Navigating a cookieless future: Supply-side think tank recap

Published: November 15, 2023 by Experian Marketing Services

Strategies to prepare you for a cookieless future

A few weeks ago, Experian and OpenX hosted a supply-side think tank at our New York City office. Over 70 industry leaders met to talk about targeting in a cookieless future and how we can reach consumers in intentional ways.

Publishers and supply-side partners shared what challenges they face, what solutions they’re considering, and what the future holds once the third-party cookie begins to deprecate in 2024. In this blog post, we’ll cover the top challenges, cookieless solutions, and actionable strategies we discussed at the event that can help publishers, their partners, and agencies make informed decisions about how to navigate tomorrow’s digital ecosystem.

Four main challenges

Four main challenges were discussed at the event:

First-party data monetization

Publishers possess a wealth of first-party data, but collecting and centralizing this information can be difficult for actionable insights. Streamlining data centralization and organizing first-party data is crucial for effective decision-making. Even with a wealth of first-party data, it’s important to be aware of any blind spots in your data and enrich those gaps with data partners rooted in offline connections.

“We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the supply-side think tank led by OpenX and Experian, two industry leaders in navigating a cookieless future. We’re excited to collaborate with them on testing privacy sandbox APIs, identity resolution products, and audience development tools to enhance creator monetization and support an open internet amidst rapid technological and regulatory shifts.”

Patrick McCann, SVP, Research, Raptive

Lack of authenticated data and persistent IDs

The deprecation of third-party cookies means there will be a shortage of authenticated user data and persistent identifiers. Without this information, targeting and personalization become more challenging. Participants discussed the need to find alternative ways to gather and use personal data responsibly. It’s time to start evaluating data partners who have accurate, multi-source compiled, privacy-compliant data with the dedication to reach and recency.

Fragmentation and scale with alternative IDs currently in the market

The multitude of alternative identifiers in the market poses a challenge for publishers. Each of these identifiers comes with its own set of rules and integration processes, leading to fragmentation and complexity. Publishers must find ways to navigate this landscape. Look to ID agnostic partners who provide a way to access multiple IDs at scale.

“The industry needs a more streamlined standard to integrate alternative IDs, given the ongoing challenges of third-party cookie deprecation, measurement, and clean rooms. This burden falls heavily on product and engineering teams, who must prioritize and address these issues one at a time.”

Ryan Boh, Head of Identity, Lockr


Cookie deprecation is almost here. It is crucial to organize your legal, engineering, and product resources, and align internal go-to-market strategies. Establish partnerships that work with your team to follow these timelines and help build phased or cohesive strategies to prepare for a path to monetization. It is imperative to establish a sense of urgency and not wait for others to take the lead. Start testing now to determine if your infrastructure is ready and capable. Many partners who attended the think tank offered insights on how they’ve been tackling challenges to help their industry peers.

Solutions and action plans for a cookieless future

Participants discussed ways they are starting to prepare for a cookieless future and other approaches on their roadmaps:

Work with data partners heavily rooted in offline data across the ecosystem

Enriching your first-party data with partners who rely on offline IDs can help bridge gaps in your audience knowledge. This approach allows you to build a more complete audience profile while third-party cookies are still operational.

Experian is rooted in deterministic offline data and has decades of experience managing it safely. We have insights on over 250 million U.S. consumers and 126 million U.S. households. With our digital technology assets, we bring in 4 billion devices and 1 trillion device signals to definitively connect offline records to online identifiers. With Experian identity widespread adoption throughout the industry, we’re able to provide a common language for us all to collaborate. Experian identity organizes people into households, links their digital devices and IDs to them, enriches their identity with behavioral attributes, and then makes this data actionable in any environment, all while maintaining consumer privacy and data regulations.

Experian’s supply-side think tank provided a platform for publishers and AdTech companies to discuss the challenges posed by cookie deprecation, privacy regulation updates, and identity restrictions. It highlighted the need for AdTech companies to assist publishers in addressing anonymous users without requiring a value exchange — fostering a mutually beneficial and privacy-compliant open web solution.”

Anthony Caccioppoli, Head of AdTech & Solutions, Insider

Develop your own persistent ID

Creating and maintaining a proprietary persistent ID can be a valuable cookieless solution. It provides control and independence in the new environment post cookie, giving publishers the ability to maintain a consistent user profile.

Use your data to expand contextual targeting opportunities

Contextual targeting involves placing ads based on the content of the web page rather than user data. In the absence of cookies, this strategy can prove effective in reaching relevant audiences.

“The masking or deprecation of IP addresses will eventually impact the availability of addressable IDs in non-authenticated web environments. In addition to ensuring maximum resiliency of our Graph and increasing support for authentication-based IDs, we are also investing in research and development around the use of other signals, such as contextual data, to maintain behavioral targeting inside non-authenticated environments. We will be sharing our findings and future plans in this space in the coming months.”

Budi Tanzi, VP, Product, Experian

Facilitate a knowledge exchange

Reach out to your network to find out what others are testing and what’s working. Start collaborating with agencies and brands across the buy-side to meet their needs.

“The collaborative spirit displayed by our partners constantly inspires me. Listening to the obstacles our industry faces allows this community to build strong relationships, create action plans, and deliver true value.”

Carly Allcorn, Account Executive, Publisher & Supply-Side Partnerships, Experian

Invest in an identity graph

Invest in an identity graph provider to sync first-party cookies and addressable IDs. This ensures that your data remains accessible and actionable in a cookieless world.

“Many participants at our think tank with Experian expressed the need to find an identity solution while also exploring other ways they can start to address cookie deprecation while maintaining business as usual.”

Callie Askenas, Director of Publisher Development, OpenX

How Experian and OpenX can help

Graph from Experian captures all available digital identifiers in real-time and resolves them back to individuals and households. We’re signal agnostic, continuously expand the IDs we support, and futureproof identity resolution through a combination of deterministic, probabilistic, and cookieless identifiers.

Experian is a key player in OpenX’s OpenAudience solution and helps to power many of their data segments as well as their identity graph. While OpenX collaborates with a variety of providers and operates a fully interoperable platform, Experian remains valuable to the core technology within OpenX’s supply-side platform (SSP).

Experian can help you prepare for the cookieless future

It’s clear that the cookieless future poses some unique challenges for publishers, but there are solutions. Publishers and their supply-side partners can come up with strategies to target consumers in intentional ways by continually testing multiple identifiers and cookieless solutions, developing their own persistent ID, creating velvet rope content, and returning to contextual targeting. Collectively, these actionable strategies can help ensure that publishers have a more successful transition into a cookieless future.

Experian has been preparing for signal loss for quite some time and we continue to make substantial investments to ensure our resiliency and the resiliency of our customers. We continue to diversify our signal creating profiles with more persistent identifiers which allows us to pair authentication-based universal identifiers such as UID2 into our Graph seamlessly.

Experian is ready and we are here to navigate the future of privacy together.

To find out more about how Experian can help you prepare for the cookieless future, get in touch with a member of our team today.

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