Digital Marketing in a Cookie-Less World
James Colborn: We are in a world now where anything digital has a very high likelihood of having a digital footprint. From an advertising point of view there is an enhanced responsibility to be able to make sure that that data is being used in the best possible way.
Becky Holland: Hello, and welcome to the No Bull Marketing Ideacast. I’m Becky Holland.
Today I am going to talk to you all about cookies. So, first party cookies, what are they? They are stored directly on websites that you visit. They help provide helpful features like analytics, like language settings and a whole bunch of other features that will enhance the experience you’re getting from interacting with that brand. Third party cookies on the other hand, they’re bad, so useless. So anyway, they are made by websites that are just not the one that you’re currently visiting, and they’re usually used for advertising. The problem with third party cookies is people just feel that their private info is being outed without their permission.
JC: Google are the last company to deprecate the third-party cookie, which could also be translated into Google are the last place that I can continue to buy using the mechanisms which I felt very comfortable using for a long period of time.
BH: So, third party cookies are going, but when? How? Why? What does it mean for marketers? Is it good? Is it bad? What do we actually need to do?
I have read a whole bunch of articles trying to get my head around this and I felt I needed to speak to an expert. I came into this interview feeling a little like a cookieless dunce, but I came out inspired and a little bit better informed, I hope you will too.
BH: My guest today is James Colborn from Teads, why don’t I let you introduce yourself actually.
JC: Yeah, no problem at all. My name is James Colburn and I run a data commercial business for Teads.
BH: And who are Teads?
JC: I wondered if you were gonna ask that question there. Teads are a media company, global footprint and specialise in what’s called outstream media. Which is beautifully crafted in created video advertising that is basically a sort of included and woven into the in-article experience or they were when Teads started way back when - I think 2012 with this in-read out streaming capability that exists but since then have evolved over the years to sort of developing fantastic creative opportunities, being an SSP in many instances for high quality sort of publisher inventory, and then most recently where I got involved, is being able to address many of the challenges that our industry is going to face going forward with providing audience reach in a cookieless ecosystem and obviously a lot of the focus in the conversations that I have today are focusing on the deprecation of the third party cookie.
BH: Funny you should mention cookieless because we are clearly going to come on and talk about that in a little – well for the benefit of the audience we did record this interview previously and then Google pushed back the date of the deprecation of third party cookies or their own third party cookies at the very least. So, we’ll come on and talk about that a little bit but, talk to me a little bit more about you and your background and kind of how you came to this world of outstream which all sounds hugely exciting. What was your background?
JC: So, I’ve worked in media for 25 years maybe. Started out in search a long time ago and then sort of moved through many of the large media organisations on the publisher side more than anything else. I was at Microsoft then moved to AOL then AOL combining with Yahoo to create – for a short period of time called Oath, and then moving into what was then known Verizon media that turned into Yahoo and then I left after 16 years sort of moving from different sort of merged companies to now [where] I’m at Teads. So, my time has been really focused on data the whole way, but more so the application of data to be able to help advertisers, to be able to help publishers make the most of the opportunities that present them with reaching audiences, finding insights into audiences, measure successful campaigns. So, I’ve always spent a lot of my time focusing on how best to be able to get as close as you can to the right audience and then be able to effectively understand if the campaigns [that] you have been running have been working or not.
BH: So, are you more of a creative person? Do you get more excited about the impact of the stuff that’s produced or are you sort of a data nerd? Is it the results that make you tick or is a bit of both.
JC: Oh, both, absolutely. I mean if I was pressed to be able to pick one side or the other, the data side, looking at the details, the numbers, the insights intelligence, more certain than anything else. What is it telling you? What’s the story that this data is telling you that will help you do a better job of being successful in [your] business.
BH: I think that’s a fundamental to what we do, and I think a lot of people pay lip service to that but don’t perhaps do it to the extent that they need to. Partly because you start with this sort of self-fulfilling prophecy “we’re going to do this, this is going to work you’re going to test it with this audience”. Well, you know if you’ve not set up your test correctly or you’re not analysing it to the level of detail and nobody - or very rarely in marketing do people like that like to admit that something [has] failed, whereas I you know in terms of what we do [we] very much like to flip that on its end.
So, actually the best thing you can do with the first few campaigns you do with a client, offer them to fail in inverted commas [because] the amount that you learn from that will set you up for future success. If you’re only testing one thing it seems to sort of work OK and you keep on doing it forever more, you’re not really learning, you’re not really evolving and at some point, a bigger fish is just going to come and snap you up.
