Recent research published by LiveRamp shows that over a third (38%) of publishers will not have an identity solution that will continue to work post-cookies and only a small percentage of publishers’ traffic is currently authenticated. This means over a third of publishers will experience critical blind spots relative to user behavior and engagement unless they prioritize an alternative identity solution or authentication strategy. In fact, with just 16 months to go, a whopping 83% of publishers surveyed report that they are only now beginning to plan for a cookieless world.
Leverage Lab thinks it is past time for publishers to begin to better leverage their first-party data assets. A fundamental change in the digital advertising ecosystem is just around the corner. It will immediately compress the addressable universe and the only hope for open-web publishers to build their reach back up to levels relevant to larger advertisers is expanding and enriching their first-party footprint.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Near-term audience targeting strategies will benefit some publishers as the third-party cookie fades away. Strategies like contextual targeting and first-party segments will benefit those publishers with premium content and audiences data. This benefit will likely accelerate as advertisers lose scale in the programmatic ad buys and realize that it more effective to engage a known audience within the confines of relevant, trusted content vs. anonymous audiences on dicey long-tail sites. Additionally, innovation in the form of publisher panels and second-party data partnerships could actually improve audience targeting and attribution.