- The advertising industry has been rocked by Apple, Google, and others' decisions to kill third-party cookies used to target ads.
- Adtech companies are pitching workarounds to keep revenue afloat while advertisers and publishers try to sell and buy and sell ads with first-party data.
- Business Insider identified 20 people that are at the forefront of finding alternatives to the third-party cookie.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The ad industry is racing to save targeted advertising.
Digital advertising has long promised marketers huge scale with targeting through third-party cookies. With moves like the California Consumer Privacy Act and Europe's General Data Protection Regulation clamping down on how marketers collect and use data, Apple, Google and others are planning to phase out those cookies.
At stake is the $332.84 billion that eMarketer expects marketers to spend on digital advertising in 2020.
That's left publishers scrambling for alternative ways to sell ads, while advertisers and agencies rush to collect data directly from consumers. Adtech companies like LiveRamp and The Trade Desk, meanwhile, pitched IDs that they hope the rest of the adtech industry will back. IDs include data about people that's not from a third-party cookie — like what sites they browse or what items they buy — that advertisers use to target and measure ads.
"I would characterize it as 2020 was the year of talking and 2021 will be the year of doing," said Tom Kershaw, chairman of Prebid.org and chief technology officer of Magnite.
But the shift to first-party data and IDs could be a hard pill for scale-loving advertisers to swallow. Ads targeted with first-party data only reach 30% to 40% of the audience reached by third-party cookie-based ads, Acxiom CEO Chad Engelgau said.
And while adtech firms are pitching dozens of fixes for third-party cookies, it's unlikely that the industry will get behind more than 10 solutions.
"There is a lot of confusion in the market on this topic," said Merkle's corporate chief strategy officer John Lee. "This isn't a one ID to rule them all situation."
Business Insider identified 20 people who are working to find new ways of ad targeting. This list is by no means comprehensive, but based on our reporting, these represent the adtech companies, publishers, ad agencies, and brands who are at the forefront of efforts to create new, high-profile approaches to digital advertising.
Here are the 20 people, listed alphabetically by last name.
Projjol Banerjea, founder and chief product officer, Zeotap
What he's doing: Pitching advertisers on first-party data
Banerjea wants to take on LiveRamp with European-based Zeotap, which is starting to make deeper inroads into the US as big marketers focus on first-party data. Zeotap sells a data platform that brands like Red Bull, Unilever, and Nestlé use to target ads using their first-party data.
The company also has its own ID called ID+ that it pitches to marketers as a way to create cookieless audiences for ad targeting. The ID is backed by Accenture, Omnicom's Annalect, and PubMatic.
Banerjea founded Zeotap in 2014 and previously worked in product and marketing roles at Moboqo (which was acquired by Applovin in 2014) and Fybar.
Alysia Borsa, president, Meredith Digital
What she's doing: Helping the publisher prep for cookieless ads
The longtime publishing exec is building Meredith's first-party data across its brands like Allrecipes, Better Homes and Gardens and People, and launched an ID that is made up of 30 million logged-in users.
The publisher rolled out a platform called Meredith Data Studio in 2020 that pulls together Meredith's first-party data that advertisers can use to target ads on Meredith's properties or elsewhere.
As digital advertising moves away from third-party cookies, marketers are increasingly using contextual advertising to target ads by topics like food, sports, or entertainment, and Borsa said Meredith's contextual ad business is growing by double digits this year.
Borsa is also active in groups like the IAB Tech Lab, the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media, and the World Wide Web Consortium that are working on standards for cookieless ads.
Travis Clinger, SVP of addressability and ecosystem, LiveRamp
What he's doing: Wants to replace third-party cookies with IDs
Adtech giant LiveRamp is selling an ID to advertisers and publishers, and Clinger behind the effort to get other advertising companies to back it.
LiveRamp's ID connects an advertiser's data with a publisher's data, which in theory can help publishers boost their advertising rates and help marketers get the same performance and targeting offered by platforms like Facebook and Google.
In one example he gave, FitBit doubled its return on ad spend and decreased its cost per page view by 34% with LiveRamp's tools compared to cookie-based campaigns for a Father's Day campaign in 2020.
Kerel Cooper, SVP of global marketing, LiveIntent
What he's doing: Wants to replace third-party cookies with email
LiveIntent wants to use its deep inroads with publishers like The New York Times and The Washington Post to move into identity.
The firm has long helped publishers sell ads in email newsletters and is betting on email addresses to get around the loss of third-party cookies.
