BFFs once more, advertisers and publishers rediscover their alliance amid tracking turmoil

Digiday 14 Sep 2021 04:01
Two figures shaking hands
September 14, 2021 by Seb Joseph

Editor’s Note: This story is part of a 10-part series that examines life after the third-party cookie. Visit this interactive graphic outlining the full series here.

Direct deals between advertisers and publishers are back, but then again they never really went away. They’re just being pitched harder and considered more carefully now as advertisers see publishers as a valuable source of audience data in the absence of third-party cookies. What’s old is new again amid advertising’s reckoning with privacy.

“Marketers are getting organized on preparing for targeting without third-party cookies and the most scalable thing they can test currently are audiences curated by publishers,” said Chris Kane, founder of programmatic consultancy Jounce Media.

So much so that for one European publisher this shift is influencing how it makes money, moving euros away from programmatic auctions and into direct sales.

“Before the pandemic, we were heading towards 70% share of programmatic sales but this year we’re only at 60% where good old-fashioned insertion orders are bringing in more revenue,” said the publisher’s commercial lead on condition of anonymity because they were not cleared to talk to Digiday.

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