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Life In a Cookie-Less World: Part 1


Programmatic In Your Pocket – Life in a Cookie-less World brought to you by our friends at LiveRamp. Visit LiveRamp to find out how they can help your business.

This episodes features snippets of interviews from;
– Travis Clinger (LiveRamp)
– Jennifer Snell (
– Peter Barry (PubMatic)
– Willem Paling (IAG)

Your host Gavin Stewart, Marketing Director and co-founder of Ashton Media brings Short, Sharp, Stories and Solutions to the biggest challenges in marketing, advertising, media and CX.

In digital advertising, the downfall of third-party cookies is imminent. For advertisers, agencies, and publishers, the future is opaque at best. But it’s in this uncertain future that I’m reminded of a key moment in history where the right team overcame obstacles both challenging and unknown. ..

The marketing and advertising industry has a somewhat unhealthy addiction to cookies and their favourite digital treat is going to vanish.”

With third-party cookies in decline and a move for the industry to look for long-term solutions, opinions have become clear on the landscape of digital marketing and how it has changed over the past few years.

We will tackle the problem of how we got here first. Then move onto the solution and what lies ahead. We’ll then wrap it up by getting some live interviews from a few attendees at our Ashton Media Programmatic Summit 2020 at the lovely Doltone House in Pyrmont, Sydney.

We spoke with several prominent figures in the digital marketing industry, to discuss what that the cookie-centred approach has meant for the industry since the inception of programmatic by tapping into their experience and insights on the long-awaited developments.

Into its 7th year, the Summit is firmly established as ANZ’s Programmatic Industry Showcase. It’s the largest gathering of ANZ’s programmatic industry, and we’re delighted to announce that in partnership with IAB Australia, the Programmatic Summit takes place in March 2020, Sydney and Melbourne.

Programmatic In Your Pocket – Life in a Cookie-less World brought to you by LiveRamp. More on the Programmatic Summit 2002 here.


Peter: [00:00:05] But the challenges that we need to make sure it is a long term solution.

Jennifer: [00:00:10] Look, I think it’s an industry challenge. I think it’s probably, obviously, one of the biggest changes that will have happened in the digital industry in the last, in the last decade. That whole digital advertising landscape has been largely centered around cookies. And we’re not going to be able to do the same kind of targeting and the same kind of touch-based attribution measurement that we have done in the past.

Travis: [00:00:29] LiveRamp has been preparing for the end of the third party cookie for over four years now. So we recognized, four years ago, the third party cookie was always an imperfect identifier. They didn’t even represent a person. Uh, they were really hard to understand. What’s happening is there’s a value exchange between consumer and publisher and then the opportunity for that publisher to connect that consumer to a marketer to drive a meaningful consumer journey.

Gavin: [00:00:55] Hello. I’m Gavin Stewart, Marketing Director and Co-founder of Ashton Media and the host of Programmatic In Your Pocket brought to you by our friends at LiveRamp. Short, sharp stories and solutions to the biggest challenges in marketing, advertising, media, and CX.

Please make sure to subscribe, rate, comment and tell anyone you know that’s interested in this industry about this podcast and your favorite episode. You can find Ashton Cast on all the major podcast players.Go to for more info.
In digital advertising, the downfall of third party cookies is imminent. For advertisers, agencies and publishers, the future is opaque at best, but it’s in this uncertain future that reminded of a key moment in history where the right team overcame obstacles, both challenging and unknown. The year is 1953.

Over in the United States, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and doo-wop music were all over the airwaves. On the other side of the world, a British expedition to summit Mount Everest was underway headed by a shy Kiwi man. The climb had been previously attempted by others, but no team had ever managed to plant their flag on the summit. The peak loomed over them like macabre monarch. Even if they had known what they were aiming for, the way forward remained unclear. Today, we remember one man who reached the top of Mount Everest first.

