Digital publishers beef up first-party data to fill cookie gap


Digital publishers’ investment in building first-party data has given agencies confidence in navigating a post-cookie world as the end of third-party cookies looms closer.

Google is phasing out third-party cookies by late 2022, bringing it in line with other browsers including Safari and Firefox. This has put a spotlight on first-party data to help brands connect with consumers in a relevant, privacy-conscious way.

“Australian publishers are in a unique position because they own the first-party relationship with the millions of users who visit their networks each month,” says Nine director of advertising and data products Ben Campbell.

“Publishers will continue to be able to track audiences across their websites when Chrome puts the final nail in the coffin of third-party cookies, and will retain many of the rich audience segmentation capabilities that they have today.”

Nine has more than 14 million people signed in to one of its digital services, including 9Now, the Australian Financial Review and 2GB. Meanwhile, Seven West Media has passed more than 10 million signed-in users across its network.

This data is valuable to brands, Campbell says, because it represents “real people identified through deterministic data”, rather than “pseudo user IDs”.

Gill Clay, CEO at IPG’s Matterkind, echoes this. “Australian publishers have done well to get ahead of the end of cookies because they've spent a lot of time focusing on logging first-party data with their viewers, which has been great,” Clay says.

“That level of investment from major publishers, including News Corp, has given us lots of encouragement that we can get scale in our immediate delivery because they've invested ahead and ultimately given us the confidence that the marketplace is ready for first-party data media application.”

Foxtel has been through a digital transformation in recent years and aims to have all of its content and ads delivered digitally in the near future.

“This will then allow us to make every ad we deliver, whether it be broadcast or digital, fully addressable allowing us to reach new audiences like never before,” says Foxtel Media national head of digital sales Chris Oxley.

“Once we understand what the advertiser's ultimate goal is, we can better provide opportunities to reach their customers.

“If the goal is to drive reach and frequency then aligning to live sport or event-based content is key to effectively delivering this at scale. If it’s about bringing to life a key communication message, then integration and sponsorship within premium content allows us to tell brand stories.”

Meanwhile, Seven West Media has also been ramping up its data with its audience intelligence platform 7REDiQ. “By identifying users appearing across the network, our 7REDiQ platform maintains a deep level of insight which is used to enhance and power segmentations,” says Seven network digital sales director Nicole Bence.

“This relationship is different to what is currently being offered by data aggregators who utilise third-party cookies to pool groups of audiences together through digital properties which have been tagged and monetized across the open web.”

Bence says partnership between advertisers and publishers will be key in a post-cookie world.

“Advertisers and major publishers will need to partner closer than ever to effectively communicate with the right audiences,” she says.

“The major publishers collect a substantial amount of data on users accessing content which advertisers will need to leverage within digital campaigns.

“By enjoying a one-to-one relationship with audiences across the network, digital publishers can offer advertisers advanced audience segments to meet the criteria of a target audience for the campaign, and those who have invested in collecting first-party data will be able to onboard their audiences to publishers to enhance with insights and activate in digital buys.”

Minsun Collier, national head of data and technology acceleration at MediaCom, backs this, saying that Australian publishers provide advertisers with important tools to execute campaigns.

“Publishers also provide local partnership and relationships which means there are opportunities to do more than just buy spots and dots and impressions and clicks,” Collier says.

“So, you can build brand rather than just getting a lot of reach and frequency building. You can do integrations, custom solutions, have access to local talents. That's a powerful thing that publishers can offer here as well.”

Jessica Honeychurch, 10 digital group sales manager, says the network has fast-tracked its member gating process across 10 Play to capture all its first-party data at login in preparation for the end of third-party cookies.

In addition to having the right data, Honeychurch says publishers’ investment in content has also been important.

“Audiences come to publishers for the content so not surprisingly, serving them the right content at the right time keeps them there for longer and coming back for more,” Honeychurch says.

“Being a publisher that is identity first by design utilising declared and deterministic data, means that from the programming through to the ads, viewers are served more relevant content, no matter which device they’re accessing it on.”


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