Ad buyers are still maintaining a permissive stance to explore alternative audience targeting strategies, despite cookie deprecation’s potential to completely disrupt the digital advertising industry next year.

Ad buyers’ efforts to test alternative IDs lacked impetus in 2023 and late 2022, six ad-tech and publisher sources told Adweek.

A publisher ad-tech source who was not authorized to speak to the press stated, “From the sell side perspective, nobody seems to actually be buying on these unique user IDs.” “Setting this up is a topic of much discussion. It doesn’t appear like the buy-side is investing in it.

Provider-side platform According to Garrett McGrath, svp of product management at Magnite, there haven’t been as many requests from buyers to put up private marketplace deals utilizing alternate IDs in recent months as there were in 2022 and 2021.

Third-party cookies are still used because Chrome is the most used browser for online transactions, according to McGrath.

platform for demand Prior to Black Friday in 2022, RTB House was running a few significant advertisements using other IDs; these campaigns were suspended and never resumed. Mateusz Ruminski, the go-to-market lead for the private advertising ecosystem at RTB House, which still runs smaller ads with alternate IDs, claimed that economic difficulties were mostly to blame.

In these trying times, Ruminski observed, “we see that advertisers are more willing to rely on trusted and well-known technologies.”

The agency is more interested in future-proofing
The buy-side’s reduced focus on testing alternative IDs has been attributed to a number of factors, including economic uncertainty, Google’s announcement in July 2022 delaying the cookie deprecation deadline by a year, difficulties isolating alternative IDs results, and the continued existence of cookies swirling in the bidstream.

Testing on the Google Privacy Sandbox model Fledge, a different procedure from cookies but not a different identity, has likewise lagged.

Although they acknowledged that there is still insufficient evidence to know the identity landscape of the future, some sources refuted the idea that testing has slowed down recently.

According to Kanishk Prasad, director of product management at The Trade Desk, the team working on UID2, the DSP’s cookie substitute, is busier than ever because a significant portion of the company’s advertisers use it.

According to Travis Clinger, LiveRamp’s svp of activations and addressability, 70% of companies using the data platform LiveRamp buy via RampID or direct publisher connections, with no dependency on third-party cookies.

Advertisers want to be sure their ad-tech partners are ready for cookie deprecation, even though they don’t regularly test alternative IDs themselves. According to OpenX svp of product Mike Chowla, two-thirds of the requests for information (RFIs) received by SSP OpenX from agencies in North America ask about cookie deprecation and future-proofing, compared to less than half the RFIs the year before.

Although agencies have previously inquired about OpenX’s plans for cookie deprecation, Chowla noted that this year’s inquiries are more specific than those from earlier years.

For instance, agencies want to know how the company handles Fledge-like proposals and brand-specific signal deprecation assessments. Additionally, agencies are increasingly enquiring about the identifiers and signals their platform supports as well as the effectiveness of these alternative identifiers in terms of CPMs, CPAs, reach, and measurement. said Chowla.

Measurement difficulties for alternative IDs
Although measurement is difficult, the industry is trying to understand the effectiveness of various alternative identifiers.

provided the small size of these solutions, it is difficult to tell whether the inclusion of an alternative identifier influenced the buyer’s decision because publishers frequently aren’t provided visibility into the reasons DSPs chose to bid on their inventory.

According to Mike O’Sullivan, co-founder of currency exchange platform Sincera, “I don’t think there is enough spend that [impacts] are going to stand up and be really obvious unless you have a rigorous methodology to see it.” Although there is use, I also agree that it isn’t enough to clearly demonstrate the advantages it is generating.

The labyrinthine ad-tech supply chain makes it more difficult to isolate repercussions on the sell side, according to Prasad of The Trade Desk.

He noted that publishers have trouble understanding how this works because of the level of inefficiency in the supply channel from a publisher to a buyer.

However, Prasad pointed out that during the attribution process, buyers could fairly easily distinguish between the effects of an alternative ID and the impact of cookies.

Nevertheless, according to several sources, buyers who test alternative IDs in the open exchange on Chrome never disable cookies to observe the alternative identifier’s isolated impact on the bidstream. This makes it challenging to fully comprehend what a cookieless future would entail.

“If you have just an identifier in the wild and you want to know, in the absence of the third-party cookie, how well this performs as an alternative identifier, you need a DSP to read that ID and use it to make a bidding decision,” said McGrath.

In general, only Firefox and Safari allow you to accomplish that, he continued. There is also a third-party cookie in the request if you’re testing audiences using Chrome. You can only learn what the DSP’s algorithm does to determine the winning bidder from the DSP.


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