How first-party data can help kick your cookie habit

Christopher Blok
By Christopher Blok | 3 July 2023
Christopher Blok.

The death of cookies is fast approaching, and we’re all going to have to kick the nasty habit we’ve built over the past decade.

Add to that a rapidly evolving and changing media landscape, and it can quickly become daunting trying to work out what data you can use to replace cookies, let alone how, when and where it should be utilised.

But fear not – there is a solution. Quality first-party data can help kick your cookie habit and provide greater efficiency and effectiveness for your spend in premium, programmatic and emerging environments.

Where to use first-party data in your marketing across premium publishers As third-party cookies will be deprecated by Google from the start of 2024, we will see a stronger mandate for brands and marketers to engage with quality first-party data.

Recently, there has been an increasing level of consumer confusion and distrust about how data is collected and used by brands, marketers and publishers. While third-party cookies have long been the backbone of the digital ecosystem, they were flawed to begin with. Third-party cookies are not people-based, lack platform interoperability, are subject to deletion, lead to inaccurate measurement, and can’t be used in channels such as Connected TV (CTV) and in-app.

In the Australian market, we’ve seen several publishers and broadcasters, Seven West Media, Nine, Network Ten and SBS take differing approaches to first-party data. Those who have embraced authentication have developed strong audiences built on first-party data and gained a competitive advantage over rivals by offering people-based addressability and measurement.

With Broadcast Video On Demand (BVOD) consumption across the three commercial free-to-air networks having increased by 31 per cent in the first half of this year, particularly across CTV, it is imperative brands and marketers have peace of mind when activating data. This means ads are being shown to a relevant and receptive audience within professionally produced content across their choice of device they consume the content. Additional advantages of addressability allow for cross device frequency control and measurement.

With CTV representing 65% plus of BVOD ( Ipsos iris Establishment Survey, December 13 2022). inventory in the Australian market it is critical to work directly with broadcasters when activating audience segments. This is because segments are matched against a hashed email record with the Broadcaster, so it’s matched and activated against a known person, not cookie or device ID neither being present in CTV.

Given the current economic landscape, marketers are under immense pressure to ensure every ad dollar provides maximum return. It’s imperative to buy inventory that is both addressable and measurable. Standard metrics are no longer enough to justify media budgets, so building your strategy around data that can be connected to real-world customer actions gives you a more reliable picture of what’s working and what isn’t.

The main benefits allow for cross-platform people-based audience activation via hashed email matching, frequency capping, creative personalisation, along with measurement and attribution. By making these changes, marketers are engaging with consumers in a more relevant, meaningful way and creating value, leading to greater ROAS.

How to use first-party data to drive efficiency and accountability

Programmatic now encompasses a broad array of ad units, sales techniques, direct and indirect interaction between publishers and advertisers. Its legacy application of selling remnant inventory in an open marketplace is no longer a relevant way of understanding its scope, and both supply-side platforms (SSPs) and Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) now facilitate more direct buys.

So, what does programmatic have in store next? We are seeing many advances in technology start to make their way into programmatic particularly with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). With multiple inputs, both technologies can start to find patterns and predict behaviours and outcomes. As AI and ML continue to evolve so will its ability to deliver results on ad spend and costs.

Data in Emerging Channels

We've seen the rise of several new channels entering the programmatic arena with Digital Out of Home (DOOH) and Audio starting to be traded programmatically. This rise is due to the significant investment in digital screens from the likes of oOh!, JCDecaux, QMS and Val Morgan, giving brands and FMCG marketers new ways to activate and measure audiences in DOOH.

Programmatic Audio works by automating the sale of audio ads in content such as podcasts, digital radio and streaming music services, across apps on laptop, smart phones & tablets and smart speakers. This allows marketers to engage with a highly emotive audience of actively listeners allowing for precise targeting, frequency capping, sequential creative messaging, with an increased level of reporting and attribution.

The key takeaways?

1. Ensure you’re working with publishers or broadcasters whose inventory is addressable. This means you’ll be activating audiences against quality matched known users giving brands/advertisers measurement against real world outcomes e.g. sales-uplift and proving ROAS

2. To ensure you get the most from BVOD or CTV activity, when activating against audience segments, it’s best to activate directly with the Publisher.

3. Keep an eye on new programmatic inventory like DOOH & Audio for ways of activating data and measurement.
If you’re a brand or marketer don’t leave it too late to start your data journey and make sure you’re getting the most out of the data you’re working with.

Christopher Blok – Director of Partnerships, Unpacked by Flybuys


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