By Amol Waishampayan, Chief Product Officer

Control your Destiny and Achieve Data Independence: Breaking Down the Demise of Cookies

Note: by the end of this piece, you might be thinking a lot about Dr. Seuss and the whos’ and how’s of who-ville

In terms of the last decade or so of programmatic advertising – life was good. There was one universal, consistent way to figure out who you were going to target and how you were going to find them. It was relatively easy. Everyone in the world used it and there were no nuances. It was straight up.

Cookie-based advertising and targeting was the one way to determine “who” to find and “how” to find them via the cookie ID. Now, this one consistent way has been broken down into multiple problems that need to be individually solved for, along with cookies going away.

are you prepared for the cookieless impact

The Problem

Let’s restate it:

  1. Who do I want to target
  2. How do I reach them?

fullthrottle.aiTM is helping solve and primarily focusing on the first question, which is “who” to target. We do this by transforming programmatic audiences into first-party household data as it relates to brands, so it becomes their own first-party data, stored in their CDP, and/or hosted in our activation platform. Now, the second part of the problem is "how" to find them.

How to Find Audiences

There are two versions of how to find these audiences.

The First Solution

One is the activation pipes that fullthrottle.aiTM is transforming with specific unique outlets, like Amazon AdvertisingComcast/EffectvCharter/Spectrum Reach, and iHeartMedia. This is to better deliver the “Immersive Household” with total audio, display, and video media solutions, specifically using the "who" that we are identifying on behalf of brands.

The Second Solution

The second part is what the rest of the industry is trying to find one solution for: how do we reach digital audiences with digital display and video? The super powerful  TradeDesk platform and their clients are an example of someone most at risk. They’re one of the largest digital ad buying platforms and created an initiative for Unified ID 2.0. This is part of their solution for the cookieless world.

However, Google has their own solution and it’s in competition with TradeDesk. Because Google is a browser, they have an....'influence' in whether Unified ID 2.0 will get very far. The most recent Google solution is Topics - an interest-based advertising proposal. Individuals remain anonymous but are assigned five “topics” based on the participating websites they visit. So rather than specifically identifying a person or a unique user, they’re identifying certain topics and behaviors. Topics are customizable to the consumer and change every three weeks with a random one thrown into the mix to prevent anyone from identifying the user. But even Google has gone back and forth on this solution.

The problem with finding one solution is that everyone wants to own it or have a piece of this solution. Everyone is a little competitive with each other and all are rushing to create their own versions of a resolution. And everyone is wondering whose solution is going to win.

Which Solution Will Win?

The reality of where this will end up will actually be a little simpler – no one is going to win. Everyone is going to have their own solution and it’s going to be a bit fragmented.

So TradeDesk and the publishers they work with will adopt the Unified ID platform. Maybe it will work on certain browsers and maybe it won’t work on Google. Google may have a solution and it’ll only work for the people that adopt their solution.

Every traditional digital ad ecosystem is creating their own “how” to find these audiences.

Yet, have you really identified the “Who” audience potential? Your real 1st Party Data.

We think where brands, businesses, agencies, and media companies should focus their attention is on their own data independence via 1st party data. Really, the rest of the adtech industry will build their own little special sauce of “how” to find the “who”. What we focus on is “Who is the who” (say that 3 times fast).

While fullthrottle.aiTM has pre-built pipes integrated with media companies that you won’t typically have easy access and integration into, our biggest focus is on transforming in-market household level audiences within a 1st party data ecosphere, so that you know down to a household level, “who” you want to target. You can then bring that to all these different solutions.

The End of the Tunnel

Let’s say there are five solutions at the end of this whole acrobatic cookie dance. If you know who you are targeting, you bring your “who” to each of the five, and you say, “here’s who I want to target”, each of them will have their own way of trying to reach the “who”. Either it’s very precise, or it’s a collegiate probabilistic try.

Ultimately, the lesson here is the “who” is the most important part. And while all the media and articles and conversations are currently about "how" we are going to find our audience, the main takeaway is to let them do that. If you’re an agency or a brand, the only thing you need to focus on is owning your own 1st party data.

If you have figured out a way to own your audience and create first-party data, then it does not matter what happens in the future, because you can bring your data to any of the platforms that will be hungry for your data (BYOD - Bring Your Own Data). The industry will be starved for that data, to fuel their specific special sauce version of "how" to find identified audiences.

A personal analogy:

Warning: I am exposing how much of a gamer I was (am?)

Growing up in the world of video games, you had platforms such as Sega, Nintendo, Xbox, Playstation, etc. Because there are so many options for consoles, typically you pick one (or you were the one kid who had all of them). Most didn’t buy all of them, it wasn’t cost effective, nor is it necessary.

Once you have your console, then you begin to pick out your cartridges (or specific games). Those cartridges will only work with one console. So, if you buy a Nintendo game, you cannot play it on a PlayStation.

The analogy here is: what if you had a universal game cartridge and were able to play it on any of the platforms you wanted to? It wouldn't matter how old these platforms were or what version of the console it was.

It doesn’t even matter what new consoles are released because you own your cartridge that can universally fit into anything that comes out. That is true data independence and ownership.

What fullthrottle.aiTM is Solving

Often, we are asked what we are solving, if we’re not solving for the entire cookieless world?

It’s true – we are not solving for a certain part, like the technology TradeDesk is working on "how" to find their audiences.

But that’s the point. We know others will figure it out. If you say you have data, these bigger companies will figure out a way to activate your data. It’s their entire business. Google makes money on advertising. They are not going to shoot themselves in the foot. They’re going to figure out a way. If you are insulated with your own data, you will be resilient and in many ways future-proof.

Why is This Really a Problem?

You might be wondering, is it something that will really affect me as a large organization?

The short, simple answer is yes.

Otherwise, you’re putting your fate solely on other platforms, and no one is sure what they’re going to do. If you want to control your destiny, get a handle on the “who”, do it while the rest of the world figures out the “how”. You shouldn’t trust that your vendors alone (that tend to come and go), are going to be the only ones to solve your problems.

Achieve Data Independence. Own your Audiences. Control your Data Destiny.

{insert shameless plug}

1st Party Household Data from the Future


Amol Waishampayan Thought Leader