Despite the uncertainty surrounding the future of the third-party cookie and, with it, advertisers’ ability to track and target their campaigns, there is some optimism that what comes next can be better. The disappearance of the third-party-cookie can be seen as an opportunity for media companies to leverage their own first-party data into building more robust digital advertising, subscription and e-commerce businesses.
- International media association FIPP has published a new report aimed at helping publishers cultivate successful first-party data strategies in the post-cookie era. Launching its First-Party Playbook for Publishers, FIPP CEO James Hewes said:
While it is true that we will soon be leaving behind the cookie-based infrastructure that has dominated the digital landscape for decades, the shift back towards more contextually targeted environments puts publishers, by their very nature, in prime position to benefit.
- The 60-page report outlines the opportunities seen in replacing a reliance on the unknown user data inherent in third-party cookie solutions with a shift to publisher controlled known customer data. It also, however, highlights the need for investment in technology, and a reorganisation of organisational structures and workflows.
- The report’s author said access to more first-party data will enable the development of new content, ad campaigns, subscription and e-commerce offerings. She believes the shift away from third-party data is a chance for media companies to leverage their content assets and their relationships with customers.
- In one of the report’s case studies, Tiffany Johnson, VP of innovation and data at Dotdash Meredith, describes how the company is gearing up its contextual advertising proposition, placing relevant advertising alongside similarly themed content.
We are pursuing contextual advertising, where we can reach people and provide the kind of advertising within the content, without having to track people in a creepy way.
The report outlines several strategic approaches to building a first-party data capability. One, outlined by the Belgian-based publisher Roularta Media Group, rests on four key pillars.
- Strong brands at the centre, but with a focus on audiences.
- Customer relationships built on the value created by content.
- Engagement as the primary KPI.
- Data driven personalisation and automated customer journeys.
Building on a single sign-on log-in introduced by the group in 2009, Roularta recently implemented a new customer data platform (CDP) that highlights new content opportunities for journalists from automated engagement insights. It also enables the automation of intelligent paywalls based on reader behaviours and creates high quality advertising target groups.
Peter Thiers, Strategic Media Advisor for Roularta said:
The strategy is not about first-party data. It’s about engagement with your users. First-party data is just part of it. It’s not the goal, it’s part of reaching the goal.
While highlighting the opportunities in developing robust first-party data capabilities, FIPP’s First-Party Playbook for Publishers doesn’t shy away from discussing the challenges of building out the infrastructure required.
It notes that media companies with subscription and registration elements to their business tend to be further on in their first-party data journey, but for many, less than 3% of the users in their databases are known.
One of the first pieces of advice in the playbook is to invest in a CDP to accelerate the collection of first-party data through registrations and subscriptions, and further data for use in advertising campaigns.
However, implementing an effective CDP may in itself be a challenge. A recent report from martech provider Zeta Global and Forrester Consulting said that, despite 66% of marketers classifying CDPs as a “strategic priority” the technology is seen to fall short.