No Cookies? No Problem: LiveRamp ATS Is the New Plug for Pubs

Something will have to connect the dots in the absence of cookies, and LiveRamp ATS may just be it.

“Without third-party cookies driving targeted advertising — publishers that don’t have a strategy to drive user authentication and first-party data, should expect lower CPMs and less revenue,” says Chris Pirrone, VP & General Manager, USA TODAY Sports Media Group.

ATS allows publishers to match authenticated user data with LiveRamp’s pseudonymous identifier, RampID, in real time, enabling advertising without relying on third-party cookies or device-based identifiers. Advertisers can leverage RampID and unlock premium inventory, additional reach across cookieless browsers including Safari and Firefox, and improve their marketing via people-based audience targeting, frequency capping and more.

Back in August, Dev Pragad, CEO, Newsweek reported driving a total eCPM as high as 224%, with an average lift of 52% across all web browsers using ATS. Most recently, LiveRamp completed a global analysis of 70+ publishers live with ATS over the past six months and saw the following:

  • A 100% improvement in CPMs on Safari and 113% on Firefox – addressability is a major factor in cookieless monetization.
  • Auth rates are higher than people think – more than 33% of Safari/Firefox impressions are addressable today before pubs begin to scale auth!

We had the chance to talk with Travis Clinger, SVP, Addressability & Ecosystem at LiveRamp, about some of the latest findings underscoring ATS’s performance, and the immediate opportunity publishers have to improve addressability and their businesses.

LiveRamp connects people, data, and devices across the digital and physical world, allowing consumers to connect with brands.

Yakira Young: Now that third-party cookies will be around until 2023, publishers have a little more time to test and refine their first-party data strategies. However, on your recent analysis of 70+ publishers, LiveRamp’s Authenticated Traffic Solution already provides addressability in cookieless monetization on Safari, Firefox, and even Chrome. Can you share some of your results?

Travis Clinger: LiveRamp completed a global analysis of CPMs and other metrics across more than 70+ publishers live with LiveRamp’s Authenticated Traffic Solution (ATS) over the past six months. Across all browsers, we saw significant monetization improvements in CPMs.

Starting with cookieless browsers, our analysis showed a 100% improvement in CPMs on Safari and a 113% improvement in CPMs on Firefox, which displays that people-based addressability provides substantial benefits to monetizing cookieless browsers.

While publishers are still scaling authentications, more than 33% of Safari and Firefox impressions are already addressable today on the ATS publishers we analyzed.

YY: How successful is ATS in helping publishers optimize their yield?

TC: At present, marketers are willing to pay premiums for impressions in the walled gardens because of the walled gardens’ ability to reach authenticated consumers and enable people-based marketing.

We’ve long known that authentications are critical for publishers to grow and connect their inventory to advertisers’ high-value audiences with precision. Publishers who develop authentication strategies gain an advantage here. This analysis is unequivocal proof that marketers are willing to pay a premium to transact on authenticated inventory and enable people-based marketing—thus, boosting publishers’ overall monetization and yield. 

YY: How important will it be for pubs to take their first-party data out of silos and connect it to marketer CRM data in a trusted ecosystem in a privacy-first world?

TC: It’s incredibly important that pubs can connect their first-party data to marketer CRM while still protecting their data and consumer privacy. ATS was designed to solve this use case from the very beginning. Publishers connect their authenticated inventory to ATS and receive LiveRamp’s identity to match marketer data across direct deals, PMP/PG, and open exchange.

When marketers run people-based marketing campaigns across authenticated inventory, they can activate their first-party CRM data to enhance their ability to reach and engage with their audiences accurately—without relying on third-party cookies or device identifiers to represent the consumer. Thus, marketers can activate their audiences better, increasing the value of authenticated publisher inventory.

By doing this all within a trusted ecosystem, publishers and marketers can leverage first-party data in a safe and privacy-centric manner and develop transparent relationships with consumers without the headache or risks of data leakage.

Similarly, marketers’ CRM data, which contains information on critical metrics like purchase history and conversions, can be used to enhance visibility and insights into whether their campaigns are performing, allowing marketers to improve measurement and attribution and optimize their campaigns accordingly. Measurement is just as important as activation. ATS enables every impression to be measurable – ensuring that marketers can prove the ROAS of their campaigns and invest even more into the open internet.

By doing this all within a trusted ecosystem, publishers and marketers can leverage first-party data in a safe and privacy-centric manner and develop transparent relationships with consumers without the headache or risks of data leakage.

YY: While your analysis shows that marketers are willing to spend on open web inventory that has been connected to RampID, will it empower pubs to compete with the walled gardens?

TC: Publishers that deploy LiveRamp’s Authenticated Traffic Solution will be able to compete on a more level playing field with the walled gardens.

The walled gardens were some of the first publishers to see the value of authenticated inventory. Today, they capture incredible amounts of media spend due to their ability to connect marketer data to their inventory. Indeed, walled gardens are some of the top destinations for LiveRamp clients’ data. Open web publishers can leverage the learnings of the walled gardens and build trusted relationships with consumers to enable marketers to have the same addressability as on a walled garden but with the premium content that the open web offers.

YY: What recommendations do you have for publishers who have not started their plans to transition away from third-party cookies?

TC: The time to start is now — already, 40% of the internet is cookieless, and 2023 will be here before we know it. Publishers should understand that there is no silver bullet for the end of the third-party cookie. Authenticated identity is the gold standard and will give publishers higher CPMs today on their cookieless inventory, but publishers should also explore contextual solutions and plan to test Google’s Topics.

Most importantly, though, publishers should evaluate solutions in the context of putting consumer privacy first – while there are shortcuts to monetization today through fingerprinting solutions, those solutions won’t stand the test of time. Instead, publishers should embrace the regulation and privacy changes we’ve seen and focus on solutions that restore the consumer’s trust.