Originally published on IAB Europe.


75 Percent of Industry Respondents Believe Alternatives to Third-Party Cookies are Very Important or Critical But 40 Percent Feel Their Company is Not Fully Prepared

4th February 2021, Brussels: IAB Europe, the leading European-level industry association for the digital advertising and marketing ecosystem, has today released its comprehensively updated Guide to the Post-Third-Party Cookie Era, to prepare brands, agencies, publishers and tech intermediaries for the much-anticipated post-third-party cookie advertising ecosystem.

To understand how involved stakeholders were with the different initiatives and how prepared they are for the new era, IAB Europe ran an industry poll in Q4 2020. Respondents were asked what new opportunities and challenges they foresaw, and how prepared they are for these changes. They were also asked about the impact they think it will have on targeting, measurement, verification and overall investment. Over 100 industry professionals completed the poll and topline findings showed:

  • Priority in finding an alternative to the third-party cookie – nearly half of all respondents said that it was critically important to find a solution. Only 13% cited it wasn’t very important.
  • Preparedness in finding a new solution – But conversely, whilst it is a high priority, the majority are not prepared.

The guide, which has been developed by experts from IAB Europe’s Programmatic Trading Committee, updates the first edition in May 2020. It provides the latest insights into the many alternative solutions that are being developed to replace third-party cookies when they are depleted in 2022, including context, identity, the use of telco data and the Google Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) initiative. It is evident that a lot of innovation continues to take place around identity and the industry will not end up with one final solution. As a result, the Guide will help industry prepare to test, learn and collaborate on further developments throughout 2021.

Commenting on this latest work, Helen Mussard, CMO, IAB Europe said “With less than 12 months to go until third-party cookies are fully deprecated, now is the time for every company within the digital advertising ecosystem to work together to deliver the solutions that are outlined in the IAB Europe Guide. As the European voice for digital advertising and marketing, our role is to help our members navigate these changes and ensure the €23bn European programmatic industry can continue to innovate and thrive in this new era.”

Explaining the reasons for supporting this initiative, contributors highlighted the value the guide will provide as brands, agencies and publishers make strategic decisions about how to manage identity. A new contributor this year is the privacy-first identity and audience response platform Novatiq. Their Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Tanya Field, commented “It is clear that a number of alternative solutions to identity are being developed, but understanding the differences and their relative merits can be a challenge. The IAB Europe Guide gives space to each opportunity and demonstrates that there won’t be one outright market solution, but a range that meet differing market needs.”

Alex Berger, Senior Marketing Director, Buy-side Products, Adform, continued “When the initial news hit about the pending death of the third-party cookie, it understandably sent shockwaves across the industry. The big challenge has been the complexity of the technology, and making sense of the massive amounts of contradictory information out there. This guide serves as a great starting point for those eager to get the tools in place to ask the right questions when choosing which solutions to back in the coming months.” This was echoed by Julien Delhommeau, Solutions Consulting Director Southern Europe, Xandr who commented “It is incumbent on technology platforms to develop a range of technical solutions, and we see  the updated IAB guide as an educational tool for buyers and sellers to come to us with an informed, strategic articulation of their identity needs and goals”.

Valbona Gjini, Marketing Director, ID5 held a similar view, stating “We are delighted to have contributed to the IAB Europe’s Guide to the Post Third Party Cookie Era. Collaboration and knowledge sharing is what will allow us to succeed in the transition to a cookie-less future. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenge that we are faced with. Learning and testing different privacy-compliant cookie-less approaches is crucial to understand what brings more benefits to publishers, advertisers and consumers.”

Chris Keenan, Regional VP Business Development, MediaMath concluded “IAB Europe has an unparalleled insight into the needs and concerns of all parties in the value chain and this guide is the most comprehensive overview of the industry available. We will continue to work with the IAB and other participants to support these critical developments which are essential to future-proof our industry.”

The 14-000 word Guide provides a comprehensive deep-dive into the following themes:

  • The three contributing factors to the depletion of third-party cookies
  • The impact on stakeholder usage of proprietary platforms
  • The impact on measurement and ad verification
  • A detailed overview of each of the current third-party post-cookie solutions
  • Information on how stakeholders can contribute to the ongoing development of these solutions

Commenting on the depth of knowledge contained within the Guide, Chair of the IAB Europe Programmatic Trading Committee and DoubleVerify Senior Director of Business Development, David Goddard, said “Consumer privacy and respect in advertising is paramount. Recent moves to ensure privacy through corporate and government initiatives – including the deprecation of third-party cookies – means that advertisers need new tools and resources to ensure efficient and effective campaign measurement and targeting. This Guide – a collective effort of the IAB Europe’s Programmatic Trading Committee – includes input from companies across the digital ad ecosystem and is meant to provide an understanding of where we are now, and what options we have to move forward. This collaborative effort exemplifies how players across the value chain can and should work together to meet the needs of advertisers and consumers alike – fostering a healthy, well-lit ad ecosystem. Today’s updated Guide contains the most up-to-date summary of the identity market today, however we know this space is constantly innovating and changing. As a result, we will continue to share the latest learnings and developments through further updates to the guide..”