that’s going on around identity is very important.

“The matter is very complex. The majority of people don’t understand it. What you see within agencies is that specific groups or teams within the organisation are working on the identity strategy, or are working on the authentication strategy. However, that layer hasn’t come through towards the buying layers within the advertisers and within the agencies,” explained Bernard. 

“We need to test and learn, then you can describe the process from A to Z. How does it work? What does an advertiser need to add to buy authenticated or identity-based campaigns?”

This importance is further highlighted by Cristina’s belief that “in the future, when it comes to the most trusted advertiser and the best campaign, we’ll look for authenticated traffic”.

One thing that’s for sure is that we can’t quite predict what the future will hold and we don’t yet know which solutions will prove to be the ones that are universally backed by advertisers and publishers alike.

“I think it’s fair to say there won’t be a silver bullet. There’s not one solution that will make all your worries go away – and there never was. It’s that simple,” Tim said. But authenticating your traffic will go a long way toward making many of those worries go away.

Watch LiveRamp’s session from the Global Adtech Media event here: Authenticated first-party data: the lifeblood for publishers