First-Party Data and Industry Collaboration Will Fuel the Post-Cookie Evolution of Digital

Image of citizens overlayed with their personal data

By Henry Shelley, Managing Director APAC, TripleLift

With 78% of brands in Asia Pacific and Japan still relying on third-party data for current marketing strategies, Google’s decision to delay its cookie phase-out yet again comes as a blessing for many.

But the truth is that almost half of all ad requests are already unaddressable by third-party cookies. Marketers and publishers are missing out on large amounts of revenue, even before the cookie depreciates. Delay or no delay, it is clear that the need to find an alternative targeting method that protects user data is urgent.

This is where the situation gets tricky; while a recent Adobe study found that 85% of consumers across the APAC region are concerned about how their data is used, others, such as McKinsey & Company have revealed consumers’ preference for personalised interactions. So, marketers and publishers must find a balance between well-targeted yet privacy-compliant advertising. How can they leave the cookie behind and still deliver effective ads?

First-Party Data Will Rule the Post-Cookie World

While there will be no one-size-fits-all solution to the depreciation of third-party cookies, first-party data will be at the heart of most privacy-friendly targeting alternatives. For one thing, first-party data isn’t reliant on syncing by third-parties, which can often be unreliable when high-scale data collection reduces its accuracy. This makes it more effective than third-party data; as highlighted by a TripleLift survey which found that first-party data delivers targeting accuracy rates of 70% or higher — at least double that of third-party methods.

Valuable first-party insights may include interest-based browsing behaviour, login details and interactions with online surveys or polls, all of which publisher websites can easily collect. Seeing as this data is often gathered from logged-in users who have consented to their data use, first-party data is privacy-compliant and therefore will be an asset in the post-cookie world. However, until now, publishers have not been maximising this valuable resource and have instead been relying on third-party cookies for targeting purposes. For the benefit of the entire industry, it’s essential to find ways to help publishers fully unlock their rich audience insights.

It’s Time for DMPs and SSPs to Work Together

One way in which publishers can gain a complete picture of their audience is through effective data management and analysis; this is where data management platforms (DMPs) come in. Many modern DMPs have in-built AI capabilities which can enhance first-party data to reveal behavioural patterns and links between content engagement and broader interests. In doing so, they boost publishers’ value in the eyes of marketers, helping them monetise their inventory by offering detailed audience segments for targeting purposes.

Bringing supply-side platforms (SSPs) into the mix creates a harmonious and transparent relationship between buyers and sellers. While publishers get to boost their monetisation capabilities, marketers gain a fuller understanding of their audiences and media buyers have clarity over the data they use and where it has come from. This improves relationships throughout the supply chain and establishes more direct bonds between buyers and sellers.

With Change Comes New Possibilities

As both sides of the advertising ecosystem become progressively more aware of how closer collaboration can unlock these many benefits, innovative partnerships are cropping up throughout the ad tech space. There were almost 1,500 mergers and acquisitions in ad tech throughout 2020 and 2021, largely prompted by the need for privacy-compliant cookie alternatives and ways of acquiring and harnessing, first-party data. TripleLift’s recent acquisition of 1plusX was influenced by this need for targeting solutions in the privacy-first world and how the matching of TripleLift’s SSP with the DMP would improve first-party data access and quality for publishers and marketers alike.

In a way, the third-party cookie’s eventual demise can be seen as a positive. While the initial announcement sent shockwaves through the industry, it has forced marketers to seek more responsible targeting methods and has prompted a boom in new technologies and partnerships. Underpinning these innovations is first-party data — the most effective way to create addressable audience segments without the need to worry about falling foul of browser/app restrictions or privacy regulations.