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Survey: 64% of Publishers Expect Digital Revenue Growth in Post-Third Party Cookie Era

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NEW YORK—As the digital ad industry grapple with growing concerns about privacy and the transition to a landscape where publishers are no longer able to track consumer behavior with cookies, a new survey from DoubleVerify suggests that most publishers are generally optimistic about the long term impact of those trends on their digital businesses.

Its survey of  600 senior decision-makers in publishing and advertising across the U.S., APAC, EMEA and LATAM regions in Q3 of 2021 found that more than 60% of publishers expected digital revenue growth in a post-third party cookie era and  that 88% of publishers believe selling direct will become more important as cookies decline in effectiveness. Nearly all of them, about 95% of advertisers, anticipate relying on contextual targeting for their media buys next year.

“The ad tech landscape will undoubtedly change in the coming years as a result of how publishers and advertisers will be allowed to collect data, and it seems that both sides are fairly confident in the solutions put forward,” said Mimi Wotring, SVP of Publisher Sales & Client Services at DoubleVerify. “The advertiser demand and publisher capabilities around contextual targeting for instance, leave publishers with a strong path forward to achieve revenue goals in 2022.”

Other key findings of the “Post-cookie Questions: What Publishers and Advertisers Are Thinking About the New Digital Advertising Era,” report include: 

  • Advertisers Want Contextual and First-Party Data. While 83% of advertisers believe that their own first-party data is important going forward, 95% are planning on relying on contextual targeting for at least some of their media buys next year. In fact, almost half (48%) anticipate relying on contextual targeting for all media buys.
  • Advertisers Will Prioritize Publishers With First-Party Data. 76% of advertisers said that they will only directly partner with publishers who have robust first-party data to leverage in support of a campaign. To collect this first-party data asset, 82% of publishers are investing in subscription models.
  • Publishers are Expecting a Revenue Boost. A majority of publishers (64%) believe that cookie depreciation and other privacy-related changes will actually increase revenue. In part, this could be attributed to the fact that it will likely promote more direct relationships with advertisers.
  • Publishers Want Options. Publishers expressed interest in a number of solutions to the loss of cookies. 45% are turning to private marketplaces, 40% of publishers believe first-party data to be the best solution, and 34% are leaning into contextual targeting, with 60% believing this strategy will be very important for the business next year.

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.