Cooper leads LiveIntent's marketing team and helped develop an ID that matches customers' data with LiveIntent's identity graph to help advertisers reach wider audiences across multiple web browsers and help publishers sell more data-based ads.
Cooper previously worked at local publisher Advance Digital.
Ric Elert, president and chief operating officer, Epsilon
What he's doing: Helping publishers drive ad revenue
Publicis-owned Epsilon has long been a data resource for big brands and agencies and more recently, ad sellers.
Longtime Epsilon exec Elert said the loss of third-party cookies means advertisers have to use multiple IDs to plan, buy, and measure ads, and Epsilon's goal is to make an ID that covers all of those areas.
He said more than 5,000 publishers, retailers, and brands use Epsilon's tools to get information about readers to increase ad prices and their performance on their sites.
"As the walled gardens want to take away the ability to identify anyone due to privacy reasons, we want to create solutions with privacy in mind," he said.
Adtech firms like iSpot and organizations like Prebid.org use Epsilon's data to fine-tune targeting and measurement. The firm is also powering part of Walgreens' recently launched ad business that targets ads across the web and social platforms.
Chad Engelgau, CEO, Acxiom
What he's doing: Doing direct deals with publishers that avoid adtech middlemen
At Acxiom, a part of ad agency Interpublic Group, Engelgau helps set up private marketplaces to let advertisers buy ads programmatically from publishers like Verizon and Roku that don't use adtech middlemen.
He also helps advertisers collect first-party data for ad targeting.
Acxiom also works with The Trade Desk and LiveRamp's ID to match those IDs' data with client and publisher data.
"There's pros and cons to the loss of the third-party cookie, but the marketers that control conversion data will be in a much stronger position because they were already removing their dependency on third-party cookies," Engelgau said.
Engelgau became Acxiom CEO in March 2020 after serving as global chief data strategist and head of client management at IPG's marketing-tech arm Kinesso.
Evan Hanlon, chief product officer, Essence
What he's doing: Creating privacy-friendly ad products for clients
Hanlon heads up technology, innovation and service offerings for WPP's agency Essence's advertising clients.
Under Hanlon, Essence has developed new contextual advertising and metrics tools. One tool called Pegasus uses machine learning to run contextual ads based on the content of an article. Essence client Google used the tool to target ads and churn out thousands of ad creative that ran on The Guardian's website.
Another tool, Prometheus, uses a customer's lifetime value to tweak ad campaigns. Essence claims the approach has improved clients' ad performance by 300% and has helped clients develop long-term goals.
Before joining Essence in 2020, Hanlon held roles at WPP's GroupM and Xaxis.
Sébastien Hernoux, managing director of data and technology transformation, OMD USA
What he's doing: Advising big brands on the post-cookie era
When Google announced its plan to phase out third-party cookies, Hernoux's team swung into action, advising marketers in which tech partners to work with and educating them about how the move would impact their advertising.
"Everybody wants to know what they should do right now," he said.
The agency analyzes how dependent a brand's business is on third-party cookies and helps clients with things like creating clean rooms, places where brands can securely measure ad performance.
OMD USA also keeps clients up to speed whenever there's news about the future of third-party cookies.
Before joining OMD in 2019, Hernoux worked at Omnicom's data and tech arm Annalect as well as MediaMath and Accenture.
Michelle Hulst, EVP of global data and strategy, The Trade Desk
What she's doing: Building a cookie alternative for the ad industry
The Trade Desk is using its size and clout to create an ID, and Hulst is one of the key people trying to get other industry players to back it.
The Unified ID 2.0 initiative aims to replace third-party cookies with hashed, encrypted email addresses. The free framework also works with other types of IDs.
The Unified ID has been backed by Criteo, Nielsen, and LiveRamp (which also sells a competing ID), and Hulst's goal is to get more companies on board in 2021.
Hulst joined The Trade Desk this year and previously worked at Oracle and Datalogix, where she also oversaw partnerships and business development.
While The Trade Desk has led the effort so far, the plan is to spin it off to another group like a trade organization in 2021, Hulst said.
"Unless an identity solution gets broad adoption, there isn't going to be a solve that works," she said.
Tom Kershaw, chairman of Prebid.org and chief technology officer, Magnite
What he's doing: Wants to help publishers pool their first-party data
The longtime advertising and media veteran is chairman of publisher-focused organization Prebid.org, which is trying to help publishers appeal to scale-hungry advertisers by pooling first-party audience data and standardizing how publishers create audiences. Backers include publishers like News Corp. and Business Insider parent Insider Inc. and adtech companies like Criteo and Verizon Media.
