UK publishers to test cookieless targeting and measurement system

  • Wednesday, September 20th, 2023
  • Author: Tim Green
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Major UK brands such as the Guardian, the Independent, Bauer and Haymarket are teaming up to run a large-scale test of a privacy-enhancing technology for post cookie advertising.

The brands are all members of the the UK Association of Online Publishers (AOP), and they are working with Publicis Media on the project to test Anonymised, a privacy-enhancing technology (PET) for cookieless targeting and measurement. The project has been discussed with the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Its now three years since the advertising industry began waking up to the fact that third-party cookies and mobile identifiers are going away. Since then, no real consensus has emerged on how to do robust tracking and measurement without infringing user privacy.

Hence this major project, which will run through 2023 and early 2024 and will follow the CMA’s blueprint testing framework for Google’s Privacy Sandbox. Results will be shared with the CMA and the ICO in the second quarter of 2024.

“Third-party cookies were never a great deal for publishers because they leak first-party data into the ecosystem, which largely benefits adtech companies and made-for-advertising sites” said Richard Reeves, MD at the AOP.

“Technology like Anonymised gives publishers an opportunity to monetise audiences without disclosing data, enabling direct relationships with advertisers – which aligns with our members’ vision for an equitable exchange between publishers and advertisers.”

“The market needs a new generation of technology providers that can help publishers and advertisers transition to a cookie-less, privacy-first internet,” added Dr Mattia Fosci, CEO of Anonymised. “Google’s Privacy Sandbox may well be the new baseline for open-web advertising, but innovation is needed to make sure the open web remains a competitive advertising destination in a privacy-centric world”.