JC: Totally agree. I think that digital has done - and it’s now obviously being challenged a lot by the changes that are happening in relation to the cookie, which I know we’re going to talk a little bit about as well. But the level of understanding that you can get to be able to make informed choices is fundamentally for me one of the most fantastic parts of digital.
BH: Yeah, digital out of home is quite interesting we’ve done a bit of that recently and it is fascinating what you can do that you couldn’t do with a piece of paper.
JC: It really is. It’s sort of - and simple stuff like what time of day, if I’m driving along the motorway and there’s a billboard you know what ad showed, what time when somebody was driving past that particular ad? Do we know the circumference of you know who was around at that particular point? Did they see exposures to that particular ad?
The canvas that we have is becoming digital and so it’s opening up a whole new sort of world of potential, but, I would say and as someone who’s worked in data for a very long time, not necessarily whether this is a segway or not - but we are in a world now where anything digital has a very high likelihood of having a digital footprint and therefore that digital footprint means that there is an opportunity plus also a responsibility associated with the data that comes with that footprint. I mean if you go to the Consumer Electronics Show, you've got acres of space of digital technologies that will do all sorts of things for you. From an additional health point of view to tell you [if] someone's fallen over, all the way through to devices to tell you to be able to take your medication, to lying to watch television, to telling you've run out of milk in your refrigerator. And all of that is data which is arguably useful in so many ways to be able to enhance the consumers experience, but it also leads a data trail which means that from an advertising point of view, there is an enhanced responsibility to be able to make sure that that data is being used in the best possible way.
BH: We talk about it a lot, we talk about you know [we have] conversations with the clients, well I want to sell this and I want to sell that. Well actually people don’t really want to be sold to anymore this is all about empowering people to buy and giving them, choices and you know It’s more of a Hansel and Gretel effect, you’re trying to kind of lead them in the path and helping them to make a decision about something they want to do. Now, whilst I know people don’t like the you know - you’re buying a new fridge freezer and it follows you around the Internet for the next three months if you haven’t bought it, at the same time at least it was the fridge freezer that you were looking at. We just need to get more sophisticated we need to get to a level where people really feel that what they’re experiencing is something that they will choose.
JC: Totally. I mean for me it’s about the value exchange. It is about the experience that consumers have with brands to be able to say. I’m A: Made aware of what you’re going to do with my data and B: Going to give you permission or I’m going to give consent to be able to say, “you can use that data to be able to market to me”.
However, I think that we are still in this interesting crossroads where that [a] lot of people still feel that ads are overly intrusive, they feel that their data is being used without their consent and that I think they feel that they are powerless to be able to potentially change it. Which is why we’re seeing so much focus on consumer privacy, rightly so, to be able to bring them into the conversation. And so that value exchange is going to be more and more prevalent and you’re starting to see it in business models all over the place. I’ll give you a great example, there are you know connected TV channels that will give you an ad-funded option, which is the price you pay is cheaper on a monthly basis but you’ll have 5 minutes of ad for every hour that you look at and as a result there is a value exchange there that says that experience that I’ve had is cheaper, because you know I’m seeing advertising and the conversation around the data just empowers that type of scenario. Similarly, I think it’s also important that when you talk and you see research about consumers, they would prefer to have ads that are tailored to them, but not at the cost of their privacy or not on the cost of the lack of control that they have.
BH: So, I think everybody has an idea of what cookies are, but actually as marketeers I think sometimes the whole first party, third party what they do all gets a little bit muddled and actually feels like its somehow tangential to what we’re actually trying to do in terms of changing behaviour. So, I guess I’ll try and use this as an opportunity to just understand a little bit more about, what’s the 101? What’s the idiots guide? What are first party cookies? What are third party cookies? And what you know, what’s changing?
JC: So, it’s very simple, if I’m going to a website that I own, or a consumer is coming to website on their own. So, let’s say for example I’m a newspaper and somebody types in the web address of my newspaper, visits my site and they want to personalise their experience. That website may drop a first party cookies because it’s served by that site to that individual so it’s a one-to-one relationship. That allows the individual to customise their experience it might remember their login details, it might change the way it recognises the news preferences on my news website, it might change the way that the weather forecast shows up because it remembers my preferences. The third-party is when that newspaper allows hundreds of other companies to also drop a cookie, to gather knowledge about the user on that site which can then be used later to be able to do something else.
