Strides Towards Cookie Independence – IAB’s State of Data

This week, IAB released part two of the Report on Data in partnership with Media Science. The study takes a qualitative look at data preparedness across senior-level, data decision-makers at brands, agencies, and publishers. While the industry is making great strides towards finding alternative solutions to third party cookies, the overall sentiment is that consumers need more transparency and evidence of value around the exchange of data to access optimal personalized experiences. 

Given the patchwork of privacy policies across the globe as well as the variance in methods surfacing as addressability alternatives, decision-makers feel that there will be missed opportunities to leverage data at the same scale as they have over the years. Additionally, the report shows a gap in fully appreciating the requirements of many of the privacy-related laws that could contribute to signal loss. Notably, there was consensus that smaller businesses are likely to be more heavily impacted due to a lack of funds or infrastructure to keep pace with future solutions.  

In many ways, the report paints a picture that is very similar to the early days of online advertising. With so many new tools and methods emerging like clean-rooms and ID solutions, there is a bit of confusion about where to invest and what to prioritize for testing. For now, interviewees are focusing their efforts on capturing data on known (logged-in) first-party audiences as opposed to unknown (not logged-in) first-party audiences. This was cited as a missed opportunity, given that the majority of publisher audiences (~80% according to interviewees) are unknown. With the rising sophistication of contextual advertising, this presents an untapped opportunity for advertisers to leverage. 

Of the various approaches to cookie independence, publishers interviewed are optimistic about the use of Seller-Defined Audiences (e.g., custom cohorts) as a promising solution for addressability. While awareness of how this works remains quite low across the buy-side, Google has just announced a major move towards supporting this approach. 

Google will be integrating IAB Tech Lab’s seller-defined audiences taxonomy solution to help publishers more easily share their first-party data with advertisers in the open exchange. Their new tool “Publisher Provided Signals” lets publishers share their first-party data with advertisers according to the seller-defined audiences protocol. Using the IAB Tech Lab solution allows the industry to group audiences in common language which allows for standardized and scaled transactions. 

IAB Canada continues to work with the IAB Tech Lab addressability working groups as they develop refined approaches to reaching audiences without cookies. Seller-Defined Audiences has been a long-term focus of the industry and we continue to push on with efforts to develop interoperability with clean rooms and other mechanisms that will re-shape how advertising is delivered online. 

Join the conversation and participate in our working groups. Contact to take a seat at the table.