The Crumbling Cookie: The Publishers’ Perspective

April 20, 2020
Gareth Shaw

While Google has stated that their plan to phase out third-party cookies by 2022 will make the ad landscape more respectful of consumer data privacy, the shift away from what has become the industry’s de facto audience identification tool means publishers of all kinds are facing uncertainty on multiple fronts. And that was before the world was thrust into a global pandemic. 

We’ve already covered how the cookie’s demise will impact targeting for advertisers. 

But when third-party cookies no longer have the same utility in the digital advertising ecosystem, publishers will have to do more than compensate for the loss of a principal tool for identifying their audiences (and helping to validate campaign efficacy). They’ll essentially have to rework the way they present, authenticate, and share their own data with advertisers overall.

You’ve heard the bad news about third-party cookies and revenue. So what are your options? 

In a recent study of the top 500 global media companies, Google engineers projected that shift away from cookies could cost the average publisher 52 percent of their revenue.  For publishers seeking to avoid the one-two punch of an uncertain economic landscape and the death of the cookie, there are two options:

1) Wait and See

Put off looking for a cookie alternative until next year and hope that industry trade groups like the IAB and Digital Content Next develop a workable solution by then.

The Pros: You won’t have to think about how you will handle audience definition, tracking, or insights until later.

The Cons: You’ll have to come up with your own alternative in less time if no viable, industry-sanctioned cookie replacement appears on the landscape soon.

2) Implement an Alternative Now 

As a publisher, you probably can’t afford to risk losing up to 64 percent of your ad revenue, even if you’re certain your losses would be on the lower end of the spectrum. 

Pros: Implementing an audience solution now means that you’ll be ready when advertisers begin to feel the impact of the cookie’s loss in 2022. They’ll have less audience tracking data available from publishers caught without a cookie replacement and even fewer tools available to evaluate premium inventory. They’ll want the same high-level of audience measurement they are used to pre-2022, and you’ll be there to provide it. 

Cons: You’ll need to get used to a brave, new cookie-less world—but you have to do that anyway.

Publishers can be in the driver’s seat in a post-cookie world—with the right data.

The good thing is that in a post-cookie world, publishers will still have a trove of first-party data to share with healthcare marketers. 

But that data becomes less interesting to advertisers with the absence of context—when publishers can only point to their own data on logged in and on-site behaviors rather than a complete portrait of an audience across the web along with ad performance.

The right data, however, will be priceless for healthcare marketers. By the “right’ data, we mean data that:

  • Establishes your premium inventory as brand safe 
  • Gives strong evidence of ad performance and viewability
  • Provides an extensive portrait of audience behaviors across devices, platforms, and websites

If you can’t offer your advertisers the audience data they’ve come to expect in a post-cookie world, then you’ll be asking them to run campaigns based on (out)dated insights, rather than demonstrable value. 

So how can you protect revenue and get the most out of your data? You’ll need to take a new look at the marketplace. 

    Got Data? Make Sure It’s the Kind Marketers Crave

PulsePoint offers a health-first marketplace—bringing advertisers premium content that matches their campaign objectives contextually while ensuring brand safety and content relevance.  

Publishers get access to higher revenue opportunities from healthcare brands while providing the marketer an ecosystem-wide view of the targeted audiences that they crave. 

Publishers can use contextual data to provide customized, health-specific data segments for your audience that health advertisers can’t readily access anywhere else.

That means you’ll be able to get the value for your audience by serving it up with  HIPAA-compliant data that healthcare and life science marketers need to deliver effective campaigns —without having to do any of the work to collect or analyze it, and freeing up your direct sales team to work on more complex, custom deals and sponsorship opportunities. 

    A Marketplace Where Your (Health) Data Matters

The PulsePoint marketplace employs AI-crafted contextual data to define, measure, and promote your audience to healthcare marketers who are purchasing premium content. 

Yield opportunities multiply as you derive revenue from content by creating context-driven advertising opportunities by content, page, keyword, and condition category. (That means your content’s appeal to advertisers won’t be limited to a keyword or two). It’s a frictionless process that unleashes the full value of your content onto a healthcare-specific marketplace populated with motivated media buyers. 

Ready to drop the cookie? Connect with us to find out whether your site (and audience) is a good fit for the PulsePoint Exchange.

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