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May 11th, 2022

What Does ID Deprecation Look Like For Publishers? A View From the Front Lines

In digital advertising, the deprecation of personal identifiers (like third-party cookies and device IDs) is well underway. It isn’t without drama: Google’s on again, off again announcements regarding Chrome support come to mind, along with Meta’s ongoing feud with Apple over its app tracking framework. But advertisers, publishers, and adtech vendors know the writing's on the wall, and no one wants to be left behind in the cookieless future .

These changes are a good thing. Cookie-based digital advertising was fundamentally off-kilter, and a serious reexamination of the whole ecosystem was badly needed to bring the industry’s focus back on the consumer—not just to do a better job at targeting people, but to protect their privacy too. This is a real opportunity for brands and media companies to finally develop relationships with consumers that are built on trust, transparency, and mutual respect. Some pundits will tell you that consumers don’t want a relationship with brands. Don’t believe them. We just never had the digital marketing tools to make it happen in the past.

At the 2021 Brave New Worlds summit, Ade Adeosun, Neustar VP, Marketing Solutions and Advertising Partnerships, hosted an in-depth panel discussion to examine the question of ID deprecation from the publisher’s point of view. His guests were Steven Francolla, Head of Partnerships at Permutive; Tyler Imoto, VP Data Solutions and Strategy at Meredith; and Maddy Want, Senior Director of Product Management at Index Exchange.

Just as advertisers are racing to develop solutions to adapt to the new data privacy environment, publishers are racing to develop cookieless audience solutions. How far along are they? What are the key remaining roadblocks? To find out, check out the full recording right here. You’ll learn that:

Top publishers are investing in a portfolio of solutions - There are multiple universal ID proposals on the table, renewed interest in contextual advertising, and tremendous enthusiasm for first-party audience development and curation. Top publishers aren’t taking any chances: they’re investing on all fronts. They know that they need to be flexible, and develop the capability to connect with brands the way that brands want to connect—directly, programmatically, using first-party data, cohorts, or interest-based audiences. Some, like Meredith, have already developed their own multi-pronged solutions. “We’re in production,” says Imoto. “Our advertisers are buying our contextual solution, along with our audience-targeting solution based on our first-party audiences. Those things are going together quite nicely, and we can already prove their impact on sales.”

Publishers are using first-party data to unlock new business opportunities - The need to collect first-party data is forcing publishers to reckon with one very important question: How much customer data to collect in the first place. “Privacy means different things to different people,“ says Want at Index Exchange. “Some people may only refuse to be retargeted, and that’s relatively easy to solve. While others may not want to be targeted at all. Ever. Under any circumstances. And that means something entirely different for our industry.” Publishers need to understand those differences and tailor their offerings accordingly. People may not want to log in to read a story on the benefits of regular workouts, for example, but they may if it gives them access to a good fitness program. They may even share a lot of personal data, and pay a subscription fee, if that program can be customized to their needs. First-party data gives publishers an opportunity to connect with consumers in new exciting ways, and reinvent their business in the process.

All progress will be moot if the new solutions are impractical for advertisers - Publishers are on the front lines with both consumers and privacy regulators. That’s forced them to embrace new solutions faster than many of their brand counterparts, and in some ways dictate how the new advertising ecosystem is going to work. But media sellers need media buyers. None of the new solutions will work if they’re too expensive for advertisers, too onerous, or impossible to scale. As Francolla at Permutive puts it, the priority is to “bring supply and demand closer together. We need to do three things: have publishers collect first-party data signals; make sure that advertisers can access and transact on those signals efficiently; and keep IDs out of the bid stream. If we can do those three things, we’ll have a foundation that can sustain the future of advertising.”

How far along are you in your ID deprecation journey? Are your media partners ahead of the curve, or are they still operating in a cookie-based ecosystem? Find out using our Fabrick Impact Assessment tool. And please contact us to accelerate your digital transformation.

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