As an industry, we’ve known for a while that the time is up for the third-party cookie. As the identifier continues to be dropped across the ecosystem, we have finally reached an inevitable crunch point for this method of audience addressability.
Consumer trust has been lost and consequently, regulators have stepped in and browsers like Safari, Firefox – and soon Chrome – have decided to pull the plug on the cookie. But it was long before this that the cookie passed its sell-by date.
Where did it all go wrong?
When it comes to consumer transparency, third-party cookies offer minimal information on their usage and limited abilities for consumers to manage their preferences. As a device-based identifier, they don’t represent a person and lead to significant data loss when synced across different platforms (DMPs to DSPs to SSPs, for example). What’s more, cookies lack persistency as they’re subject to deletion by the browser or the user.
Despite all this, the industry has relied on the cookie to perform many duties in adtech, which will fundamentally break the advertising ecosystem once the cookie is fully phased out. These include audience activation and retargeting, frequency capping and suppression, audience insights and segmentation, media attribution, site personalisation and more.
What’s the solution?
Audience addressability in a post-cookie world is possible; it just needs a new approach – one that is built on a foundation of consumer trust with privacy-centric technology powering every part of the digital advertising ecosystem. Step forward, people-based marketing.
So how does audience addressability work?
The key to all of this is authentication, or the point at which a consumer opts in, whether from an email sign up or some other consented authentication method. This affords the publisher the chance to build a trusted first-party relationship with the consumer based on a value exchange that enables the publisher to deliver better services, experiences and ongoing consumer engagement.
Of course, part of the piece in this puzzle is publisher monetisation, which is where working with providers like LiveRamp and our people-based identifier, IdentityLink, comes in. Using LiveRamp, the publisher calls the API to de-identify the personal data, which is returned in an encrypted ‘envelope’ and stored in a first-party cookie or via the CDN. This envelope can then be passed to supply-side platforms (SSPs) who use real-time technology to decode to IdentityLinks for demand-side platforms (DSPs) and private marketplace (PMP) deals. Each platform gets a different IdentityLink to ensure privacy is protected at every stage and can never be reverse-engineered or pieced together to reveal personal data.
As a result, publishers are able to connect their first-party, user-authenticated inventory with advertiser data without the need for third-party cookies; this enables marketers to buy on a consumer-by-consumer basis and far more efficiently. And the best part? Privacy and trust are at the heart of the exchange, ultimately placing consumers in the driving seat.
Not only is post-cookie, end-to-end addressability going to work, but with 400+ brands activating through LiveRamp, 50+ adtech partners live or committed to integrating IdentityLink, and over 100+ publishers already on board with our Authenticated Traffic Solution globally–it already does.