His name was Sir Edmund Hillary. But Hillary did not take all the credit. He attributed his success to his Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay. Tenzing, a canny and experienced guide, had attempted the trek the previous year and nearly succeeded. It was this union of skill, knowledge and daring that brought both men success through the uncharted territory that turned back so many other competitors. It’s this same elixir of knowledge, daring, and skill that marketers are hoping to harness in the impending two years to find a sustainable and successful path forward in a cookie-less world.

The marketing and advertising industry has a somewhat unhealthy addiction to cookies and their favorite digital treat is going to vanish. With third party cookies in decline, and a move for the industry to look for long term solutions, opinions have become clear on the landscape of digital marketing and how it changed over the last few years.
We’ll tackle the problem of how we got here first. Then move on to the solution and what lies ahead. Last, we’ll wrap it up by getting some live interviews from a few attendees at Ashton Media’s Programmatic Summit 2020 at the lovely Dolton House in Sydney.

We spoke with several prominent figures in the digital advertising industry to discuss what the cookie centered approach has meant for the industry since the inception of programmatic, by tapping into their experience, insights on the longer way to developments.

Here’s what Travis Clinger, VP of Global Strategy and Partnerships at LiveRamp had to say on the topic.

Travis: [00:04:06] LiveRamp sees the main challenge for marketers and the advertising industry as the deprecation of the third party cookie. So Google came out just a few weeks ago and they announced by January of 2022 there will be no more third party cookies.

This third party cookie is what the ad tech ecosystem is built on today. It’s the foundation of everything from retargeting to allowing DSPs and SSPs to transact on inventory, to allowing brands to measure post-click through attribution and understand how the ads were formed. Every platform today in ad tech largely relies on the third party cookie for digital display. And so we have this huge opportunity now as an industry to build a new ecosystem. An ecosystem that’s rooted in consumer trust. An ecosystem that’s more sustainable. An ecosystem based on people based identity. We see this as an incredible challenge, but it’s also an incredible opportunity.

As an industry, we get to rebuild the entire ad tech ecosystem and we get to make it much better, much better for consumers, and much better for marketers.

Gavin: [00:05:10] Here’s Head of Digital at Finder, Jennifer Snell, who shares her thoughts on the concerns of privacy and consumer data. These upcoming changes to the industry have been driven by these concerns with potentially more on the way.

Jennifer: [00:05:22] Yeah. Look, I think that obviously privacy has been a topic which we’ve been talking about as an industry, um, for a while now, and I think. I think that most people in the advertising industry would agree that historically, uh, maybe advertising hasn’t been like the cleanest place when it comes to kind of respecting, um, respecting people’s privacy.

You know what I mean? I think obviously what we’re still working through is like what it will look like from a legislative perspective, um, in Australia. At Finder, uh, we have got offices in six countries around the world, including the U.S. and the U.K.. So. We are, um, you know, I mean, obviously you’re very focused on looking at privacy legislation like GDPR and obviously what’s been coming out of California and so forth.
And, um, we’re trying to make sure, obviously, obviously we’re working hard to make sure that we understand all those pieces, but, um, it’s gonna be interesting to see whether or not something similar comes down, comes down the line for Australia too.

Gavin: [00:06:13] Here is David Bickell from LiveRamp on the day of our Sydney Programmatic Summit. He leads technical solutions and operations at LiveRamp and gave us some insight on how we got here.

David: [00:06:22] I, I think that the biggest thing that the reason Google announcement highlights is the lack of trust that we have. Um, I mean, we, we have lost the trust of our consumers. Um, you have to look at, obviously Google’s announcement, but even just the general privacy war that browsers have been waging since ITP in 2017.
Right. Um, there was a comment also made in the ACCC report recently, basically saying that of the privacy policies they reviewed for digital platforms, they found that the policies kind of gave consumers the illusion of control, where in actual fact they were more just legal waivers to let digital platforms take that data and use it however they’d like.

