On May 19, Quantcast sponsored an industry summit The Cookie Conundrum: A Recipe for Success, hosted by John Furrier at theCUBE across three different regions–North America, EMEA and APAC. We are truly humbled and overwhelmed by the support and engagement from our attendees. With over a thousand attending, there were many thoughtful questions from the engaged audience. We captured the top questions and will drill down further into the answers here.

Quantcast Platform Questions

Which ID solutions does the Quantcast Platform interoperate with?

The Quantcast Platform is built to interoperate with and ingest a number of external identifier signals. We support and recognize UID 2.0 and LiveRamp, and have active partnerships with Magnite and Pubmatic. As other external identifiers evolve that our customers require, or that will help fuel an addressable open internet, we will work to interoperate where it makes sense. In addition to identifier signals, the platform can also look at first-party, consent, contextual, cohorts (like Google’s FLoC) as well as website signals such as time, language, geolocation and more. 

How does Quantcast’s contextual technology work and why does it help with data-driven advertising in a third-party cookieless world?

Quantcast’s custom-built contextual technology is a component of Ara,™ our AI and machine learning engine. Ara crawls trillions of URLs, gathers and analyzes content using natural language processing, and classifies the URLs into content categories using machine learning to build a high-dimensional topic map of the internet. This topic map allows us to provide high-quality, nuanced contextual signals.

We leverage these topic map signals along with many other signals that Ara analyzes. For example, two online events linked to similar content consumption are statistically more likely to be from the same browser. Of course, this alone does not confirm that the two events share a browser, which is why these topic map signals are combined with other signals such as first-party, geolocation, device, time, cohorts, independent IDs, etc., to enable addressable advertising.

Can you quantify how much of the Quantcast approach depends on each of these signals: contextual, first-party, etc?

It is dynamic and really depends on the environment from which the bid opportunity comes. In general, we do not rely on one signal any more than another signal. We believe more information is better. We use consent signals, contextual signals, first-party signals, cohort-based signals, identifier signals, as well as other signals like geolocation, time, language etc. In isolation, the information in each signal is incomplete but, when used in combination, these signals help build a more complete picture. That is where Ara, our AI and machine learning engine, comes in – it makes sense of all these signals.

What testing is Quantcast doing so far in third-party cookieless environments, and how has it been going?

We have been actively testing our technology in Safari environments. Safari’s privacy feature, Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), already blocks third-party cookies. This third-party cookieless environment is an ideal testing space and a good indicator of what the future will look like.

So far, we have seen positive results with our alpha capabilities. We are focusing first on measurement efforts, and have developed the first iteration of a third-party cookieless conversion report for the Quantcast Platform. Additionally, we have been running internal tests of our buying capabilities and are able to successfully bid on our alpha publishers’ ITP inventory in production. We are buying a small amount of this inventory and will continue to optimize our ability to buy.

You can get in touch with us here to sign up for our early adopter program to learn more about our alpha capabilities.

What insights on the Quantcast Platform will still be available once third-party cookies are deprecated?

We will leverage a multiple-signal and AI and machine learning approach to continue providing insights for our customers. We have started with measurement as the first step by providing reporting on conversions without third-party cookies in ITP environments. We plan to extend this technology to other campaign insights as well as support audience insights later this year.

General Questions

Will Google Chrome allow new IDs to operate? What about Google AdExchange?

Google Chrome, like Apple’s Safari, will deprecate third-party cookies but still support first-party cookies. So any new IDs like UID or other login-based IDs that use first-party cookies will still be able to operate on Chrome. Stopping this would be technically and legally challenging, especially where explicit consent and control is given to end users. 

Google has announced, however, that it will not build alternate identifiers nor support them in its products. This applies to Google’s AdExchange, not to Google Chrome. So per Google’s blog the bid-requests that are routed through its AdExchange will not have any alternate identifiers associated with them. (Google has said it will support first-party data here, but has been less clear about what other things they will or will not support.)

How will the removal of third-party cookies impact performance in general?

The industry may see some impact on capabilities and performance. The industry also may see some discrepancy when it comes to measurement. But that already exists today: the industry already lacks alignment across measurement methodologies and results. With everyone figuring out their approach without third-party cookies, this alignment gap will likely widen for a little while. That is where industry standards and interoperability comes in; we can align as an industry and work together to the same standards to effectively run and measure data-driven advertising of the future.

How will the industry reach audience segments if we have limited authenticated data?

Authenticated data can help with the accuracy of modeling. To achieve scale, we need to combine deterministic authenticated data with statistical methods deployed on a variety of other signals, such as geolocation, device, time, language, cohort IDs, etc. In this statistical combination, even a small amount of authenticated data can go a long way in increasing the overall accuracy of a model. This is also why the industry should be leaning into strong AI and ML technology, like Ara. We need sophisticated technology to help us statistically determine a consumer’s interests and intent without a large amount of authenticated data.

How should publishers and advertisers at brands and agencies start preparing for the change?

We recommend you consider the following four things:

  1. Focus on first-party data. Building a direct relationship with your audience and customers is more important than ever.
  2. Make consumer consent part of your strategy. It may not directly impact you right now, but that is where we are headed in the future and it is important to build that consideration into your strategy right now.
  3. Take a hard look at your ad tech stack. Ask your ad tech partners hard questions such as: what is their plan to ensure continued integration with other components of the stack? Moreover, we recommend that you work with partners that have more integrated offerings, so you don’t have to worry about how all the systems work together (e.g., how will your data source work with your planning or activation tool?).
  4. Look for technology partners with deep expertise in AI and machine learning. In a data-deprecated world without third-party cookies, it will be this technology that can help make sense of existing signals and the new ones that emerge.

We are running a test of our platform for buy/sell sides focused on measuring and targeting Safari and other “third-party cookie-challenged” environments. If you want to join our early adopter program, sign up here.

A Wrap-Up

Quantcast recently published an Industry Perspective where we cover major trends and their impact, the spectrum of solutions being proposed as well as our approach to a world without third-party cookies, which is grounded in industry standards, interoperability, and innovation.

We continue to innovate, transform, and bring our expertise to the market, and have some initial third-party cookieless measurement capabilities in the platform for you to test. Please get in touch with us to get a demo of this capability in the Quantcast Platform.