When I say do something else it could be measuring activity, it could be to find that user across multiple sites in the future outside of that individual website owner. It could be used for analytics, it could be used for advertising. And so, in many respects what's happening is, when a visitor visits a site not only are they being served or dropped a cookie which is first party from that newspaper but also could be hundreds of other companies that are gathering insights and intelligence about that individual. Which may be used to be able to profile who they are, it may be used to be able to retarget them elsewhere on the web and so it’s the third party aspect which has a lot of people concerned because it's effectively allowing hundreds of companies, saying hundreds it could be thousands it could be tens but instead allowing other companies to be able to gather insight about the individual on the site and in many instances without their knowledge and awareness that this is happening.
When we talk about the deprecation of the cookie, we're not talking about right now moving or removing the cookie that that first party relationship, that customization of the page whatever need be is going to be taken away. What we're talking about is taking away the ability for all of those other companies to gather knowledge about that individual and then be able to use that for whatever purposes in the future, which is typically for commercial gain. So, targeting companies can use it to be able to profile individuals and be able to sell that on. Now the publisher who has dropped that, the website who has dropped that third party cookie might be part of some kind of commercial agreement whereby you know their understanding that by dropping those third-party cookies they make their sites more attractive to hundreds of other people and that data will make people more aware of the individual who is visited. But the separation we should make sure is clear is first party cookies - served by the individual site with the one-to-one consumer relationship that they have - third party are dropping cookies for a tonne of other people.
BH: So, just to clarification, if you've got a brand, you've got a website and on your website you've got things like, Google Analytics which is obviously changing in its own right to GA4 but you’ve got Google Analytics you’ve maybe got HotJava and heat mapping, you’ve maybe got a LinkedIn pixel because you’re doing some LinkedIn advertising and you want to track that and you maybe got a Facebook pixel. Those are all third-party cookies.
JC: Correct. For the most part that is exactly right. Those are third party cookies which are being dropped by other companies that aren’t having that direct one to one relationship with their consumer.
BH: Okay. What’s going to change. So, say you’re a marketeer you’re in a brand and you’ve got a range of these different cookies on your website or most of which are probably there so that you can customise experience and you can target people with useful and relevant information. What’s going to happen to them? Are they just going to get switched off? What’s happening in the world of cookies.
JC: It’s interesting because the way to think about it is that the browsers were effectively - the cookies are served, and the content is consumed. So, I’ve gone to safari, I have gone to Chrome, I’ve gone to Firefox, I have gone to Edge, typed in the web address of the site I’m looking for. That browser has the ability to be able to allow or disallow certain cookies from being placed after particular individuals. So what is happening is that - well we started the conversation about GDPR which is a regulation based approach of being able to say I’m going to ask people to opt in to being able to make this happen, and it’s one of those areas where it’s a regulatory sort of approval that people have to walkthrough and its where you see banners or user experience flows which [when] you go to a site for the first time it says this is what we’re going to do your data or are you happy with it.
After that match more of a regulation driven solution. But browsers, the browsers themselves have the ability to be able to block the third-party cookie, to stop it being served against that individual to protect their privacy. And so, as a result, right now the only browser for the most part – I’m saying there’s a few nuances that exist in a few other areas, the only major browser that we use that still allows third party cookies to be dropped against consumers is Google. Of the major browsers that people use its only Google that people are paying attention [to]. Which is why everyone’s paying attention to what Google is doing, because Google is going to be the last place where all of the technologies which are enhanced and empowered and affectively the backbone of their success model is based upon this third-party cookie. And so, as an advertiser you're now going to lose the ability to be able to do certain key aspects such as, buying audiences based upon understanding of that user that was gathered by one of these third-party companies outside of that one-to-one relationship with that publisher.
BH: So, even in a limited scale with small b2b brands you say, we’d like this ad to appear in front of our buyers four times or five times and we want it to stop, because you don’t want them to feel that we’re spamming them. They will lose all that capability.