Gavin: [00:07:01] Dr. Willem Paling, Director of Customer Growth and Analytics at IAG, further explores a more distant concern about customer data in third party cookies, as well as his analysis of the effectiveness of programmatic advertising.

Will: [00:07:15] You know, I think it is actually necessary. Um, you know, it, it seems, it seems benign, like too, too many targeted ads. It’s just a bit annoying for consumers. Um, basically harmless. But you know, right now we’re living in a time when there are countries who are genuinely trialing a social credit score. And in that context, if, you know, if we’re talking about all this tracking going towards contributing to your social credit score, we start to get a lot more, more in profile and becomes a lot more concerning.
Right now we’re at a point where it’s got to change. So, um, with all the incrementality testing that we did, it showed that, you know, for our brands at least, um, the programmatic didn’t drive a short term sales outcome to the degree that we, we thought it did. I’ve long felt that we need to change focus towards towards creativity, to brand advertising, to getting people’s attention.

Gavin: [00:08:09] Peter Barry, the Regional Director of Australia and New Zealand from PubMatic, shares an optimistic view of the pending changes. With a long lead up to these changes. Industry professionals should already be set to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape.

Peter: [00:08:23] I feel good about it. Uh, I think it’s good for the consumer and what’s good for the consumer or the user is good for us as an industry. Um, we’ve been given a two year, or less than two years now, lead time. Uh, my concern is that we don’t move fast enough. Uh, but, uh, you know, I think. Putting a deadline on it as a good thing. Um, as for whether it’s a surprise or not, uh, you know, if it’s a surprise for your business, then you’ve literally been hiding under a rock for the last couple of years.

But, you know, we need to make sure that we’re, we’re acting, uh, quickly and not talk about it and create uh working groups and that sort of stuff. And then we find ourselves a year in and we still don’t have a solution, so we really need to move fast on it, really need to collaborate. So it needs to be that long term solution or we will find ourselves back here in two or three years time.

Will: [00:09:09] Technology has been really fast moving and, and there’s lots of risks of looking stupid if you’re not constantly trialing new things.

Gavin: [00:09:16] The quality and quantity of the data goldmine that third party cookies have provided the ad tech industry will change dramatically in two years. Peter Barry warns of the danger small publishers will face in light of this.

Peter: [00:09:29] Conceptually, is there maybe less data, but it will be a lot more valuable, a lot more, uh, opt-in, um, data, which I think is a good thing. I think there’s a danger, um, we may get to this later, but I think there’s a danger if you’re a publisher, you asked about the advertising side, but, uh, if you’re a mid to lower tier publisher without a robust and verified dataset that you’re in danger of, um, potentially losing out, uh, unless there’s a really robust solution. As I said, if you’re a, a larger, um, publisher, like a nine or a ten, or let’s say Google or Facebook, you might call them publishers, but they have a lot of, uh, verified data. Ah, then you will be in a better position.

Um, but the, the, the fear I have is that all of the, uh, variety and diversity of content that we have in the internet, uh, may not be sustainable unless we come up with a good solution. And I think potentially short-term, there will be less data. Um, but, but actually, again, to my earlier point, I think over the long term, when we find that robust solution and it’s when not if, uh, then I think ultimately better outcomes for marketers, better outcomes for publishers especially, and hopefully those mid to smaller, uh, publishers, uh, and better outcomes, uh, for, uh, consumers.

Gavin: [00:10:48] Better outcomes for publishers and marketers, no doubt, lead to improve consumer experience. Willem Paling sees this as an important focus.

Will: [00:10:56] And I’ve been saying this a bit, I think we need to focus on the interaction between people and ads more than the tech. So, we need to be considerate of people’s online experience and be vigilant in safeguarding against advertising products that gain the metrics by creating, basically terrible user experiences. Um, I think, I think the greater loss has been the ability has, hasn’t been the ability to use third party data. Um, but the belief that delivering a highly targeted message is universally more valuable than delivering a shared experience through mass reach. We lose sight of how to do marketing properly, and that’s how to connect with people. It’s so much more important than, than stringing together a sequence of ads.

