Use of First-Party IDs Overtakes Cookies for the First Time


With publishers now providing the necessary scale for first-party IDs to replace third-party cookies, Adform have launched the FIRST-PARTY NOW programme to help advertisers become less reliant on cookies. In several markets, including the UK, Germany, Norway and Denmark, advertisers have not only gathered important insights around the use of first-party IDs, but seen improved results in cookieless environments such as on Safari.

Advertisers and publishers continue to work towards the industry’s cookie-free future, despite Google Chrome’s decision to delay the elimination of third-party cookies. That's according to recent figures from Adform, the only independent global advertising management platform for the entire digital campaign lifecycle. In Denmark, a test market for many global advertisers and agencies, an important milestone was reached in June and July this year, when for the first time media spending on first-party ID-based impressions overtook third-party cookie-based impressions.

Participants in the programme include Vodafone UK, Vodafone Germany, American Express Nordics, Coop, Telenor Nordics and Mercedes Norway. These test runs are helping marketing managers, who are under increasing pressure, to prepare their teams and future-proof the value chain.

One of the programme’s primary drivers is Adform’s co-founder, Jakob Bak. He explains, “the truth is that many global brands are not doing enough – or in some cases, anything – to prepare for life without third-party cookies. Publishers have proved to be ready, now we need to get the brands on board too – which is why it’s so important to launch these pioneering trials. We’re pleased to have world-leading publishers and brand partners taking part.”

Recent data from Adform showed that adoption of first-party IDs is growing in key European markets, with the majority of publishers already sharing IDs in the bidstream. With cookieless campaigns now running in FIRST-PARTY NOW, Adform has shown that a future without third-party cookies is possible and continues to urge the buyside to drive adoption of first-party IDs. Already, in many markets, cookie-free browsers account for nearly 50 percent of traffic. It’s therefore clear that the switch will have a significant impact on publisher revenue and campaign performance in any case.

Bak continues, “the goal of the programme is to provide brands, agencies, and publishers with important knowledge on how they should change their media-buying, planning, execution and underlying KPIs to work in a first-party environment. The previous 2022 Chrome deadline triggered the transition to first-party IDs and increased the availability of first-party data, but the focus has now shifted back to winning on Safari and Mozilla, as well as other cookieless environments like In-App, CTV and Audio. Fortunately, the required technology and adoption of this by publishers has progressed far enough for large scale campaign executions.”

Richard Kanolik, programmatic lead at Vodafone UK, comments, “it’s fundamental that, as a brand, we accumulate insights about what specific impact the loss of third-party cookies will have on our advertising ecosystem. Thanks to Adform’s data – which has highlighted that publishers are primed for the post-cookie world – Vodafone is excited to be one of the brands participating in FIRST-PARTY NOW to kickstart our readiness for 2023, and demonstrate to the industry that we can still achieve great results, by using first-party IDs.”

Emma Narving Vendala, marketing manager Nordics at AMEX, said, “with the imminent cookie-less future, we at Amex Nordics are excited to be part of the First-Party NOW programme as a first step in the right direction to stay ahead in our performance tracking post the change. We’re looking forward to learn more about how we’ll navigate the future advertising ecosystem.”

Danny Hopwood, Global SVP, head of global paid media at Omnicom Media Group, comments, “FIRST-PARTY NOW fits well into how we are approaching the cookie challenge, so we are participating on a couple of key accounts and markets. We selected those based on which (markets) are the furthest ahead in terms of adoption and capabilities and look forward to gathering crucial results and insights into the trial campaigns.”


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