December 3, 2020

How Publishers Are Preparing for a Post-Cookies Future

A future post-cookies sounds, frankly, quite chaotic -- whether we’re talking about the baked goods or the online tracking data. Publishers can assess, plan, and predict how their strategies may change, but nobody knows for sure how it will shape out.

Safari and Firefox were the first to disable third-party cookies on their browsers, sending a small shock wave through the marketing world. But now that Google is planning to do the same for its Chrome browsers by 2022, advertisers and publishers are scrambling to figure out how they’ll track and target customers across the web.

And what they’ve found is that a post-cookies world could open major windows of opportunity for publishers to reinvigorate their advertising operations and evolve their customer relationships (in terms of online tracking cookies, at least; the baked goods, we can’t speak for).

That’s why we’re sharing important insights from publishers across the industry about how they’re preparing for a post-cookies future.

Here’s what they have to say:

1. Ryan Pauley, chief revenue officer, Vox Media

“If you have a direct connection with audiences and deliver the best advertising outcomes, your business will thrive, and that's where we're focused.”

2. Ben Hancock, global head of programmatic trading, CNN International

“It’s a huge ask for premium publishers to demonstrate the value of quality brand, content and audience in such a crowded market … Prioritize more premium brand-led metrics. Focus on where you can add value through first-party data or content. Both of these will be more valuable with the demise of the cookie in direct relationships with buyers.”

3. Matěj Novák, managing director, Czech Publisher Exchange

“I believe that while the end of third-party cookies will be a heavy hit for the industry, it also brings an opportunity for publishers to leverage their relationship with users and offer better targeting based on both deterministic and probabilistic identity.”

4. Jeff Kupietzky, CEO, Jeeng

“An email address or some kind of opt-in identity allows you to now know who [your] audience is. Then you can build additional first-party data around that identifier ... The reason we’re optimistic about that approach is that it starts to also solve a different problem that cookies had, which is going cross-device or cross-channel … because in theory a user can open an email on all three devices and still be identified as the same individual, and it’s still privacy-compliant.”

5. Chris Moore, head of strategic partnerships, Publishers Clearing House

“There has to be some sort of value exchange that the end user is seeing from the publisher in order to give up some sort of information. And for the user to be educated enough to understand, ‘Okay, I’m giving them my email, but I’m going to have a better experience as a result.’”

6. Linda Chen, manager of programmatic revenue, Chegg

“As a publisher, I think the most important piece and the hardest piece to work on is really gathering more first-party data and getting more logged-in users. Especially because we’re doing 2021-2022 planning, it’s a great time to speak with your product team and design team and think about: what content can you make available to your user free of charge [and] at what point do you cut it off and say, ‘These are for members only,’ so [it] gets users to log in and sign up for your services?”

7. Stephanie Layser, vice president of advertising technology and operations, News Corp

“A privacy-first identifier is really important and needed in our industry as a whole. Because without that we'll continue to play this cat-and-mouse game and it will eventually make it so that we can no longer identify users at all.”

8. Nicole Lesko, senior vice president of data, ad platforms & monetization, Meredith Corporation

“We want to be careful about commoditizing identity and sharing it across the programmatic marketplace, because is that really in the spirit of what’s happening regulatory-wise, or is that just trying to circumvent and go back to the old way? This is a chance for publishers to re-establish their presence and take back a bit of power with the marketers to try and shift them to the channels where they can access the audience and insights.”

9. Jonathan Penn, senior vice president of revenue, Livingly Media

“I believe it’s really up to the publisher going forward to provide more context and insight for the marketers as to what their users are doing online. What are they reading, what are they consuming, clicking through, and buying? And then using that data asset in conjunction with media buys. So it’s a contextual 2.0 version that I think will be part of the framework to complement the first-party CRM in the future.”

10. Emily Roberts, programmatic trading manager, BBC Global News

“First-party data will be key to enable advertisers to understand their audiences, so publishers will need to reorganize their data collection and extension strategies to meet this need. By maintaining value in the open Internet, publishers are able to focus on their core business - creating premium and trusted content that will keep consumers happy and deliver engaged audiences to advertisers.”

No cookies? No problem

A future without cookies may still seem a bit uncertain, but there are a few key strategies publishers can count on going forward: gathering first-party data, building direct audience relationships, and investing in high-engagement channels like email.

And Jeeng can help. Built exclusively for publishers and their ad partners, our platform has the tools you need to make the most of this brand-new, post-cookies world. You can build multichannel campaigns that reach customers where they’re already active and monetize your content to keep growing revenue.

Most importantly, you can find new and exciting ways to deliver value and gather first-party data through opt-in experiences like email, push notifications, and news readers. So while the marketing world may be scrambling, your publication doesn’t have to miss a beat.

Learn about more strategies for succeeding in a post-cookies world. Check out our virtual roundtable discussion on this topic with industry leaders, here. 


Are you prepared for a post-cookie future? Reach out now to hear how we can help.

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