PubForum Miami: LiveRamp Preps Pubs for Post-cookie Era

Publishers lacking a strategy to drive user authentication without third-party cookies can expect lower CPMs and less revenue. 

Steven Goldberg, VP of North America Publishers, LiveRamp, shared post-cookie solutions for publishers at PubForum Miami. He told attendees why publishers should be testing strategies now and how to leverage authentication tools, ID solutions, and data clean rooms.

 Increase CPMs With Authenticated Traffic

“The good news is the majority of the publishers are already preparing for a cookieless world. The issue is how aggressive they are with their approach,” said Goldberg. 

Goldberg emphasized that publishers must start testing solutions before Google makes its move. The time is now when they still have a runway to try out opportunities. At LiveRamp, Goldberg works with North American publishers to deploy the Authenticated Traffic Solution (ATS) product and suggests that publishers should consider an authenticated traffic strategy that shows, from a CPM standpoint, far superior results against other inventory.

Newsweek, a LiveRamp premium partner, saw impressive increases using  ATS. The publisher saw a total eCPM as high as 224% versus cookieless browsers. Newsweek had an average lift of 52% across all web browsers using ATS against Chrome traffic.

Goldberg highlighted a LIveRamp study looking at 70+ global publishers with ATS. It found a 100% improvement in CPMs on Safari and 113% on Firefox. “When compared to traffic that still has cookies, we’re seeing anywhere from 20 to 50% lift on average from most of the publishers,” said Goldberg.

Addressable Inventory Is a Value Exchange

Goldberg pointed out that many publishers think addressable inventory creates friction. But he said they should look at it from the perspective of creating a value exchange. If publishers provide value to their users, then users are likely to provide something to capture in return, such as an email or a sign-up.

Several authentication strategies publishers have tried over the last couple of years include newsletters, paywalls, sweepstakes, and single sign-on from social media platforms.

“But there is not a silver bullet for any one publisher, and it’s not realistic to think that a publisher is going to ever get to 100% authentication,” said Goldberg. But once they reach the 30 to 40 percent authentication range, publishers then achieve a scale where they can begin to have beneficial conversations with advertisers about their data.

Clean Rooms for Data Collaboration

A division of LiveRamp’s business is the commercial side, where the company works with publishers, advertisers, and agencies on initiatives like data onboarding and clean rooms to ensure they can continue to generate advertising revenue and obtain measurable results.

“It has been the year of data clean rooms. Everybody wants to talk about them,” Goldberg noted. “But then, when you ask who is actually using them, the answer is not too many people. They are not used as often as they are spoken about.”

LiveRamp recently partnered with CafeMedia on deploying LiveRamp’s privacy-first data collaboration platform, which enables marketers to securely connect with readers on one of the largest digital properties on the open web.

ID Solutions and the Email Hash

ID solutions are being considered a promising alternative to cookies. But publishers are often confused about ID’s purpose and where to begin with so many available solutions in the marketplace. 

The industry has relied on cookies for so long, and when you have a big cookieless problem, there are going to be a whole slew of companies that are going to try to solve it,” explained Goldberg. 

He does not think LiveRamp is the sole solution and advises publishers to look at multiple options for authenticated and non-authenticated inventory and select the most relevant ones to their business. Publishers should weigh the scale of the solution and its uses on both the demand and the supply sides.

The email hash is at the root of ID solutions and first-party data gathering, but companies such as Apple’s Hide My Email are impacting the availability of authenticated inventory.

 But Goldberg thinks the email hash is here to stay as a stable identifier even though he admits that the degree of authenticated inventory may decrease.   

Beyond authenticated inventory, Goldberg concluded, “I like to say, if it looks like a cookie, smells like a cookie, then chances are it’s going to get deprecated somewhere down the line.”