JC: Yes. Now there are methods that are being investigated and built which would allow some elements of these solutions to work. And the industry right now is fighting a clock so to speak which is really being imposed by Google, as to how to come up with viable alternatives for the third-party cookie. If you hear and you listen to anyone from organisations like the IAB, through to anyone that you talk to like me who works in data, no one single solution is going to replace all the capabilities of a third-party cookie today, which is where everyone is definitely sort of paying a lot of their attention. Because what’s happening is, it means that so much of the programmatic buying media has moved away from browsers like Safari and moved into Chrome because the mechanism by which people have been buying for effectively a decade or longer can still be done on Google. But one of the things that we’ve spent a lot of time talking about at Teads is that it is fascinating that in many markets now, browsers like Safari which is directly correlated to the use of iPhones is the dominant browser in terms of reach.
So, if you’re a publisher or you're an advertiser looking to be able to reach targeted audiences, if you want to be able to apply mechanisms that are powered by third party cookies like global frequency capping, it means that you can't advertise or reach that particular user across the Safari ecosystem. So, Teads with our publisher footprint, which is probably 90% reach on average into each market that we’re in on a global basis. So, a fair representation in terms of a good cross section of the population of the impressions that we see in some markets like the UK or the US or others, it’s over 50% sometimes over 60% impressions that are served today are not being served with a third-party cookie. Because Apple has already blocked them. Which means that if you’re buying programmatically and you want to be able to buy your third-party audiences powered by third party cookies or manage the global frequency capping by a third-party cookie or so forth, you’re not buying into the larger of the two inventory pools which are available to you which would be across an Apple ecosystem or a Google ecosystem.
So, that is inherently one of the challenges that I think our industry is facing right now. Which is a mechanism that happened ages ago it’s something that we are facing and at the strangest of dynamics. Which is we’re clinging all [of our] attention to Google and paying all attention to Google while Apple has gone ahead and done it anyway.
BH: So, this is really interesting, isn’t it? Because it’s easy to just default to what you know, what are we doing with our Google ads and our retargeting on Google, and all of this stuff, and then to panic about the deprecation of third-party cookies on what on earth are we going to do we’re going to have to turn all our advertising up. But based on what you’re saying [it] feels like that’s almost irrelevant if everybody else has deprecated third party cookies anyway it feels like we always having the wrong conversation.
JC: Yeah, and I think that that’s part of the thing. It’s sort of like, right now in the industry it’s very easy to, what’s the best word, scaremonger which is like, oh my god, you’re missing out on so much opportunity and you need to be ready for the deadline and googling how to turn off the cookie and everything. And all of a sudden, the extension of the deadline until sort of mid 2024 is giving people almost a reprieve to go “Oh, I can take a sigh of relief and know that I’ve got a prolonged period of time to be able to reach my audiences using third party cookies”. And you can, there’s fantastic amount of scale even with some markets only having sort of 40% reach into their Chrome ecosystem, it’s enough impression volume to be able to arguably deliver against your campaigns. But one of the things that we found at Teads is that the Safari audience and the Apple audience is an audience that is more affluent, has a higher disposable income, travels more and reaches demographics which are highly attractive to brands if they want to talk to people who you know share or have certain attributes which are attractive audiences for them. And so, as a result you may be able to find the reach that you need through Google with the third-party cookie. The question is, is that the quality reach that you’re looking for?
BH: So, why do you think Google keeps pushing the date back. Because if that’s the case it is purely a commercial thing, they’re going to lose a lot of advertising revenue when it pushes back so they’re going to keep on extending it or is it something totally different and I just missed the point.
JC: No, I think and again let’s say it’s an industry based educated assessment more so than it’s necessary completely, so this is an opinion. But at the same time, it has been published in the blog. The primary reason that Google has delayed the deprecation of the third-party cookie is to give people more time to be able to test viable solutions until such time as they switch off the mechanisms that are there, which I think is absolutely right. It is a fair assessment to be able to say that Google, whether it’s under request from some countries or organisational bodies, or whether they are under expectation from the industry to have a viable alternative to third party cookies before they switch off the one and last place that you can use third party cookies. If that’s the case then the solutions that they were working to be able to build that allow you to do some forms of measurement or targeting whatever need be, weren’t ready.
BH: So, do you think Google is going to launch their own fabulous cookieless something or other, or at some point or do you think it is genuinely a response to the needs of the market.
JC: Yes is the answer. They are producing their own solutions, let me give you an example.
