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News 18 Feb 2021 - 2 min read

Cookie cull: Brands scrambling to rebuild martech, publishers “will suffer if they don’t act soon”

By Brendan Coyne - Editor

Outside the biggest firms, marketers and publishers risk a world of pain when third party cookies are turned off next year. Barely two in ten have a solution in place, according to a poll by Lotame. They need to act now, or hand everything over to Google and hope for the best, suggests MD Luke Dickens.

What you need to know:

  • Lotame surveyed 200 marketers and publishers in Australia.
  • Marketers are concerned, but the larger firms have a plan in place.
  • Most are mulling multiple post-cookie ID solutions.
  • But smaller brands and publishers are underprepared.
  • They risk losses when Chrome browser changes take place next year.

Killing time

Australian marketers and brands are scrambling to implement ID solutions ahead of Google’s cull of third party cookies. Fewer than one in five are ready for that change, per adtech firm Lotame.

The ad data company polled 200 Australian marketers and publishers. It found only 18% have an ID solution in place, despite well-signposted structural shifts.

Next year, changes to Google’s Chrome browser will kill off most remaining third party cookies, the tracking currency that to date has underpinned digital advertising. Safari and Firefox ditched third party cookies some years ago.

That shift, seen by some as a response to tightening privacy regulation around the world, also presents a challenge to adtech companies, which must now rebuild cookie-based data management and tracking technology.

As such, Lotame has been developing alternative ID solutions for 2.5 years, ANZ MD Luke Dickens told Mi3, as have other platforms.

So far, uptake is patchy.

Dickens said while bigger brands with dedicated resource tend to have solutions or at least a plan in place, smaller brands risk cutting it fine.

Outside of Australia’s biggest media companies, “long tail” publishers are also underprepared, said Dickens, “and will soon suffer if they don’t act.”

Martech rebuild

Marketers have grasped the urgency of the situation, said Dickens, and are rebuilding tech stacks accordingly.

“We are starting to see brands and marketers really pick up the pace. Six to twelve months ago, they had their DMPs (data management platforms) or a CDP (customer data platform) in place. They were comfortable with their stack. But now we are having a huge amount of conversations with [marketing and data teams],” said Dickens. “They are reevaluating what their DMPs do. They are concerned.”

Marketers’ worry is compounded by DMP businesses taking different approaches to how their technology will function in a post-cookie world. Some are looking at third party ID solutions, others are focusing on private marketplaces. Onboarding first party data (a CDP approach) is another model.

Dickens thinks marketers and publishers will ultimately require multiple solutions to manage a blend of data.

Google gains?

The alternative, he said, is for brands and publishers to “hand over everything to Google”. Naturally, adtech firms oppose that approach.

“The only time you put all your eggs into one basket is when you either don’t know what you are doing, or you are scared. It is a huge gamble.”

Which is why the likes of Lotame, The Trade Desk, Magnite and others are working to push alternative digital ID solutions and convince brands, agencies and publishers to use them.

The proliferation of ID solutions could cause “some grinding,” over the coming months, admitted Dickens. “But ultimately, the gears will fit together. These technologies need to talk to each other to survive [outside of Google] so that brands, publishers and agencies do not suffer. Because if they do suffer, that means less money for all of us.”

Ultimately, brands and the advertising supply chain will also have to convince consumers to opt-in.  Should they succeed, said Dickens, the outcome will be sharper, deeper data and better results – perhaps worth the short-term pain industry is about to face.

Lotame's survey:

  • Half of marketers concerned about accuracy of their first party data.
  • 43% of marketers said they don’t have enough first party data to scale.
  • 75% of marketers unconvinced contextual advertising can adequately replace targeted ads.
  • 61% of publishers think their contextual targeting is good enough to meet marketer needs.
  • 62% of marketers plan to use multiple ID solutions.

Mi3 Special Report: Australia's looming $1bn retailer media market

  • Australia's retailers are gearing up to become major media channels.
  • US retailers are already displacing 'legacy' publishers.
  • All retailers are eyeing media, not just supermarkets and FMCG.
  • Mi3 supported by Resolution Digital have produced a 28-page report with cross-industry views on what you need to know.

Expert analysis & market impacts for brands, publishers and agencies.

Get ahead of the curve. DOWNLOAD THE REPORT HERE DOWNLOAD your 28-page report here.

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The Rise of Retailer Media

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