Advertisers, Publishers Are Done Dunking Cookies

"Happenstance." That's how Quantcast CTO Peter Day described the UK Competition and Markets Authority's dominance over Google's roadmap to deprecate browser cookies. 

Looking up the word, happenstance, to define it correctly, is "a chance situation," the description read.

"I'm not sure they entirely regulate Google," he said. "Regulating Google is difficult. Many countries around the world and government bodies are trying to do that. This seemed to have fallen into the U.K.'s hands. And everyone said, 'yea, we trust the UK to do it.'"

Day said Google tried to use the CMA as a shield when advertisers and platforms came calling for answers, and everything just fell into place.

When asked whether the industry still talks about Google's browser cookie phaseout, Day said "sometimes, but the tone from advertisers and publishers has changed from fear and panic to opportunity."



Quantcast, which specializes in real-time advertising and audience measurement, goes by the mantra that alternative data is costly and may raise privacy concerns with evolving data protection regulations.

Look at the incentives, he says, as people look for simple solutions like a drop-in replacement for a measurement or a data problem it doesn't work.

"It becomes costly putting all your eggs in one basket," Day says. "You compete with everyone else for the same dollars." 

Day says the advertising industry has been gifted with a new way of reasoning through AI data models. All the work in AI and large language models now enabled the industry to organize targeting models that were not possible a year ago. He adds that most technological advances have peripheral benefits.

For AI, the benefits are data modeling for ad targeting and other advanced behavioral frameworks. 

The underlying technology of collecting, organizing, and filing to make predictions from text data is huge, he says. It allows Quantcast to get computation with understanding of the meaning and topics on a web page. It allows companies to completely reframe entire strategies for brand safety.

Others are also done with cookies, too, as more advanced technology becomes available for use. Kelly Barrett, senior vice president of product management at Comscore, says "we’re all ‘over’ talking about cookies and the impacts of deprecation."

Barrett says Comscore focuses on modern media measurement and optimization and already takes signal loss and fragmentation into account, side by side with consumer privacy and regulatory requirements.

"It is time to move forward and focus on bettering the full ecosystem supply chain and creating new solutions for advertisers," Barrett says.

Lance Wolder, head of strategy and marketing at PadSquad, says it's a "soggy" cookie at this point. Much of the cookie deprecation has already occurred. Ad tech firms like Liveramp, TTD and Magnite have planted their flag in the ground with identity-free solutions.

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