Publishers Can Face the Cookieless Future with Alternative Identifiers Today

This much is true: Google will begin its cookieless phase-out in Q1 2024. Of course, cookieless traffic has been around for a while, it’s been mistakenly attributed as just being a Safari issue. Even today we see 14% of the Chrome browsers and 11% of Edge produce cookieless traffic on the 33Across exchange. Also if you click on a Facebook link, 25% of that mini browser traffic is cookieless.

Caught in the crossfire are publishers, whose inventory becomes less effective without the attribution that the third-party cookie brings further putting feet to the fire to find solutions to keep relevant in an era when advertisers demand greater accountability for how their spend is motivating customers.

Google continues to stand behind its 2024 deadline, but thankfully there are several solutions to help those publishers maximize the eyeballs coming to their sites and apps.

A Modern Publishers’ Approach

The few fortunate publishers that capture a significant percentage of logged-in users will find authenticated ID solutions to be a core part of their ID strategy; however, they will still need ways to monetize the percentage of unaddressable traffic.

Put another way, authenticated users are like first-class passengers. They are low-volume customers that generate high revenue per user (CPM), but you can only provide so many seats. You still need to fill the rest of the plane.

To monetize unauthenticated users, publishers can create a portfolio approach using different types of solutions, such as first-party (non-logged-in) audiences, or alternative identifiers like probabilistic solutions and contextual solutions, each with their strengths and limitations.


What You Need To Do

For publishers just starting their alternative identifier journey, the first thing they need to do is establish a baseline by isolating a percentage of cookieless traffic (most likely Safari traffic) to calculate lift accurately. To gain scale, authenticated solutions will need to act as “seeds” for modeled expansion for non-authenticated users. And virtually every publisher will need to use probabilistic modeling for scale.

In parallel, publishers will tap into a mix of alternative identifier solutions. At last count, there were 50-plus identity providers operating today. Many have solid methodologies, but working with them directly means figuring out multiple integrations. The next task is to narrow down which ID partners to use.

Whomever the publisher chooses to work with, they should demand a partner with multiple scaled demand integrations. It’s also worth noting that publishers need to test numerous solutions to see which one is the best fit for their audience and focus. Every combination of the publisher, SSP, DSP, and identity solutions will affect results and yield various levels of performance; just as you see today with cookied traffic.

In addition to targeting, make sure they have measurement capabilities. The IDs that can provide the best measurement solutions will rise to the top.


Ensure You Can Measure Your ROI Through Identity Resolution

Most publishers will want to work with multiple identity solutions as it affords greater flexibility and reach. But doing so means you need some way to reconcile the various data produced and a way to frequency cap over multiple campaigns.

When you really boil it down, publishers need identity resolution at a global level that provides persistent addressability for targeting, measurement and verification. Testing 50 identity partners just isn’t practical on many levels and using a one-to-one versus a one-to-many approach limits opportunity to scale. Identity resolution allows buyers to translate more signals or identifiers to their preferred ID. It also gives publishers a way to dynamically optimize their signal offering without relying on one particular ID. Just like buying an ETF de-risks your portfolio by not betting on one single stock, identity resolution pulls together a basket of identifiers and signals, helping publishers achieve their revenue goals.


Why a Multi-Pronged Approach is the Best Path Forward

The cookieless future is daunting for publishers and advertisers alike, but there are great rewards for those who have the right approach. By focusing on Safari today, specifically, publishers have a healthy cookieless environment to test and build baselines. Moving forward, they will undoubtedly look to multiple ID partners to maximize scale, but they also need a smart and efficient way to manage those partners to create as close as possible to a single source of truth.


This original article was originally featured on Media Makers Meet.