Gavin: [00:11:35] Highly targeted messaging has always been tied to positive consumer driven experiences in advertising. Jenn Snell from Finder thinks we should remember this.

Jennifer: [00:11:44] My advice would be for everyone to make sure you really understand what it means for your business in your ad buying. We have to kind of move forward and look at how we can, um, find other ways to, to engage with people.

Gavin: [00:12:09] So Edmund Hillary’s quest to be the first up Everest proved his realization that Mount Everest was constantly shifting and morphing. Each minute that passed as he and Tenzing Norgay climb further into the clouds meant new terrain and challenging conditions to navigate. Here’s Travis Clinger.

Travis: [00:12:28] I think it’s an incredibly exciting opportunity for the future of the ad tech ecosystem.
So digital advertising is not going to go away. Marketers want adjustability. They want an open internet. We just had a summit a couple of weeks ago at our annual ramp-up event, and we had about two dozen of the biggest marketers and publishers join us, and all of them were committed to an open internet.

So I think what you have here is you have a technological event that’s really rooted in a trust problem. As an industry, we lost the trust of the consumer, and now we get to regain that trust and we get to make it much easier for data to move across the ecosystem and just build a much more efficient ecosystem.

Gavin: [00:13:07] With innovative thought comes smart solutions. And the primary solution on most marketers minds is first party cookies. Head of Digital at Finder, Jenn Snell, agrees.

Jennifer: [00:13:15] I think that it means that potentially we have to maybe be a little bit smarter. One of the things that I think has been really interesting, it’s probably this whole piece around, obviously retargeting, in just, just as a industry, how a lot of these tactics have obviously been very successful from a performance advertising perspective.

And I think that we’ve obviously got to look at, um, different, different ways to make sure we’re engaging and reaching people. Obviously, first party data I think is going to become increasingly important. I think one of the best things about the digital industry is that it’s, it’s constantly, uh, constantly evolving in its, its quick changing and whatnot. And I think, um, I couldn’t, where we’re going to be in ten years time. I think, you know.

Gavin: [00:13:52] With all the talk of programmatic and its ability to predict and track audience behavior, we often forget the human element and the effective messaging necessary to yield successful results.

Jennifer: [00:14:04] I think probably from my perspective, if we come back to this kind of topic about creativity and being really people-centric, that’s probably where I’m, that’s one of the things that I’m really interested in and as a result, like a lot of the, um, all of the reading I’ve been doing, it actually kind of been, I suppose in the area of kind of behavioral economics and things like that where it’s about really understanding people’s motivations, understanding why people do what they do. And I think that’s then pieces that, um. I believe, as marketers, will help us to create messaging that resonates.

Gavin: [00:14:33] Making messaging that resonates always seems easier than it is in practice. Peter Barry talks on the inclusion of creative assets, being more involved with targeting.

Peter: [00:14:41] We’re seeing more and more in the U.S. that the creative side is being pulled into the conversation now. It’s not just the media guys and the tech guys. Uh, we’re also seeing those creative, uh, folks being brought in. And I think if you can have a round table discussion about how creative can sync with tech, uh, then add our data, then, then all of a sudden, you’ve got a much better model than you did. Uh, via the cookie. I see those more robust, uh, data sets, which means we get more sophisticated targeting and we get better creative in front of the genuinely the right person in the right environment, uh, with an ad that um, enhances their experience.
So I think that is the promise. That was always the promise, but it was not delivered. Now, I think we have an opportunity to deliver on that promise. Um, so that’s what excites me and that is the future, I hope for.

Gavin: [00:15:29] There are many futures ahead and different leaders identified different viable paths forward to sustainable success. Travis Clinger speaks on the promise of the future.

