Publishers should be proactive in their approach to the post-cookie era: Identity Talks with Freestar

  • Posted by Alex Taylor
  • On Mar 16, 2023

In this issue of Identity Talks, we sit down with with Freestar’s Chief Technology Officer, Premesh Purayil to chat about why publishers should be proactive in their approach to the post-cookie era and more.

What is the series all about? The Identity Talks series invites publisher, advertiser, and platform partners to share their insights on the big questions and hot topics circulating the digital media industry today. Tune in each month for new editions featuring thought leaders and experts from across the space.

Q: Tell us about yourself and Freestar?

A: My name is Premesh Purayil, and I am the Chief Technology Officer at Freestar, a company that provides monetization services for publishers. I have over a decade of experience in the adtech industry, during which I have focused on publisher monetization through display and video, and have built proprietary header bidding solutions to utilize demand across all SSPs. I am also an active influencer and contributor to the ad-ops community, helping other publishers regain control over their inventory and better expose it through their various marketplaces.

Q: Our Mathieu Roche was featured on your podcast series back in January, and host Kurt Donnell mentioned the ‘excitement around 2023 and where our market is going’. With this in mind, what is the biggest opportunity publishers should take hold of this year?

A: The biggest opportunity for publishers in 2023 may lie in embracing new ways of targeting and engaging with their audiences. As third-party cookies continue to be phased out, publishers will need to rely more on first-party data and contextual targeting to deliver relevant ads and content to their readers. This may require new investments in data collection and analysis tools, as well as a shift in focus towards building direct relationships with readers.

Q: During the same episode, Donnell touches on the fact that Freestar is currently working with 12-15 identity solutions, but it can sometimes be a challenge to verify the value of each ID. How do you see this testing phase developing? What guidance do companies need to navigate all the available solutions?

A: The testing phase for identity solutions is likely to be an ongoing process as new solutions emerge and existing ones are refined. Identity solutions come in different flavors ranging from direct impact on revenue in the open market to enabling impact via a private marketplace through deal creations and segments.

Companies may need to work closely with their partners and vendors to stay on top of the latest developments and ensure they are using the most effective identity solutions for their needs. It may also be helpful to engage with industry groups and associations to share best practices and stay informed about emerging trends.

Something I would suggest doing when testing a vendor that is expected to increase revenue (by way of increasing bid density and CPMs ) is making AB testing on your supply a standard practice. From there, you can evaluate the impact on your supply (if at all) and where it is providing the most benefit (simple key values into GAM, for example, can give you a wealth of information).

Q: In our 2023 predictions blog post, you offered some tips on what publishers can do to ensure they continue reaching and engaging their audiences effectively under the deprecation of third-party cookies. What sort of blockers stand in the way of publishers thriving amongst these changes and how can they combat them?

A: There are several blockers that stand in the way of publishers thriving in the post-cookie era:

  1. Lack of data: Without third-party cookies, publishers may have limited access to data about their audiences. This can make it more difficult to deliver personalized experiences and target advertising effectively. Publishers can combat this by investing in first-party data solutions and building direct relationships with their audiences.
  2. Privacy concerns: As consumers become more aware of privacy issues, they may be less willing to share their data with publishers. Publishers can combat this by being transparent about their data collection practices and offering users clear choices about how their data is used.
  3. Fragmentation: With the rise of multiple identity solutions, publishers may find it challenging to manage and verify the value of each solution. Publishers can combat this by staying up-to-date on the latest developments in identity solutions and working closely with their partners and vendors to ensure they are using the most effective solutions for their needs.
  4. Ad fraud: With the demise of third-party cookies, ad fraud could become more prevalent. Publishers can combat this by investing in fraud detection and prevention technologies and working with trusted partners and vendors.

To combat these blockers, publishers should be proactive in their approach to the post-cookie era. This may involve investing in new technologies, building direct relationships with their audiences, and exploring alternative sources of revenue. By doing so, publishers can thrive in a world without third-party cookies.

Q: What is an unexplored approach or tool that publishers should implement into their identity strategies?

A: One unexplored approach that publishers could consider implementing into their identity strategies is using decentralized identity solutions based on blockchain technology.

  • Decentralized identity solutions aim to provide a more secure and transparent way to manage user identities compared to traditional centralized identity solutions. With a decentralized approach, user data is stored in a distributed network of nodes, rather than in a single centralized database. This can help to improve data privacy and reduce the risk of data breaches.
  • Blockchain technology can also provide additional benefits such as immutability, which means that once data is added to the blockchain, it cannot be altered or deleted. This can help to increase trust and transparency in identity verification processes.
  • Implementing decentralized identity solutions may require some upfront investment in new technologies and processes. However, it could help publishers to build more secure and transparent identity systems that are better aligned with the needs and values of users in the post-cookie era.
  • It’s worth noting that the adoption of decentralized identity solutions is still in the early stages, and there are several challenges and considerations to be aware of, such as regulatory compliance and interoperability. Nonetheless, exploring decentralized identity solutions could be an innovative and promising approach for publishers to consider as they navigate the post-cookie era.
Q: What is your favourite piece of identity-focused journalism that has been published during the last month that you think could help our readers?

A: ‘Cookies Are Behind Us. Probabilistic Data Is Ahead’ by Audigent’s CEO & Founder, Drew Stein via AdExchanger. AdExchanger is a leading source of news and analysis for the advertising industry, with a particular focus on the intersection of advertising and technology. Their identity section covers the latest news and trends related to identity and privacy in advertising.