Announced at the end of June 2021, Google’s delay of deprecating 3rd party cookies was met with a huge sigh of relief by publishers and buyers alike.  The gift of time is priceless – publishers should use the time to take control of their identity and consumer engagement strategies.  Refining first party data strategies whilst continuing to use quality & compliant 3rd party data and leveraging contextual, modelled, and universal ID approaches will allow us to future proof against whatever we’re faced with come 2023 and beyond.

1. Develop and understand your audience

Today, buyers have developed better insights on the quality and value of a publisher’s audience than most publishers themselves. Buyers can use that insight to target and optimize their campaigns to acquire valuable segments at the lowest possible price across all available markets – direct, programmatic and intermediary exchanges.  This became especially necessary for buyers when auctions moved from 2nd price to 1st price, forcing buyers to honor their bid, and thus restricting high bid tactics to acquire inventory with an expectation for the bid to be lowered to the far lower 2nd price. 

That relationship, with the possible obfuscation of the 3rd party cookie, will be severed, and will force buyers into either walled garden environments or directly to publishers.  Thus there’s an opportunity for publishers to better understand their 1st party audiences, enrich their audience assets, and drive more value. At Carbon we combine 1st party audience, context and real-time revenue signals to create what we refer to as your ‘revenue DNA’.

Carbon unlocks the complex relationship between audience, context and revenue. We call that your Revenue DNA. By unlocking your revenue DNA, we produce actionable insights other platforms can’t.

Key takeaways

  • Develop and understand your audience; not just at the segment level, but deep insights on demographics, associated revenue, intent, brand, and contextual signals to build rich audience profiles.
  • Make audience part of your overall strategy: acquisition, editorial prioritization, subscriptions, registrations, commercial, and revenue/monetization strategy (direct & programmatic).

2. Build relationships

The digital ecosystem has always been built on relationships – between the publishers producing great content, consumers consuming that great content, and brands wanting to serve ads next to that great content.  To maintain this value exchange we all need to speak the same language – from a robust taxonomy for audience targeting to communicating the value exchange to consumers clearly to drive trust and consent.

The continued focus on privacy places more emphasis on building trust, which will increase the demand for publishers’ consented 1st party data – where data, privacy and revenue can be protected.

The challenge will be how to scale 1st party audiences across the web in a privacy-safe way, which is again where a common language comes into play.  The IAB continues to play a pivotal role in creating this common language through the development of standardised audience and content taxonomies.  However, the quality of signals (such as viewability) are key to extracting maximum value, and these quality signals are only available through direct relationships at the publisher level.

Carbon maps signals into a taxonomy built on top of IAB standards – that includes our own unique brand and keyword categories – so publishers can showcase the right audiences to buyers.  Scoring our data signals adds an additional level of accuracy & insight publishers can leverage to strengthen their audience offering.

Key takeaways

  • Establish direct relationships with buyers and understand their audience needs – align to their goals and open channels of communication.
  • Consider your total inventory, across all domains, and implement a unified CMP to protect privacy and build trust with strong messaging.
  • Consider all 1st party data – audience, context and revenue – and don’t silo it.  Bringing all this data together can unearth highly valuable insights for improved activation and audience modelling to find new cohorts.

3. Stay flexible and adapt

Building platform relationships is key too – partnering with like-minded companies that remain flexible, open and supportive, seeking opportunity rather than to promote a “cookiepocalypse” or “data storm” narrative.  Publishers and their platform partners need to remain adaptable to meet the needs of their advertisers and consumer demands too, so leveraging a multi-faceted approach to identity will be key to future proofing.

Using such an approach means leveraging 1st party data, 3rd party data, and universal identifiers; as well as modelled and contextual solutions that will provide further scale.  For instance; the stay of execution for 3rd party cookies provides an opportunity to keep using quality, brand safe third party data that can be re-invested in future proofing identity.  Carbon recognises that the juice of third party data is still worth the squeeze; those that don’t are simply leaving money on the table.

We also need to remember that none of this is happening in a vacuum, so engaging with the industry bodies – such as the W3C and Prebid committees – gives us a chance to contribute & shape the identity conversations.

Key takeaways

  • Select a platform that gives you the flexibility to work with 3rd party data and identity resolution as long as it’s supported by privacy laws and regulations on a region by region basis.
  • Select a platform that is engaged in the market and advocating for the benefit of the publisher. Many DMPs still make their revenue on the sell-side, and most are not engaged (like Carbon) in industry trade and regulatory groups like W3C, Prebid, IAB, and NAI, etc.
  • Partner with buy-side solutions transacting on audience signals, and independent header solutions that will enable you to pass buy-side signals into the bid-stream.

Why Carbon

Carbon is a revenue management platform (RMP) that enables publishers to gain a more holistic & actionable understanding of their audience; combining behavioral, contextual, and revenue signals that many DMPs keep siloed or don’t offer.  Leveraging this deeper understanding throughout publishers’ audience and monetisation strategy ensures impressions are optimised for campaign delivery whether that’s to drive subscriptions or ad yield – maintaining a great user experience – to ultimately drive better revenue.

Our automated contextual & semantic categorisation combined with a taxonomy built on top of IAB standards – that includes our own unique brand and keyword categories – forms the basis for more lucrative relationships with buyers who are actively pursuing direct relationships with publishers based on the audiences they can offer.  Scoring our data signals adds an additional level of accuracy & insight publishers can leverage to strengthen their audience offering.

Through agnostic interoperability, adoption of key standards, and data science-driven innovation Carbon ensures publishers can work flexibly with 1st party data, 3rd party data and identity solutions, alongside modelled and contextual solutions that will provide further scale now and beyond 2023.


Schedule a chat

Want to discuss your identity, audience and monetisation strategy with one of our experts? Schedule a call using the Calendly link below.