Travis: [00:15:38] I think it’s thought to believe that dialogue with the consumer. I think we have to have the conversation as publishers and as marketers and say let’s explain to the consumer exactly how we’re using the data, what the benefits are to the consumer, and why the consumer should share that data and their identity with us.
So I think as an industry, we’ve done a bad job with this in the past, and now we have this opportunity to do a much better job. So I think as we look towards the future, the future is really a first party relationship between consumer and publisher and first party relationship between consumer and marketer.
It’s not up to the browser to disintermediate those relationships. It’s up to the consumer to control their relationships. Now, we as an ecosystem need to make it easy for the consumer to do it, and we need to make it easy for the consumer to understand what’s happening with their data, to be able to opt out if they want it, to be able to change that if they want.

So there’s a journey that we have to take as an ecosystem, but really starts with how do we explain what we’re doing to the consumer and lean into this privacy wave that’s happening.

Gavin: [00:16:38] Also, Jennifer had some interesting perspectives on the future.

Jennifer: [00:16:43] I actually think that IR was already having a huge impact on what we do from a marketing perspective. At Finder, we work really heavily with bid models that involve machine learning and things like that, and we personally have seen, uh, really, really strong results off the back of those pieces. And a lot of that is because we are, we are using machine learning, powered bidding and things like that, which I think can be, can be very effective.

I personally think it’s really beneficial for the industry. Some of the providers out there, I think have done a really great job of kind of leaning in and leading the charge on that.

Gavin: [00:17:12] Peter Barry knows we can’t identify what every marketer should be doing, but we can encourage communication to develop better technology and in particular with the trend towards video.

Peter: [00:17:24] Uh, it’s gotta be around video. Um, so I went to the Future of TV, um, couple of days back. And, um, again, at your sessions, both in Melbourne and Sydney, uh, what does the future of TV buying look like. The, the, the, the panel sessions, which I think were some of the best panel sessions, actually really exciting around, uh, what VAs are doing when it’s fully formed product, uh, like groundbreaking globally. Um, header bidding for video. It’s header bidding has done great things for display, well-documented, I think to see that move into a video, um, and to allow automated buying, uh, across, you know, the entire, um, uh, inventory set or to be able to get whatever user you want as a programmatic buyer and automated buyer, I think is very exciting. Um, and also that solves for a lot of, uh, user issues, um, that are currently endemic, in, in, in programmatic TV buying. So I think. That’s an exciting area.

Gavin: [00:18:22] Peter also acknowledges there needs to be a shift across the industry towards the long term and away from the short term goals that stemmed from third party cookie reliance.

Peter: [00:18:31] Again, the onus is on us as an industry to come together, whether that’s with the IAB or any other group, uh, to have both the short term. And cookie was a very short term outlook and a long term, uh, view on it. And so we need to do both in parallel. Yeah, we’re guilty of being of, of short termism but I don’t know.
I’m pretty sure you’ve had a couple of events this week. You’re, uh, you have targets like everybody else. I have targets and, generally, I live quarter to quarter, sometimes month to month, sometimes even day to day, believe it or not. Um, and so that encourages short term, short termism. Uh, but we need to get out of that mindset.

Gavin: [00:19:07] The shift moving forward focuses on trust and collaboration. David Bickell from LiveRamp chimes in on that.

David: [00:19:12] So I think the, the onus is now on, on the industry and us as either technology vendors, publishers, brands, marketers, whatever you might be, to regain that trust. Um, make it clear again to, to consumers how we’re collecting their data.

Um, and how exactly we intend to use that data. I think one of the strongest parts of the cookie has also been its biggest weakness in that it’s been this universal identifier for such a long time and everyone’s been able to plug into it and buy and sell using a cookie. And I think one of the downfalls of that is that we’ve relied on that too much.

Um, there hasn’t really been a need for collaboration between brands and marketers and technology vendors in the middle. So I think we’re going to see a, a large shift towards more collaboration and more partnerships.