Prebid.org has also developed an ID with Epsilon called SharedID that publishers can use to test alternatives to third-party cookies. The idea is that the ID will help publishers share and create similar audiences for advertisers and cap ad frequency so people don't see the same ad repeatedly. SharedID will also let consumers set their advertising preferences and opt-out of receiving ads across publishers.
"If we're going to provide an alternative to Google and make the open web competitive to the walled gardens, we're going to have to federate and standardize," said Kershaw, also an executive at Magnite.
Before joining Rubicon Project (now Magnite) in 2016, he worked in product management and tech roles at Google and Ericsson.
John Lee, corporate chief strategy officer, Merkle
What he's doing: Selling adtech products independently within an agency holding giant
Lee is responsible for technology and data products at Dentsu Aegis Network's Merkle, where he's worked since 2008 in a variety of roles including chief product and data officer.
Merkle has long helped marketers combine offline info like names and addresses with digital data. In February, Merkle launched a platform called Merkury that helps marketers target and measure ads without cookies. The platform includes an ID to target ads and a data privacy clean room to measure ads. Adtech companies like Index Exchange and MediaMath have used Merkury's ID to target ads.
Merkle is also positioning Merkury as a standalone service to clients — Lee said that the bulk of its revenue comes from advertisers who have in-housed their advertising.
Merkury also works with publishers like Meredith and Hearst to do direct programmatic deals with clients that use first-party data. Merkury also works with retailers like like CVS to help sell data-based ads both on CVS' website and social and programmatic ads.
Iván Markman, chief business officer, Verizon Media
Verizon's media and advertising ambitions may have died down, but the telecom giant still sits on troves of customer data.
Verizon Media recently rolled out an ID called Verizon Media ConnectID that lets marketers run ads without third-party cookies through its media properties like Yahoo, AOL, and HuffPost (Verizon is in the process of selling HuffPost to BuzzFeed).
The ID includes first-party data about how people use apps, websites, and email and is pitched as a way for marketers to improve ad targeting.
Publishers and adtech firms like Newsweek and Adstra are using Verizon's ID.
Markman joined Verizon last year after working as a special advisor to Comscore's CEO and serving on its board. He also sits on boards for companies like CreatorIQ, Measured, and Twine Data.
"With cookies going away and other identifiers going away, the ecosystem is impacted," said Markman. "Advertisers are at the risk of flying blind, publishers are at risk of seeing their business impacted, and consumers are impacted because some of the free services that they enjoy may no longer be free."
Jordan Mitchell, SVP and head of consumer privacy, identity and data, IAB Tech Lab
What he's doing: Creating standards for advertising without cookies
The IAB Tech Lab was spun off from trade group the Interactive Advertising Bureau six years ago to help marketers tackle the technical problems of digital advertising. Most recently, it's focused on helping marketers deal with the loss of third-party data.
Mitchell is a longtime adtech executive who cofounded DigiTrust, which the IAB Tech Lab acquired in 2018. He leads the IAB Tech Lab's efforts to rebuild cookies for marketers through an initiative called Project Rearc, which is trying to develop standards for how ads are sold in a cookieless world.
"Tech standards are a critical component of our entire industry's approach to solve this," he said.
Mitchell said that Project Rearc is working with about 400 companies in tech, policy, and business to figure out what the standards should include, with the first proposed standards expected to be announced in the first quarter of 2021.
Allison Murphy, SVP of ad innovation, The New York Times
What she's doing: Helping The New York Times ditch third-party cookies
As publishers try to get away from selling ads using third-party data, The Times was notable in announcing that it plans to ditch them for good by early 2021.
Spearheading this effort is Murphy, who's tasked with developing new ways to sell advertising.
While the publisher makes most of its money from subscriptions, it's retooling its ad business around first-party audiences that advertisers can buy, touting first-party data as 40% more effective than third-party data when it comes to click-throughs and engagement rates.
"We're a brand that stands for trust and transparency, the world of unconstrained, third-party tracking is not one that felt aligned with that," she said. "There is still an awful lot of effort that is going into alternatives to the cookie. That's not something that we're very interested in at The Times."
The Times plans to have more than 75 audience groups based on characteristics like ages, income, technology enthusiasts, people interested in fashion by the end of 2020. The Times is also working on building out proprietary ad metrics, like time spent on its properties, in 2021.
Todd Parsons, chief product officer, Criteo
What he's doing: Building cookieless ad products
Criteo is most known for its retargeting tools that marketers use to track people with targeted ads, but it's expanded into tools that retailers use to sell ads on their websites and apps.