So, Google started out with a lot of language which marketers probably didn’t relate to. Things like Federated Learning of Cohorts, Google FloC, they always seem to have a bird analogy for a while, but FloC was arguably piecing audiences together that would say all of these users across their browsing behaviour represent these type of audience profiles or characteristics and therefore you’re targeting it. That evolved to something which is now called topics and topics is a way for Google to be able to produce - and this is just one of the examples that’s coming out of the privacy sandbox - to be able to say, look we need to be able to create this alternative to cookies as in when we’re going to be able to sort of switch off these third-party cookies from our approach and so yes I think Google is working towards those particular variables.
Now there is a lot of information which is documented that also suggests that Google in partnership with government authorities I believe like the CMA in the UK or, I think it was the Competitions Motors Authority have some form of agreement whereby viable alternatives are needed until such time, until things are switched off. And I think that’s well documented for people to be able to research to be able to say so I do believe that Google have to think about alternatives, but here’s the challenge right. One of the questions is, is that going to be interoperable with other browsers? Or is Google’s one third share or 40% share where you can use them, but the other 60% which is across the apple ecosystem plus a few others would it work there or what are the other alternatives. So, at Teads were we’ve put a lot of our focus to be able to build cookie-less solutions which work across all ecosystems or browser environments. And so as a result based upon contextual signals which don’t have any PII based information or personally identifiable information associated with it, it allows people to be able to build audiences that would effectively reach people on Chrome then reach people on Safari, on Edge, on Firefox and so one of the things that [I] do think is going to be interesting in this sort of scenario is all of the solutions that are being built by Google, will they just work on Google? Or will they work on other places and that interoperability conversation is quite interesting, plus of course a lot of the other solutions that have been created in the industry as well.
BH: So we’ve been having a little dabble with Teads within the agency, cause I think it’s you know important that we offer clients these sorts of opportunities sooner rather than later, as you say not because we think we need something ready when Google stuff [happens] but simply because our raison d’etre is to get clients the best results as they possibly can and if there’s technology out there that allows us to do that and also by the way allows us to be very creative, it’s a bit of a no-brainer that we should be testing it.
There’s some kind of cool stuff you can do as well with that outstream format. So, I guess to give an example to listeners. There’s a nice little example that was used in the first demo we had, and I guess it’s probably used in a university in demo but it’s for the movie Up! And it’s a little animation and when you move it up and down the mobile phone screen, the balloon goes up and down as the user scrolls and just these little touches, I think people are so not used to that at the moment and coming back to our original conversation about how creativity and data, if it allows you to do stuff that you couldn’t do previously that’s got to be a good thing. It’s a very cluttered marketplace at the moment so the moment something acts in a particular way that people are not used to see, it’s going to work surely.
JC: It does. I mean there’s a few things that I think are really important to mention. The first is [I am] delighted and thank you for testing Teads.
BH: It was fun!
JC: It’s lovely and here’s what I would say. If I chat to my creative colleagues, they’ll tell me that 2/3 of the engagement with an ad comes from the creative itself. Earlier on in this conversation we were talking about the fact that people are alienated towards ads, they put ad blockers on, they don’t – they see ads as intrusive, or they have banner blindness in terms of what they see. So, to be able to create a format whereby you can encourage the user to lean in with that particular ad format, the average time on many of our creatives is about 11 ½ seconds in many instances cause people are seeing them as they read through the article, remember this is reading not scrolling necessarily on social media. It means that we have a creative that’s less intrusive, that has an opportunity to be able to engage the user in a positive light and then being able to [in] many instances provide that as an experience which doesn’t feel like an ad itself, it’s a nice thing.
And it’s simple stuff like that example you gave with Up! which I love there’s another one I can’t remember the brand but as you scroll all you see is sort of it's a picture and there's a hot air balloon in the background, and all that's happening is the hot air balloon is slowly moving across the picture as someone is scrolling, create sort of like an engagement and interest in terms of where people are going. So, there’s whole sorts of ways that the creative puts it together but as the data person we are very aware of the fact that our job is to be able to find as well as we can, as responsible as we can the right audience for that particular brand, but the creative has that ability to be able to get someone to lead him. So, I’m glad that you enjoyed that sort of aspect I think it’s one of the things that really impressed me as I joined was just how good the creative opportunities are for the outstream as well. This is [coming] from a guy who started out with two lines of text and the link.
BH: Search still works! Search is still a thing.
JC: Brilliant! Don’t get me wrong you never get away from search….
BH: …you never get away from search!
JC: Exactly. But if you’re going to do creative I think you, do it right.
BH: Do you have an example of a campaign that a client has done or anything that particularly stood out or worked particularly well, or bold storytelling that didn’t actually just to kind of get a bit of flavour.