Gavin: [00:19:56] This shift also centers the consumer again. And Willem Paling considers this refocus towards consumer interaction, a positive stance.

Will: [00:20:05] But I’m genuinely optimistic. I think there’s something really valuable in not being able to measure. Um, it forces people to think more, um, to, you know, you’ve got to think about the interaction between people and ads and how they might remember the ad, how the ad will make people feel. Um, with third party cookies going away we’re going to have to think about digital advertising as more of a human problem and I really think that’s a good thing.

Gavin: [00:20:33] Ashton Media prides itself on our engaging and interactive events. At our Sydney Programmatic Summit 2020 at the beautiful Dolton House in Pyrmont, Sydney, we went around asking people what they thought of the future of programmatic advertising and captured some really interesting predictions.
Rohan: [00:20:50] Quality advertising is the answer. I think the pipes in between don’t really matter, but the creative and the message that they want to put across and getting that to the right user, the right end point. This has been the same in advertising forever. And I think that’s, that’s the message that we need to carry forward into the future.

Gavin: [00:21:05] Rohan from Rubikon went with the, “it’s not what you use, but how you use it” approach. Cheers mate.

Attendee: [00:21:11] Think the trend I’m most excited about in programmatic advertising is on TV. So there’s some really cool things you can do with product insertion and non-intrusive advertising for ah OTT and just TV in general. And as a consumer, I’m really sad about that.

Sophie: [00:21:32] I’m Sophie from Nier. Um, and I think the future of, um, advertising will be audio, mostly because we’ll have fewer screens in five years. And, you know, we have more ear spaced in eye space and, um, you know, audio is under utilized, um, whereas we’ve got too many, too many screens already.

Gavin: [00:21:55] You got to love that she thinks audio is the way forward. Up next, Ben Sharp, or Sharpie as we all know him, from Salesforce thinks programmatic has value and a place.

Ben: [00:22:05] Listen, I think over many years, programmatic has been viewed as a race to the bottom in terms of what publishers can receive in terms of yield and how cheap it is to actually acquire, identify and engage a consumer. Now, it may be, it may well be the case, but if a client can actually use their data to identify the right customer at the right time on the right device, uh, and serve them the right message, then what you’re going to get is really effective consumer acquisition and actually build value to the customer over the full customer life cycle.
So, you know, I think, uh, the one thing that we should all be thinking about is the programmatic is not a race to the bottom, it’s not cheap inventory. It’s actually a way to do really, really effective marketing and a smart way.

Emily: [00:22:52] I’m Emily Yri. I’m Marketing Director for APAC, for PubMatic. Um, I don’t think there’s going to be one winner. Um, I don’t think advertising is going to go away, certainly, but I think there’s a place for contextual is incredibly powerful. Um, but programmatic is the future, and all digital advertising will go the way of programmatic.

Gavin: [00:23:14] One thing is for certain, the future of ad tech is unknown and just like Sir Edmund Hillary needing Tenzing Norgay’s experience and guidance to lead him to where no one had gone before them, we will need brave pioneers to safely guide us through the uncharted waters of the ad tech sea.

On the next episode of Ashton Cast, we’ll be playing the full interview with Dr. Willem Paling, followed by Jennifer Snell, Peter Barry, and then Travis Clinger, the VP of Global Strategy and Partnerships at LiveRamp. Stay tuned.
Ashton Cast Programmatic In Your Pocket is proudly brought to you by our friends at LiveRamp.

Please make sure to subscribe, rate, comment and tell anyone you know that’s interested in this industry about this podcast and your favorite episode. You can find Ashton cast on all the major podcast players, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and more. Go to for more info.

This was produced by Pod Paste and Ashton Media here in Sydney, Australia. Executive Produced by Daren Lake and Gavin Stewart, Audio Engineering by Aemyn Connolly, Storywriting Producer Charles Montano, and additional research and copywriting by Tim McDonald.

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