Recently, we hosted the “The Cookie Conundrum: What happens to advertising in a world without third-party cookies?” webinar. We covered major trends and their impact, the spectrum of solutions being proposed, and Quantcast’s unique approach and technology to prepare for a world without third-party cookies. With almost 1400 registered attendees, the webinar ended with a rich discussion with many thought-provoking comments and questions. We captured the top questions and will drill down further into the answers here.

Watch the webinar replay here. 

Quantcast Platform Questions

How will Unified ID 2.0 work? Can UID 2.0 tell if an email or phone is a bot? Will the Quantcast Platform support UID 2.0?

Unified ID 2.0 is an open-source solution for the open internet (the first iteration of UID 2.0 was spearheaded by The Trade Desk). Instead of cookies, UID 2.0 uses consumers’ anonymized email addresses that are gathered from consumers who have opted-in, following the guidelines outlined by the IAB’s Project Rearc –although those are still being finalized. 

While UID 2.0 will have mechanisms built into it to minimize fraud and mitigate the risk of bot-created IDs, any technology company using UID 2.0 will need to build additional mechanisms to filter out fraudulent IDs. The Quantcast Platform has been built to interoperate with multiple external ID signals and that includes UID 2.0. We also have robust anti-fraud mechanisms built into our platform, which will be deployed against fraudulent IDs. 

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 part 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 contextual signals as one of many signals that we look at. For example, two online events linked to similar content consumption are statistically more likely to be from the same browser. Of course, this alone cannot help us conclude that it is the same browser, which is why contextual signals need to be combined with other signals like first-party, geolocation, device, time, cohorts, independent IDs, etc., to enable addressable advertising. 

How will the Quantcast Platform support ingestion of consent signals from other CMPs?

All consent management platforms (CMPs), including Quantcast Choice, generate a consent string when the user makes their consent choices in the CMP screen, called the TCF (Transparent and Consent Framework) String. We see TCF strings in the bidstream, attached to bid requests, from other CMPs, just like others see the Choice TCF signal from us. We will continue to recognize and use those signals moving forward. 

How does the third-party cookieless conversion report in the Quantcast Platform work? What is the early testing result?

Safari’s privacy feature, Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), already blocks third-party cookies and thus gives us the perfect place to start testing our approach without third-party cookies. 

We are focusing first on measurement efforts–because what you can’t measure, you can’t optimize–and have developed the first iteration of a third-party cookieless conversion report for the Quantcast Platform. We look at a multitude of available signals: contextual, consent, first-party, geolocation, time, language, etc., and combine them statistically to identify which of the marketer’s site conversions were likely on the same browser as the site where ads were shown. So far, we have seen positive results with our alpha capabilities. You can get in touch with us here to learn more about our alpha capabilities.

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. 

In what capacity is Quantcast participating and contributing to the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) meetings?

Quantcast has engineering, product, and legal representatives attending and actively engaging in W3C’s weekly FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) meetings. We actively monitor the progress and testing of FLoC solutions so that we may utilize and recognize this technology in the future. 

General Questions

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

The industry will see some impact on capabilities and performance. We also expect to see some discrepancy when it comes to measurement. But that already exists today: across the industry, there already is a lack of 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.

Should the industry shift focus towards contextual versus individual targeting for better ads and relevancy?

From a premium publisher perspective, contextual targeting has always been an important part of their offering–and it still will be an important part of their offering and of a holistic media approach, moving forward. The challenge across the industry, especially from the marketer side, is that marketers don’t want to rely solely on contextual targeting because that is not what drives the best performance. Because of the high-performance expectations from the demand side, a media plan might include contextual as part of it, but it wouldn’t comprise the entire plan.

How will the industry target 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. 

For a publisher, is it enough to use just one solution like LiveRamp or do we need to use multiple solutions?

We recommend that publishers test many IDs in this early stage. There is still a lot to learn on both the publisher and marketer sides, so being actively involved across the industry will set publishers up for success.

Don’t just take it from us: “But publishers can’t just lean on a single identity solution or universal ID—each one’s unique approach (and various ecosystem connections) offers different advantages. For sure, publishers need to ensure they have both straight deterministic IDs as well as hybrid models employing machine learning in their portfolio to maxim[ize] reach and coverage” – AdMonsters, November 2020

For marketers and advertisers at brands and agencies, what are our best first steps to get ready for the end of third-party cookies?

We recommend you consider the following five things:

  1. Try out several solutions. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. We suggest you start testing a few solutions. 
  2. Focus on first-party data. For agencies, work with your clients and educate them about first-party data.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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?). 
  5. 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. 

A Wrap-Up

Quantcast recently published an Industry Perspective on our approach to a world without third-party cookies, which is grounded in industry standards, interoperability, and innovation. You can read it here.

Quantcast is sponsoring an industry summit “The Cookie Conundrum: A Recipe for Success” on this topic on May 19. Join the 1 hour CUBE-produced event to hear industry experts’ thoughts on this cookie conundrum and how they are preparing for the future. 

We continue to innovate, transform, and bring our expertise to the market, and the third-party cookieless conversion reporting is just the beginning. Please get in touch with us to get a demo of this capability in the Quantcast Platform.