Ad-Tech Experts Call for Third-Party Verification After the Death of the Cookie

Ad-Tech Experts Call for Third-Party Verification After the Death of the Cookie

Google’s proposals for machine learning-based frequency capping questioned

17 October 2019

The “death of the third-party cookie” is a popular narrative shaping contemporary ad tech, with public inquisition into the extent of online targeting—and tracking—of consumers causing controversy.

Like it or not, the use of cookies, pieces of software that direct the flow of online ad spend by tracking audiences, is at the core of the $130 billion-per-year digital advertising economy, not to mention its entire value proposition.

However, legislation such as the California Consumer Privacy Act and General Data Protection Regulation are indicative of public distaste for the extent of online audience monitoring, and the largest consumer-facing brands are taking note.

This has prompted a somewhat voluntary rollback. The biggest names in digital media are exchanging public enthusiasm for ubiquitous connectivity for a more cautious tone. Google’s overt communications, for instance, are now more mindful of “transparency, choice and control” compared with the “don’t be evil” mantra of its earlier days.

 

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However, not everyone is as enthusiastic. Many recall Google’s history of implementing commercial arrangements that play out in its own favor while other industry stakeholders are simply collateral.

Michael Nevins, CMO of Smart AdServer, told Adweek that managing frequency while respecting privacy is a laudable goal, but the move is primarily about serving Google’s interests, as it will only provide value to advertisers in the Google universe.

“If Google doesn’t make this data available in their publisher stack, it means that they will [again] have asymmetrical advantage in competing with their own publisher clients due to Google’s massive amount of logged-in users,” Nevins said. “For independent publishers, the battle will be fought by leveraging deeper contextual signals, advertisers’ data, their own logged-in audience plus federated data from their alliances with other publishers.”

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