The cookie is slowly being replaced by people-based marketing

Paige Murphy
By Paige Murphy | 19 December 2019

The industry has continued to move away from the use of cookies and head towards a people-based identity approach to improve transparency and connections with consumers.

LiveRamp VP strategic partnerships Travis Clinger says the cookie won’t disappear for a while but it was time for a better way to connect publishers and marketers with consumers.

“When you look at a third party cookie, it was never that great. You have hundreds of them,” Clinger says.

“So, it's very inefficient to move data around the ecosystem. It's difficult for the consumer to easily opt out and in an increasing number of browsers the cookie doesn't work.”

The last two years have seen more consumers and regulators continue to question its use.

Clinger says adtech vendors and publishers in the European Union have been told by GDPR regulators that it’s okay to personalise advertising but they need to explain to consumers what they are doing.

“We just need to do a much better job of explaining that value exchange, making it really simple,” he says.

“Never before in the history of humankind have you been able to get so much content for free. But all of that content isn't really free. It costs money to produce.

“There's huge journalism offices and the cookie has enabled marketers to sell personalized advertising, which then in turn provides consumers with free content.

“All of the publishers need to have that dialogue with consumers and say, here's why advertising is meaningful to you as a consumer.”

In addition to the bad reputation the cookie has received, Clinger notes that across browsers such as Safari and Firefox, as well as connected TV (CTV) and soon with the rise of the internet of things (IoT), they don’t work.

This is an opportunity for the industry to work towards something that does.

“While the cookie is certainly being threatened by some browser changes, this is also the opportunity to upgrade to something that's much more competitive for the open internet,” he says.

“Something that enables a better marketer experience, a better consumer experience, and gives all of the open internet platforms a chance to be at the same level as the walled gardens.”

Clinger says the use of first party publisher identity is the answer to connecting with consumers in a way where they will understand the value exchange.

“I think the world is moving to a people-based ID that connects publisher first party data with marketer first party data,” he says.

“At LiveRamp we've been working for the past almost three years now on doing what we call an infrastructure upgrade and saying it's time for the ecosystem to move beyond transacting on cookies and instead transact on a people-based identity.”

First party publisher identity encompasses information such as name, email address and postal address - all of which is shared by the consumer in exchange for the content a publisher is offering.

This in-turn can help publishers and marketers build an identity for that person based on the information they are willing to provide.

It gives control back to the consumer which is what much of the new data regulations forming around the world have been driven by.

People-based marketing is nothing new though.

Clinger notes that the likes of Facebook and Instagram have been doing this for a long time.

“If you go to Facebook, you can't see any content without providing an email address,” he says.

“So, consumers are used to this. I'm happy to provide Instagram, my email address because I want to see pictures of my friends and I say that's a worthy exchange.

“The same is true with major newspapers and other publishers.”

He says by the industry switching to people-based marketing, the open internet will become more competitive and will have a stronger chance at taking on the walled gardens.

“The industry has recognized that the walled gardens are taking up huge amounts of net new advertising spend,” he says.

“This is a way to enable marketers to better address their consumers, to do the best campaigns [and] have a much more efficient experience. That's also a way to bring parity to the open internet.”

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