News publishers dive into detailed solutions to third-party cookie depreciation

By Håkan Hamrin

Stampen Media

Gothenburg, Sweden


It’s a well-known fact that the third-party cookie won’t be an alternative for targeting ads much longer. If Google had been able to find a solution to replace it, we would have left the third-party cookie behind us already.

It still works, mostly in Chrome. The other browsers have already blocked the third-party cookie. Now Google says 1% of the traffic in Chrome will shortly be without third-party cookies. A future completely without third-party cookies is getting closer.

Stampen Media has designed a user interface both buyers and salespeople can use as they navigate the new era of user data.
Stampen Media has designed a user interface both buyers and salespeople can use as they navigate the new era of user data.

Advertisers are still targeting ads on third-party cookies, which means there’s less revenue for publishers. At Stampen Media, we see a CPM rate on Safari that is 30% to 50% lower than on Chrome, for example. We need to adapt to this new future from a publisher perspective.

Publishers have done a lot of things to combat this. You can also argue that perhaps advertisers should be more active to keep their reach. If they target ads on only third-party cookies, they will mostly reach out through Chrome and miss the traffic on a lot of the other browsers.

But let’s focus more closely on the publisher perspective. Perhaps this is mostly for publishers that haven’t reached a level fear in this work quite yet.

Collecting first-party data

This is the first and most important step to prepare for this future. It’s something you should do regardless of the cookie situation, to be honest.

Of course, the best option is building your own data platform and having total control over your data. Not many publishers have these kinds of resources, though.

Another option is having several data platforms you can establish agreements with, and build your data and audiences together with them. You can often also get a lot of valuable insights from data platforms. We are using Brain Nordic, which is a Swedish-based platform. But there are several international platforms, like Krux, Lotame, 1plusX, and Permative.

Deals based on first-party data

Do you have first-party data already? Well done! The next step is to actually monetise that data as well.

One important part is setting up deals based on this data. All the regular supply-side platforms (SSPs) offer this possibility, but you have to export the data to the SSP in some way. The most common way is to synd IDs between your data platform and the SSP. Several of the data platforms already have those syncing mechanisms in place.

However, there might be some problems when syncing IDs. If the browser is blocking third-party cookies and third-party Ids, you might end up being blocked even if it is your own data. You might be able to solve this by sending the data in a encrypted way on the page, using a universal ID or ID solution from the SSP.

Universal IDs

Examples of universal IDs are ID5 and Lotame. Lotame also has a data platform. Of course, if you want to use a universal ID, you need consent from users. Then you can allow this ID actor to set an ID on your users. Then you can share this ID via prebid, and the buyer can use this ID to target the desired audience from their side.

I want to clarify this doesn’t mean you are sharing data about your users. You just allow an ID that lets the buying side use the data they have collected about the user. And, of course, the user must have consent on their side.

SSP ID solutions

SSPs have solutions on their side as well. Pubmatic has its Identity Hub, Adform has ID Fusion, and so on. Reach out to your favourite SSPs and find out how they can help you in this matter. You clearly have a mutual interest to get this thing working.

Present audiences to buyers

One challenge in this matter is how you can make the audiences you have accessible for the advertiser. If they don’t know what audience you have, it makes it harder for them to buy it.

There are several solutions for this. One example is having a PDF you can send to the advertiser. We have chosen a user interface that both our salespeople and buyers can use. In that user interface we show the most common audiences and contexts available on our sites together with an estimate about available ad impressions. 

Contextual solutions

As noted here, we present contexts as alternative targeting deals. This is a great way to get around the blocked cookies and use something that works in all browsers. We just send a key value based on the content of the article and then can set up a deal based on these key values.

To set the key value, you need a way to set tags or categories on all your content. This can be done manually or with a contextual system. We are using a combination of those two.

There are also actors working with different kinds of contextual solutions. We have a collaboration with Kobler, but there are others, such as Adlede and Neuwo.

Data clean room

With a solution for a data clean room, you can match the first-party data from your customers with data from an advertiser. The advertiser uploads data from its CRM; with e-mail or some other feature, you can collect the users on your side for that audience.

Of course, this must be done in an encrypted way and with consideration for users’ privacy. But it is a solution allowing the advertiser to target its audience with the publisher’s first-party ID. This makes it easier to address. This is merely for larger advertisers that have processes in place to handle all the challenges with privacy and also have a critical amount of users.

About Håkan Hamrin

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