What Lies Ahead for Marketers and Publishers Sans Cookies?

Lotame released the findings of “Beyond the Cookie: The Future of Advertising for Marketers & Publishers,” during a recent webinar with AdMonsters: Identity is a Team Sport: How Publishers & Marketers Can Move Beyond the Cookie Together.

Commissioned by Lotame, the research study aimed to better understand identity solutions from both the publishers’ and marketers’ perspectives.

Webinar participants included: Alex Theriault, Lotame’s Chief Customer Officer; Scott Lawrence, Senior Director, Programmatic at Advance Local; and Joe Campbell, Manager of Digital Media at Rush Street Interactive. (Watch the webinar on-demand below.)

Lotame is the leading provider of data enrichment solutions for global enterprises.

Cookies are still alive for now, how to continue preparing?

Third-party cookies live to see another day… at least for now, but this is not the time for publishers to get too comfortable. While it’s productive for publishers to have some breathing and wiggle room for the short term, working towards a cookieless world must still continue.

The Lotame study surveyed 1,000 people from the U.S., UK, Australia, India, and Singapore in an effort to gauge how prepared both sides are for the third-party cookie-free world.

The results: “Marketers would like to see more money, time, and resources invested in a post-cookie world across various areas,” said Theriault. “We found that three in five agreed that people-based identity solutions are necessary. The same respondents emphasized the need for interoperability. Some of the other leading must-haves included analytics, modeling, and improved audience segmentation for targeting, storytelling, and prospecting.”

Google’s decision to delay third-party cookie deprecation is also good news for publishers “because walled gardens and the growing presence of antitrust lawsuits have dampened marketers’ appetites, and they’re seeking other options to diversify,” continued Theriault. “So we found that a majority of buyers plan to work more directly with publishers and media.”

The Lotame study found that marketers plan to invest more in the open web. Forty-two percent will buy more direct from publishers/media companies and 18% will invest more in walled gardens.

Hot Take: Targeting Is Not Going Away.

The Lotame study found that publishers feel context can replace audience targeting and marketing needs for measurement and analytics, but marketers believe context alone is insufficient.

Lawrence and Campbell both agree that targeting will not go away. 

“Absolutely not,” said Campbell. “I think audience-based targeting is kind of the whole point of building out the programmatic ecosystem that we know today and built on granularity. I think if we’re just doing contextual targeting, we’re going back towards direct IOs and not really having much control over it. With audience, we can get granular and on top of that, from our perspective, we’re building out contextual based on our audiences and our findings from our audiences. So I just don’t see how we could feed contextual without audiences overall.”

“Just because third-party cookies are going away doesn’t mean the audience targeting itself is going away,” added Lawrence. “All it’s doing is evolving. And the definitions around what we consider audience targeting, are very much changing. I think we’ll see publishers working a lot closer with buyers using this kind of context and —in our case— content consumption of a user, sort of a proxy for what we’re going to consider in the past, I guess, old school cookie-based audience targeted for us.”

No cookies? No problem.

Like Tim Gunn famously says, “Make it work.” Continuing to prepare now will leave everyone in a better position one or two years from now when the cookie does crumble.

“Right now we are implementing the CDP (Customer Data Platform). It’s essentially putting us in a pretty good position to do what I think is thinking differently about our readers and how we can ultimately build a deeper relationship with them,” said Lawrence. “Think of them as much more as an individualized, authenticated user reader with some sort of identity attached to that, rather than just a browser unique, a page view, something like that.”