JC: Yeah! So, I mean I think that one of the things that I don’t have sort of case studies of brands off the top of my head, but I do have aggregate results that we look at. So, one of the things that we’re seeing is we’re seeing key media and brand metrics, are all slightly improved for cookieless campaigns over cookie campaigns, and we can share with you if you want to put it in the description of the podcast, where people can link and see the results and everything better.
We’re seeing that whether it’s view through rate whether its viewability, whether it’s click through rate, where there is effective CPM, all are in aggregate improved with a sort of cookieless based campaigns, and we have associated that with three particular reasons for being the case.
First, is the immediacy of delivery. Everything that – if we think about a third-party audience that has been built based on past purchases that somebody’s done, then arguably somebody may have already done the action that they’re in a purchase bucket falls. Like, if I’m in a market to look for a widescreen TV, by the time I see the ad I might have already bought it. Because a lot of the solutions we produce are based upon real time contextual signals against that individual, there’s an immediacy that the ad actually shows up.
The second, is the contextual placement and it’s funny, when Google first announced the deprecation of the third-party cookie, I remember it was just before the pandemic. We sat in a room, and somebody mentioned contextual targeting and I think the whole room collectively groaned “Oh contextual, that’s so old and old fashioned” - when the reality is contextual targeting is as important today as it ever has been. There’s a reason why we see ads for cars in car magazines and we see ads for perfume in fashion magazines and so forth, it is because contextual placement really has a relevance to the individual that is there. I think that one of the things that we are slowly seeing the industry develop more and more is an appreciation of contextual, so within contextual, placement works very well.
And then the third reason that we've identified is that these ads are running on Safari ecosystems, where audiences may be more inclined to engage because, you know the statistics that are available, on the web or wherever, indeed demonstrate that there is a higher threshold for people to be able to have higher earning potential, higher disposable income.
BH: I need to switch my browser, I’m a Chrome person, I need to switch!
BH: One of the things you’ve not said in this conversation, but we’ve talked about previously - I just wanted to bring [that] up now because I think it’s really important, it’s this idea that this type of contextual advertising that you can do through Teads through outstream but you can potentially do in other ways as well, helps to fund quality journalism. We’ve kind of touched on it a little bit by talking about what people want to read but can you just talk a little bit more about how the approach that you’ve got or that Teads has got helps to fund quality journalism. Because I think it’s a really important part of this and for me in particular, I just think there’s so much junk out there in the web and people write content for content’s sake. So, I’m really interested to hear a little bit more about that and to share that with the listeners.
JC: Sure! So, one of the things that I immediately - and we talked about this previously - one of the things that I immediately gravitated to -is that the right word?- things I liked about Teads, was [that] in the mission statement it said ”Teads funds quality journalism”. Which made so much sense to me because one of the things I don’t think the consumer is as appreciative as they should do, is that for a publisher to be able to effectively deliver the best news with the highest integrity, whatever need be in terms of employing the right researchers and the right journalists and the right content that people want to read, whatever need be, and that’s a huge generalisation of the publishing ecosystem – because I’m sure there’s more that goes into it.
BH: A little bit! A few pumpkin spice lattes!
JC: Yeah, exactly! That’s as far as I got in terms of the level of depth of my research. One thing that I genuinely liked, is the fact that when we think about the solutions that you create, you want to be able to do a few things for the publisher. You want to be able to give them the opportunity to put non-intrusive high quality advertiser ad experiences in front of their consumers, so that the ad doesn’t infuriate or annoy. And I think that is interesting as a first thing.
The second is that if you remember back to some of the conversation - this is one of the things that I really think that is important going forward and we talked about context in this sort of situation, some publishers are not in the position or may not want to be in the position to be able to ask somebody to log in to read free content and tell me if this has happened to you or say if you're listening in and you're still listening at this point, thank you - if you've ever been sent a link to read and you click on it and it says you're going to [have to] log in to read this article and you’re like “ [I] don’t think that value exchange is necessarily strong enough for me to be able to do so”. Now the reason the publisher may want you to login, even for free is so that you can give up your e-mail address so that e-mail address can be on file to then log a map with demand so that, the ad experience will work properly.
