Ad Techs New Diet

The Cookie has been the crème de la crème of digital advertising for almost 30 years.  It has been the cornerstone of digital marketing and has allowed advertisers to find new customers while they surf the web.  Google’s announcement that it is ending the 3rd party cookie sent ripples through the industry with advertisers, agencies, and publishers alike scrambling for a new solution.  Even though Google has since announced that the depreciation of the 3rd party cookie will be delayed until EOY 2023, the winds of change continue to blow as the industry still attempts to catch up with Apple and its sunsetting of the automatic IDFA. 

As the industry scrambles to find new solutions, short-term trends have emerged.  Giving consumers the option to choose to be targeted with the IDFA only around 15% of consumers have opted in. As a result, advertisers have shifted spending to Android, mobile CPM’s have seen a slight uptick in cost, and advertisers have continued to focus on their 1st party data segments and ensuring that they control their own data. In the future, the advertiser who controls, manages, and understands their data will be the advertiser who runs the most successful campaigns. 

Paraphrasing Thanos “The death of the Cookie is inevitable” so the question has become what and who will capitalize on the changing tides as the industry focuses on a new solution.  While it will take years for a true winner to be crowned, the short term will see multiple solutions take their shot as the new champion of digital targeting.  I’ve said before that it’s unlikely that we will ever have a single solution that works for every advertiser in every situation.  We will likely get a combination of tactics and tools that will help build an advertiser’s ad stack.  The 3rd party cookie is dead, but as a result the need to build out a new strategy is more important than ever.  With that, let’s review some of the tactics whose importance should continue to grow:

1st and 2nd Party Data

  • The crown jewel of an advertisers ad stack, the importance of 1st party data will continue its importance, evolution and effectiveness.  It will require a more advanced cross device solution, DMP,  and will be the engine of all major advertising campaigns.  As DMP’s continue to evolve and integrate new features, we should also see cheaper solutions enter the marketplace that allow for mom and pop advertisers to utilize the same tech as their larger competitors. Data sharing will evolve to allow brands, publishers, and agencies the opportunity to share their data across campaigns in a more sophisticated manner. All while catering to a world that requires security, and privacy.

FLoC or Federated Learning of Cohorts

  • Google’s answer to the demise of the 3rd party cookie, advertisers will pay big for groups of consumers who fit their consumer profile.  While 1:1 advertising won’t be in play, this solution will provide advertisers scale and efficiency with the promise of non compromised privacy.  With the support of Google, FLoc’s will get their chance to succeed but with the removal of 1:1 targeting its use case might be limited.


  • Surviving the days of network advertising, contextual advertising will see a continued and important rebirth.  As advertisers accelerate their shift to cross platform advertising through their preferred DSP for all media, PMPs will continue to play an important role in allowing advertisers to reach consumers with relevant content all while ensuring relevant, brand-safe, and viewable content. Advertisers will pay a premium, but the tried and true TV style buying will see an increase in demand.

Unified 2.0

  • With the weight of TTD and other major ad tech players, Unified 2.0 is the band aid that the industry will need to survive until the future arrives.  Using a combination of email, and other more strict privacy controls.  Unified 2.0 will allow advertisers to target users 1:1 as well as cross devices.  Using a solution touted as more precise than the cookie, Unified 2.0’s biggest challenge could be in a courtroom..  TTD promises accuracy, and efficiency, but it is unlikely that Unified 2.0 offers a long term solution to the growing problem of privacy.

LiveRamp’s RampID

  • Early results look promising for LiveRamp’s crack at the future.  Built as an identity graph which links cookies, mobile device IDs and Connected TV IDs to anonymous PII-based deterministic identifiers for individuals and households. A leading solution for those already using LiveRamp technology, RampId aims to provide enhanced benefits such as  Improved match rates on LiveRamp audiences, and Improved Connected TV Targeting and Capabilities on exchanges supporting RampID. Don’t be shocked if RampID emerges as the solution of the future.

Open Source Verification aka Blockchain

  • As Blockchain tech continues to grow, new ideas are built off of this technology. There is a strong belief that Blockchain will contribute to the future of online advertising.  With an open source framework, this solution will allow consumers to keep their identity anonymous, and secure. In addition, Blockchain provides the flexibility and freedom to choose what and when gets shared.  While we are likely years away from an effective Blockchain solution, the technology is too promising to not make an impact in the advertising world. 

Which solution do you see as the new champion of targeting?  Is your team working on a solution you believe should have been included?  Feel free to comment, and provide your thoughts as to which technology will become the new standard for online advertising. 

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