Digital Marketing: the disappearance of cookies promises a new digital golden age for publishers

MediaMath has released a whitepaper to highlight the need to envision and think about the future of cookie-free digital marketing, especially 3P cookies (MediaMath, 2020). In an interview with the EuroDSP’s campaign director, we will show you what are the possible alternatives.


What are 3rd party cookies?

First of all, it seems essential to define the 3rd party cookies. 3rd party cookies are tracking codes placed on websites that have been generated by a website other than the one where it is published. The usefulness comes from the fact that when a visitor enters the website where the tracking code has been placed, the information is collected by the cookie and sent to the creator of the cookie. This creator may be an advertiser. The information collected allows the cookie creator to learn more about the behavior of visitors to the website (e.g. buying behavior, product type) and thus to create target profiles, which is essential for retargeting.


Why do the 3rd party cookies have to disappear?

Google, like other companies such as Apple for Safari in 2013, has announced early 2020 their intention to suppress 3rd party data on the chrome browser by 2023 (Graham, 2021). The reason is simple: Internet users have become aware of the need to protect their privacy online, and with the emergence of laws and regulations increasingly framed to protect privacy, they have more control over the use of their data. Indeed, in 2019 the GDPR established the need for consent for the use of cookies (Irwin, 2020). In other words, Internet users can choose whether or not to communicate their information. This law has weakened the use of the 3rd party cookies by making the collection of information more difficult.

“Users are demanding greater privacy-including transparency, choice, and control over how their data is used and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet the increasing demands.” Justin Schuh – Director, Chrome Engineering on behalf of Google (2020)

This does not mean data and tracking will soon be unavailable, there are a number of alternatives and solutions that Marketers need to learn to use to look to the future.

Let’s see, with our campaign director, Rafi Qadari, which solutions could replace cookies.


What do you think about the increasing regulation of cookies?

I think the regulations are going in the right direction. Indeed, the consumer must have control over his data. I  think it is important that consumers know about the marketing process, that they know why their data is being used and why they receive certain advertisements. We believe that a user who feels confident, who approves of the use of these services in order to offer him/her quality advertising agreed upon, has a much better chance of making a conversion such as a purchase. They should not feel manipulated but rather convinced.


Do you already have solutions that are not cookie-dependent?

At EuroDSP, we are already ready for this transition, indeed, almost 80% of our campaigns are cookie independent. As a matter of fact, the most of all our strategy setup is free from 3rd party cookies. We are already confident about the idea to deal with different publishers and providers to buy inventory and 1st party data at scale. For our clients, we are evaluating for every campaign how to reach the target group. Therefore our focus is to use 1st Party Data for example of the Walled Garden or Platforms like Xing or LinkedIn.

Also, thanks to our partnership with DSPs, we have access to their general setup which allows us to target customers without using 3rd party cookies. With the contextual targeting and the hyperlocal targeting we work with the biggest data providers that ensure the fulfillment of good quality data about audiences. This enables us to create specific audiences for each campaign. We are working very close with the Oracle Data Cloud Tool. This is helping us to create specific audiences and keywords in relation to each campaign, especially contextual targeting. We can create relevant keyword clouds around the goals of campaigns to match with the prospects’ searches. We are also aware of negative keywords that could badly influence a campaign, that is why, thanks to Oracle, we define negative keywords to avoid clients’ creatives being displayed in websites with negative contents.

Regarding our brand safety solutions we use our own blocklist and allowlist. We have built up a blocklist with more than 300,000 and we actively continue to work on it to be always up to date. We are also working on inventory discovery to provide our customers new placements to display their ads in a safe environment.


Have you invested in new technologies to face the future without cookies?

Yes, of course, we just launched a new offer with Amazon DSP. This offer allows our clients to have access to customers on Amazon’s marketplace. This is a powerful tool because we have access to the first-party data of Amazon, which is one of the best and bigger databases to learn about customer behavior. We can create an audience based on classic categories on the marketplace but also create our own audiences based on product views or purchases from our client’s products to the products of their competitors.

Also we have access to several Platforms like Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn, Youtube, Xing and Facebook. So we have the maximum scale to use 1st Party Data and be cookie independent.


How do you imagine the digital marketing sector in 5 years?

I think there will be a standardization of the industry; for example, Google is currently working on alternatives to “tracking an identity to maintain a thriving ad-funded web”, following the example of Safari, Firefox, and Brave. These browsers start working on federated learning of cohorts, by no longer observing the browsing behavior of individuals, but of a cohort of similar people, thanks to machine learning.

Secondly, the Authenticated User solution model, also called netID, will represent in my opinion a long-term sustainable approach. The netID initiative was launched in 2018 by the European netID Foundation. Concretely, netID has been built on two blocks: the first is clean consent management; the second is server-side and device-independent storage of pseudonymous identities. Indeed, not every user has to be logged in to every service, and, using a so-called soft login, netID also works without a direct login to the publisher or advertiser website.

Also, the login standard netID uses a permission center for storage. On this basis, advertisers can continue to target campaigns in the future while complying with the European level of data protection and with transparency for end customers. At the same time, the customer always has access to his data protection settings – for all participants in the advertising ecosystem to whom he has granted permission.

Some advertisers tested this Authenticated User model and the results were pretty good news: users who had been lost to personal targeting due to cookie blocking mechanisms of Firefox and Safari browsers could be won back. Using the programmatic netID, it is now possible to address this traffic again in a personalized way via Firefox and Safari.

Therefore, this means for advertisers that users can be identified, and thus better addressed, across different browsers and devices with the netID identifier – even after third-party cookies have expired. In this way, netID offers advertisers the possibility to use their first-party data for user-targeted advertising in the future as well, and thereby, a long-term solution to third-party cookies.