How Should Publishers and Advertisers Act in a Post-Cookies World?


06 March 2024

As Google refuses third-party cookies, advertisers and publishers must rethink how they target audiences. With about 1% of cookies going away in the first half of 2024, the ad industry faces a significant change. Third-party cookies have been key for tracking users across websites to target ads. But without them, targeting becomes less precise. Now, publishers and advertisers are exploring options like collecting their own user data, targeting based on web page content, and using new tech to protect privacy. In short, the cookie phase-out means advertisers must find new ways to target ads that respect user privacy while still being effective.

Direct Partnerships & Contextual Advertising

The consensus among publishers and advertisers is clear: once the third-party cookie disappears, direct advertiser-to-publisher partnerships will become crucial, with about 80% emphasizing their importance. Publishers, however, emphasize the necessity of robust first-party data sharing among partners. Direct relationships facilitate this exchange seamlessly. Moreover, contextual solutions are emerging as a priority for buyers and sellers, driven by the need for privacy-centric approaches to enhance scale and performance. Research indicates that ads resonate more effectively with consumers when they align with contextual relevance, improving the overall user experience.

96% of publishers highlighted the significance of contextual advertising for their businesses. On the buy side, advertisers share this sentiment, with approximately 93% incorporating contextual advertising into some or most of their purchases this year. Both publishers and advertisers recognize the potential of contextual strategies for replacing cookie-dependent solutions, signaling a fundamental shift in advertising paradigms.

The Role of Authenticated IDs

The emergence of Authenticated IDs marks a significant shift towards a privacy-first approach, giving consumers the power to consent using login credentials, email addresses, or phone numbers. Prominent examples include Unified ID 2.0 by The Trade Desk and LiveRamp’s RampID. These IDs, linked to individual logins, facilitate cross-device marketing while upholding the advantages of people-based marketing, including person-level frequency capping and cross-device measurement. 

Additionally, cleanroom solutions are gaining traction, providing secure avenues for data sharing within this evolving paradigm. Authenticated IDs offer consumers and businesses a pathway toward enhanced data transparency as the landscape evolves. For publishers, these methods deepen audience connections, and for advertisers, they improve targeting and measurement. Authenticated IDs reshape the publisher-advertiser dynamic for a more privacy-conscious ecosystem.

First-Party Data Strategies

Around 60% of advertisers are confident in their first-party data capabilities, with nearly half acknowledging them as the most promising cookie-independent solution. In contrast, publishers are actively improving their first-party data capabilities, with 73% investing in strategies to make their data sets more attractive to potential buyers. Email marketing stands out as the primary tool for expanding these sets.

Transparency is crucial, and publishers recognize the need to refine their first-party data activations. While 35% fewer publishers rated their first-party data activations as “very good” this year, there is still room for improvement. Both parties stress the ongoing importance of third-party metrics in digital advertising transactions, highlighting the value of combining first-party data with context, brand suitability, viewability, and attention metrics to enhance publishers’ market positioning.

Pioneering the Future of Addressability

The future of addressability rests on the digital industry’s ability to embrace adaptability and flexibility. As we transition into the post-cookie era, the familiar simplicity of third-party cookie-based programmatic buying will fade away. To navigate this landscape effectively, businesses must adopt a new approach to solutions that align with their specific objectives, channel priorities, and regional privacy policies.

Success in this dynamic post-cookie era requires proactive testing and implementing innovative solutions. Early adopters stand at the forefront, shaping a digital advertising ecosystem where marketers can engage their specific audiences effectively, publishers can monetize content, and consumers can maintain control over their privacy.

Turning to Attention Metrics

In the upcoming year, attention metrics will take center stage for publishers and advertisers, emerging as a valuable currency in advertising. With the impending disappearance of third-party cookies, attention metrics are poised to become a primary focus for measurement. Publishers are already aligning with industry sentiment, with 94% considering attention moderately or very important to their business this year. Confidence in attention-based capabilities is evident among publishers, with 77% expressing satisfaction with their offerings.

On the advertiser front, 96% intend to incorporate attention-based metrics into most or some of their ad purchases. While only 28% of advertisers rated publisher attention-based offerings as “very good,” overall satisfaction with the marketplace offerings seems apparent. Recognizing the capacity of these metrics to quantify ad performance in a privacy-friendly manner accurately, publishers and advertisers must prioritize attention metrics as a crucial measurement and optimization tool moving forward.


In the wake of third-party cookie disappearance, publishers and advertisers must reconstruct strategies to reach audiences effectively. Direct partnerships and contextual advertising emerge as pivotal strategies, with Authenticated IDs providing a privacy-first approach. Attention metrics gain prominence for measuring ad performance accurately. Proactive testing and innovation are crucial for success in the advertising field, where early adopters stand to shape a new digital ecosystem without cookies.


Stay up to date with our company news