Parsons is responsible for helping Criteo build ad products that incorporate identity and don't use third party data, like a retail media tool that uses shopping data to improve ad targeting.
Parsons joined Criteo in August 2020 after holding top product roles at OpenX, SocialCode, and Acxiom.
He has also led Criteo's efforts to join The Trade Desk's Unified ID 2.0 effort that wants to build a cookieless ID for the ad industry.
Mathieu Roche, CEO, ID5
What he's doing: Building the tech to do cookieless targeting
ID5 is a London-based company that sells an ID to publishers and adtech companies, a competitor to LiveRamp, The Trade Desk, and the the IAB Tech Lab's Digitrust (which announced that it is shutting down this year).
Roche said his firm wants to act as a neutral player, meaning ID5 doesn't buy or sell ads itself. The company claims to reach 400 million daily devices on 50,000 websites.
The ID's goal is do things like cap ad frequency so people aren't bombarded by the same ads.
ID5 licenses its ID to adtech companies like Amobee, OpenX, and PubMatic and gives it away to publishers such as Discovery and Dennis Publishing that use it to sell targeted ads.
Justin Schuh, director of Chrome engineering, Google
What he's doing: Helping marketers target ads as Google phases out third-party cookies
Schuh is one of the people at Google who's responsible for explaining its changes to marketers.
The longtime Googler became Chrome's first full-time security engineer in 2009 and is a key exec working on the privacy overhaul of Chrome, whose phase-out of third-party cookies has big implications for publishers and advertisers. Google estimates that the costs of ads without third-party cookies could fall 57%.
Schuh was named as one of Business Insider's 100 people transforming business in 2020 for his work balancing Chrome's push towards privacy with advertisers' need to use data. He works with adtech companies to help them find other ways of targeting and is involved with initiatives like Privacy Sandbox, Google's project that promises to create privacy-friendly standards for things like online advertising measurement.
Megan Sullivan, senior manager of marketing data strategy, Molson Coors
What she's doing: Testing cookieless ads
CPG brands that are sold in retailers often rely heavily on third-party cookies to target ads. Sullivan is working to change that at Molson Coors, maker of beers like Blue Moon, Coors, and Miller, working with adtech companies Amobee and LiveRamp to test cookieless ad campaigns and collecting first-party data.
LiveRamp pulls together a pool of logged-in users across publishers, and Amobee's technology buys and measures the ads aimed at those users.
One challenge for Molson Coors is that IDs like LiveRamp's publisher tool is not widely adopted by marketers, she said.
"We're hoping that in the next 12 months before [third-party cookies] completely deplete that we see a really big uptick in adoption so that we can see a larger impact and make sure that we're pressure-testing all of our solutions."
Sullivan has worked at Molson Coors since 2018 and previously worked at ad agency Starcom in digital media and search roles.
Bill Tucker, group EVP, ANA and executive director, Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media
What he's doing: Helping advertisers prepare for cookieless ads
Tucker joined ad trade group the Association of National Advertisers in 2017 and has built out data, analytics, and measurement practices for its ad agency and brand members.
In August of 2020, Tucker formed the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media (or PRAM) to help marketers create standards and practices for ad targeting and measuring in a privacy-centric world. PRAM includes meme brs from trade orgs, agencies like Interpublic Group and Publicis Media, and advertisers including Unilever and Ford.
"The vision is to ensure consumers and businesses can connect responsibly and get the benefits of digital in a safe and addressable way," Tucker said. "Our mission is to develop proxy principles, standards and infrastructure."
He previously worked at ad agencies including Starcom and MediaVest and also worked at agency-focused trade group the 4A's
Amy Yeung, chief privacy officer and general counsel, Lotame
What she's doing: Wants to replace cookies with its ID
Yeung oversees privacy efforts at Lotame, a data-management platform that's pitching an ID to marketers as an alternative to third-party cookies.
Yeung said its ID, Panorama, replicates people-based targeting using customer and publicly available data from publishers.
For example, the ID can find people who visit, say, ESPN's website before going to a news site to infer information about that person. Lotame says the ID includes data from 180 sources to help advertisers match data across devices to target and measure ads.
"The goal of marketers is to target individuals in certain spaces," she said. "You don't need things like a Social Security number to achieve that goal."
Yeung previously worked in counsel and legal roles at Comscore, Dataminr, and Personal BlackBox Company.
Get the latest Google stock price here.
Source: Read Full Article