The company's announcement of a cookie-less solution called Obsidian, from its CitizenNet marketing platform, is another sign of how the publishing industry is developing new targeting methods for advertisers.
The problem with cookies is that many consumers don't want to be tracked online, with 42% of consumers saying digital advertisers are too aggressive in following them on every device or browser, according to a survey cited by researcher eMarketer. Concerns about privacy have led to stricter regulations on data sharing in several regions, notably the European Union and California, while tech companies like Apple and Google have given people ways to be more anonymous online.
Google this year announced it would phase out support for third-party cookies, which are used to track people's activity among different websites and retarget them with ads. While there is a lot of hand-wringing among advertisers that fret the loss of the technology will lead to wasteful media spending, it can work in the favor of publishers.
As Conde Nast Health noted last week, its technology aims to reach high-intent audiences with contextual targeting, meaning that ads appear near content that's appealing to certain audience segments.
In the absence of third-party cookies, publishers are developing other ways to track audiences while limiting data sharing. Those methods include statistical modeling, based on a sample group of consumers who have agreed to be tracked, requiring readers to log into a website so first-party data can be used for tracking, and using budding technologies like identity platform ID5 and contextual targeting.
It's important that publishers recognize the power they have to engage online audiences and to urge repeat visits to their websites.
The software tools for tracking audiences, while also respecting their privacy, is growing more sophisticated, giving publishers added opportunities to monetize their audiences.