One of the beauties of the contextual solutions that have been created by Teads in our cookie-less suite of predictive audiences and contextual audiences, is that no PII is required. And so if I’m a publisher and I’m looking to be able to give a high quality ad experience to the right audience, but I don’t want to alienate a consumer to be able to have to log in to be able to enjoy the content that I produced, so I can continue to fund through advertising, then the thing that Teads has really resonated with me and I think it really sort of stuck out to me is the ads are wonderful, they’re really lovely looking, the targeting solutions that we have don’t require any forced log in to be able to consume that particular content. And so, as a result, if you’re a publisher and you want to continue to drive high yield for your content to continue to fund this quality journalism, then Teads is the solution that works particularly well for you. So that’s one of the things that I genuinely like, and I think it’s this really interesting dynamic right now for publishers - and let me give you an example - this may get boring and technical!
If I’m a publisher, if somebody visits my site once - let's say they visit once every blue moon, once a month, when that visitor visits the site there’s not much knowledge about that user because they’ve just, they’ve clicked on a link in that social media and they’ve gone to that site. So, what happens today is because that publisher side has also dropped third party cookies they can ask another site like a data aggregator, can you tell me if this user who’s just visited my site is male or female or interested in buying a car, a credit card, or a widescreen telly or camera whatever may be - and they supplement what they don’t know about that particular user on the publisher site using data from the third party, now that third party data is bought in using a third party cookie. Take away the third-party cookie and the amount of knowledge that user has about that individual is much less, so when the advertiser comes in and says I want to be able to buy audiences of people that are looking for cameras, that one person who has visited the publisher’s site isn’t attractive to the demand source, cause they’re like “ok I don’t know anything about that user, therefore I’m not interested in learning what they’re doing in terms of where they going”.
And this is inherently one of the big problems for publishers its what options do they have to be able to supplement that knowledge that they have about that individual. So, some of the options may be, get people to log in by asking them to log in and having that value exchange, they get the e-mail address data, they can then match that to other sources of data and make that particular user more attractive to the demand source. But if the publisher is not getting people to log in, you’re left with context and contextual signals and this is where we at Teads spend a lot of time building out really nice solutions with our publishers and say we’ll just take a collection of contextual signals – that we believe mirror and have a high index against an original seat set, which means when the demand source comes in we've set all of the characteristics of the individual look like somebody who is looking for camera.
Therefore, we make that impression more valuable without forcing the publishing site necessarily to get people to log in.
BH: Very good explanation, not too geeky!
BH: Are there things that people can and should be doing now or is it just a simple as if you’re not testing a sort of cookie-less route, you probably should.
JC: Yeah, I mean I give people that the same sort of set of advice and you think “oh he’s going to advise that we should do some cookie-less stuff, of course, but - that would be terrible at my job if I didn’t. But there’s one thing which I encourage everyone to do before they even do that.
Do an audit internally of all of the marketing that you do, that is relying on the third-party cookie. Understand where you are most vulnerable and most at risk of losing the ability to do that marketing, should a third-party cookie be deprecated. That’s the first thing I recommend to be able to do, because that will give you two things. One, that will give you a road map in terms of saying, this is what I’m doing today which when the third-party cookies has deprecated, I will not be able to do anymore. The second thing it will do, is it will give you a map of all the things you’re doing today that currently aren’t being utilised on Safari, Firefox and Edge. And then draw a plan that says if I’m medium to high even low what is my approach to not only be able to say look, I’ll do that in two years from now, do it now! Because 60% of impressions await you if you’re in the US, 55% of impressions await if you are in the UK that aren’t being tapped into today if you are using that as an only tactic.
BH: James thank you so much for demystifying the deprecation of third-party cookies and a whole bunch of other stuff as well. We’ve done this podcast three times now and we have learnt new stuff every single time. So, this is the best one so, yeah, thank you!
JC: Thank you very much, thank you for having me here, I love doing this. So, hopefully we have a chance to talk again in the future and see if anything has changed or if the predictions were right or wrong or whatever need be. But thank you very much for having us on your podcast.
BH: So, we are almost there. This season has virtually finished, we have one more episode coming out in a couple of weeks’ time which I know you’re going to find super interesting and then after that we’ll be taking a break for a couple of months over the winter, when I will be looking for new guests, looking for people to talk to for next season. It’s going to be a very interesting time I think for marketers with global recessions, changes in interest rates, changes in exchange rates and the ebb and flow of everything that’s happening post-COVID.
It’s a changing world and I am looking forward very much to speak to you next season. But one more to go, let’s not waste your time away, have a great week, bye!