"By working with a second-generation DMP such as Cxense, our customers will be futureproofed and not dependent on cookies."
The cookie-less Internet is fast becoming a reality, as actions from browsers to block or limit cookies and legislation including GDPR and the California Privacy Law limit the effectiveness of cookies as an identification tool. Media professionals that attended a Cxense workshop at this week's Digiday Publishing Summit also ranked cookie-less identification as the second most important DMP capability - surpassed only by audience segmentation based on content analytics.
This has meant that according to a recent AdExchanger article, many of the first-generation DMP’s that were reliant on third party cookies, are struggling to appeal to publishers who now require a more sophisticated and robust DMP that uses a range of different digital identifiers to identify and track users.
However, the current debate around the cookie-less Internet is somewhat overhyped, as some in the industry are now under the impression that the end of the third party cookie means the end of being able to identify users across domains in a way that’s compliant with privacy regulations. This is of course not the case.
For publishers wondering how to deal with a cookie-less future, we want to reassure you that not only is it possible to survive in such a world but thrive. By working with a second-generation DMP such as Cxense our customers will be futureproofed and not dependent on cookies. Our engineers anticipated that cookies wouldn’t be a permanent solution and therefore built a DMP that wasn’t solely based on them long before this debate even started. Cxense applies a robust, multi-pronged approach to user identification and tracking that uses, among other things, stable first-party identifiers (like first-party cookies), third-party identifiers (a.k.a. third party cookies), and publisher-owned identifiers (e.g. logins).
Therefore, It’s not being cookie-less that matters, and that’s not what makes Cxense DMP so reliable - it’s the fact that we have never relied on third-party cookies alone. Moreover, it's not as straightforward as saying all cookies are inherently bad. Cookies remain incredibly useful for remembering login details, what items have been added to a shopping cart, and website configuration. But they have also been the backbone of online advertising, helping adtech companies to target, retarget and track users as well as helping to measure and attribute the effect of online advertising. It is these roles that clamp down on privacy and cookies are targeting.
From cookies to GDPR - the wider implications of the cookie-less Internet
Although the long trailed death of the cookie may be restrictive to the current model of online advertising, at Cxense we believe that GDPR and similar regulations aren’t an obstacle but instead an opportunity for publishers and marketers. Because they are an expression of stronger protection of user’s privacy online and because they provide common, international standards. It’s good for users to have the same digital privacy rights across Europe, and good for publishers because it gives them the ability to invest long-term in products and technology based on widely used standards.
The end of the cookie doesn’t mean the end of user tracking, but it does mean that everyone participating in the digital advertising value chain needs to prioritise privacy and prepare their technology stacks and strategies accordingly. At Cxense for example, we have added consent-aware tracking and APIs that allow publishers and marketers to fulfil their users’ rights to see their data or to be forgotten.
The decline in third party cookies causes problems for many publishers
One key impact of phasing out third party cookies and putting more power over browser data into the user's hands is that for publishers, marketable segments become smaller and audience match rates go down. This is why so many publishers are finding ways to get more users to register and remain logged in while they browse the web.
With this in place, publishers can segment and serve logged in users with ads just like Facebook or LinkedIn can. And because there is a unique ID per user that doesn't disappear over time as cookies do, cookie-matching becomes unnecessary. This is a big advantage for publishers because although the amount of logged-in users will always be just a fraction of users in total, the advantage is that these users can be identified across devices and the publisher is likely to have a lot of rich data on them.
This is also a sign of how the world of advertising and subscription are converging. Previously very separate and often competing divisions are being brought together due to the power of registered users, helping increase paid subscriptions and allowing the publisher to grow marketable, high-quality audiences for advertising.
Furthermore, these logged in users allow publishers to use lookalike modelling to identify similar audiences, this technique which we use for publishers like Belgian powerhouse Mediahuis allows them to increase their data quality and segment sizes significantly.