The identity ‘game of chicken’ needs to stop

Dan Richardson
By Dan Richardson | 3 July 2024
Dan Richardson.

(This article forms part of the AdNews mid-year update on the state of the market in Australia

Download the report HERE)

Online identity is a massive issue –between cookie deprecation and likely Privacy Act changes both publishers and advertisers are going to be challenged to get a lot smarter about how they find people online. Customers want more privacy and data controls, but still expect relevant targeted advertising. Are you in a position to deliver this to them when cookies do disappear?

There seems to have been a big game of chicken going on with many publishers and advertisers around Google’s Third Party Cookie deprecation – with many burying their heads in the sand. By failing to look at how they can evolve their operations they’re really taking a risk with their future marketing success.

From what we have seen so far many Australian publishers aren’t engaged enough in this area yet.

At Yahoo, we’ve been deep in testing one of the frontrunners to replace those third party cookies – the Google Privacy Sandbox Protected Audiences API. Through this process we can see web domain adoption by supply side platforms (SSPs). Since March we have seen 78 unique Australian and Singapore domains sending our DSP Protected Audiences Traffic – meaning these publishers are actively involved in this program.  What we’ve observed is these domains tend to be the larger ones, for example, News Corp, which has been openly testing this solution.  However, other large web publishers from AU or SG are notably absent. This raises the question, how ready will Australian publishers be when the changes come into effect, and who won’t pass muster? It’s a massive question because even a small deprecation early this year had a big impact on a lot of our local publishers and their ability to monetise their inventory effectively.

For me it reinforces the importance of marrying your non-addressable supply solutions to your addressable strategies such as alternative ID’s. The two are going to go hand in hand, with addressable audiences and data used to train and inform the non-addressable systems, making them more efficient and effective.

Too many platforms are fixated on cookie replacement only and still defer to a third party cookie in the absence of an addressable user, which does not meet the challenge for advertisers.

From an advertiser perspective you need to be AB testing now to understand how this is going to work for you. These AB tests allow advertisers to properly simulate an internet free of third-party cookies and truly kick the tires on both addressable, ID based solutions alongside non-addressable Next-Gen targeting and supply.

There are a lot of things fighting for the attention of advertisers and publishers at the moment, and identity probably isn’t the sexiest one to spend time on. But I’d argue it is one of the most fundamental, because without real, workable solutions for the open web more advertisers are going to opt to spend their money in walled garden environments, taking yet more revenue away from local publishers.

It’s going to be a team effort, so let’s work together to build the solutions that work for everyone.

Dan Richardson, Director of Data and Insights, Asia Pacific, Yahoo

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