IAB Ad Technology Council - Future of the Cookie


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The IAB recently formed the Advertising Technology Council (ATC) to merge the fragmented ad technology sector and spearhead the development of industry-leading technology standards and best practices. One of the six ATC initiatives is called Future of the Cookie, which is co-chaired by myself, Philip Smolin of Turn, and Susan Pierce of Google.
In short, our goal is to investigate ways in which we can turn the industry’s most negative issue into a positive (or at least a neutral), resulting in a win/win/win for publishers, consumers and advertisers – basically the industry as a whole.

IAB Ad Technology Council - Future of the Cookie

  1. 1. IAB Ad Technology Council Future of the CookieJordan Mitchell – the Rubicon Project Philip Smolin – Turn Susan Pierce – Google
  2. 2. The Cookie Situation Originally designed for temporary data storage Now a fundamental infrastructure of the Web, used for many purposes: ● Targeting / retargeting ● User profiling, segmentation, optimization ● Mapping users between platforms ● Buying and selling of data ● Consumer privacy controls ● Frequency capping of ads ● Analytics, attribution and verification ● Session management, shopping carts, etc.1
  3. 3. The Cookie is Crumbling! Not a stable or persistent tracking mechanism ● Too specific – domain, device, browser, app ● Cookies ≠ users ● High churn rates Has lead to broader use, not less ● Every new vendor, publisher, segment, attribute, platform, etc. multiplies the cookies used on the Web ● Internet bloat This is a lose, lose, lose, lose situation for advertisers, publishers, consumers and platforms2
  4. 4. The Publisher Problem Proliferation of 3rd party pixels ● Slows page loads ● Increases discrepancy counts ● Degrades user trust and experience ● Risk of data leakage Broken compensation model ● Revenue loss if they don’t support 3rd party pixels ● Revenue loss if users block cookies ● Tilted playing field, favoring large consumer brands ● DNT, IE9/Safari defaults, EU laws, etc. potentially make their job harder, with more revenue risk3
  5. 5. The Ad Industry Problem Cookie reliance + churn results in: ● Ongoing ramp-up time and effort with each new segment, attribute, partner, etc. ● Rapidly degrading economic model ● Continuous, high-volume, redundant deployment ● Excessive network traffic and related costs ● Excessive ad exposure ● Redundant user tracking (devices, logins, apps, etc.) ● Tilted playing field, favoring large consumer brands ● Significant regulatory threats Non-cookie supported mobile devices4
  6. 6. The Consumer Problem 3rd party cookie overload, causing ● Widely fragmented data collection ● Anxiety, lack of trust ● Degraded online experience Fragmented opt-out or opt-in controls ● Can’t be applied across every domain, device, browser, login, app, etc. ● No persistence5
  7. 7. Opportunities Reduce or eliminate the need for continuous cookie mapping between IAB-compliant stakeholders Turn the industry’s most negative issue into a positive (or at least a neutral) ● Improved, persistent consumer control and trust ● Improved tracking, targeting and analytics for advertisers ● Improved publisher business Level the playing field ● Same advantages go to IAB-compliant vendors as the big 4 ● Bad actors are disadvantaged Better convey to consumers the relationship between advertising and free content6
  8. 8. Project Goals Define problem statement and scope ● Common understanding of the stakeholders, problems, solution requirements and related value. ● Browser-based cookie tracking ● Mobile app user tracking ● Cross-device user tracking Solution mapping ● Common understanding and stack-ranking of the solutions available to the industry, with a recommended approach and rationale. Solution execution plan ● Common understanding of the solution project plan, milestones, timelines, participants, etc.7
  9. 9. Calling on … Publishers! Ad infrastructure / platforms DSPs DMPs and data exchanges US and Western Europe8
  10. 10. Email us if you’re interested! Initiative co-chairs ● Jordan Mitchell, jordan@rubiconproject.com ● Philip Smolin, philip.smolin@turn.com ● Susan Pierce, pierces@google.com Next steps ● September 2012 - White paper draft ● Q4, 2012 ● Solution mapping draft ● Industry consensus building ● Recommendation9