Connatix’s Jenn Chen on the Cookieless Future: “Start testing solutions now”

Connatix President and CRO, Jenn Chen, joins us for a discussion around the cookieless future, how both advertisers and publishers are preparing, and how both can create stable revenue streams.

As cookie deprecation on Chrome inches closer, are there many advertisers and publishers who are still failing to get a suitable future-proof strategy in place? 

With yet another delay in third-party cookie deprecation this year, some of the industry believes we can afford to delay preparation, however, at Connatix we believe in preparing for the cookieleess future now. It’s vital that both publishers and advertisers maintain momentum in preparation — it is a moment in time where we have both cookied and non-cookied (contextual, predictive, cohort, etc) solutions to test and learn from. We still have attribution based on cookies that can be a benchmark for non-cookied targeting. 

Through Connatix’s Data Intelligence Suite, launched this week, advertisers can leverage a collection of innovative targeting solutions tailored to their goals, enabling them to diversify their strategies and test and compare solutions to determine what works best for their business in advance of the cookieless future. Advertisers and publishers should start testing solutions now, while it’s easy to see the impact through A/B testing using existing measurement methodologies and partnerships.

How do the positions of advertisers and publishers compare when it comes to the cookieless future? 

According to a recent report by WARC, only half (51%) of marketers are prepared for the depreciation of third-party cookies. Some advertisers are skeptical of Google’s deadlines, and it's hard for them to wrap their heads around investing and preparing for something that seems far off in the distance. However, the entire industry is starting to face the reality that cookie deprecation is inevitable regardless of the timeline, and because of that more advertisers are starting to test solutions to future-proof their strategies. 

For publishers, between the alphabet soup of alternative IDs, addressability concerns and data solutions, it’s no surprise that they are proactively bulking up on their approaches to data in light of cookie deprecation. However, scale and privacy are what they should be working towards, so it’s important to build a data culture that sets them up for success. Bringing in multiple opted-in data sources and allowing them to work together with a mix of deterministic and probabilistic data, and storing that data together, can maximise audience match rates while prioritising user privacy. 

Once the cookie has crumbled, what are the best options for publishers to ensure a sustainable revenue stream? 

Preparing for the end of third-party cookies is an opportunity to set the tone for a privacy-centric future and a data ecosystem built on collaboration, trust, and a test-and-learn mentality, and there are a few ways that publishers can prepare. Prioritising first-party data has been a huge focus for publishers and it can be their superpower, but only if it’s accurate and, ideally, scalable.The cleaner a publisher’s first-party data – and the more authenticated it is through partnerships and industry collaborations – the more opportunities there are for buyer education. At Connatix we are working directly with both publishers and identity providers to enrich bid requests with alternative identifiers that can be matched on the buy-side for targeting, frequency capping and measurement. These durable identifiers will be vital to future-proof strategies and revenue streams. 

How does the fragmentation of the landscape come into play? 

The entire digital advertising ecosystem is in a state of disruption and uncertainty, brought about by third-party cookie deprecation, evolving and inconsistent measurement standards, the shift to streaming, and an overload of digital identities. Everyone is claiming to have the silver bullet solution. But there might not be a magic silver bullet that works for all; what works for some, won't always work for others. It’s easy to feel divided as we are all trying to navigate the best path forward, but to avoid fragmentation the industry needs to work together to leverage alternative IDs and other more privacy-focused solutions like contextual alongside new signals (e.g., audience, performance). Publishers and advertisers need to navigate these transitions and build a strong, privacy-friendly data culture.

How could further privacy regulations change the future advertising ecosystem? 

Our industry is constantly evolving, and one of the aspects I deeply value about our ecosystem is our commitment to consumer privacy. Although I can't predict the future, I hope we continue to prioritise user privacy because consumers drive our industry. As privacy regulations evolve, Connatix is dedicated to helping advertisers and publishers future-proof their strategies in privacy-safe ways. We are committed to respecting user wishes and only leveraging user-level data when we have consent to do so, and making use of Connatix's proprietary contextual signals in a smart way.

The beauty of Connatix’s Data Intelligence Suite is that it’s not merely a solution for the cookieless world, it is an equally powerful complement to any kind of ID-based approach or data source. It is a complete, future-proofed suite of tools that integrates seamlessly with the data sets and measurement tools marketers are already using to grow reach and scale, uncover new insights and keep audiences fresh and immune to privacy regulations, and I’m excited to see how our industry continues to future-proof amidst the ever-changing privacy landscape.