Questioned by DataCrea News, Arnaud Sirjacq * (Sirdata) overviews  the alternatives to cookies on the market, their advantages and their limits.

Will the cookieless approach make a clean sweep of the past? In other words, will contextual or semantic targeting take precedence over other more user-centric methods ?

No, the cookieless approach will not make a clean sweep of the past. The end of third-party cookies will “just” bring profound changes in the way we target audiences and measure advertising campaigns. These major changes are of two kinds: one concerns the types of targeting, their precision and their reach; the other, the delivery and provision of such targeting.

Regarding the types of targeting, the market is moving towards a multitude of different solutions on which it can rely in order to meet the needs and KPIs of campaigns. The semantic contextual is to date one of the main alternatives already usable. This is the solution most used, the one from which we have the largest perspective and which provides the highest reach. It is also the solution that frees itself the most from the constraints certain players, such as browsers, may impose on the market.

Nevertheless, this targeting  knows limits, in particular of capping and measurement. It does not allow retargeting campaigns to be carried out or to obtain the targeting precision achieved by segments such as demographics (age and gender, for example), which are widely used in campaigns. Under a contextual targeting, demographic category becomes a probabilistic data whereas it is deterministic under a user based targeting.

What are the other alternatives ?

Many initiatives and market players are working to develop user ID solutions, some probabilistic, others deterministic. These solutions rely on email or other types of IDs like IP. It is still too early to provide a complete overview of these solutions, but some elements are already emerging.

First, solutions based on deterministic IDs may only achieve limited reach / target coverage. Conversely, the solutions that theoretically will have a higher reach are probabilistic ID solutions. The latter will respond with a lower level of precision than deterministic solutions. In addition, it should not be forgotten that these solutions will not be able to do without the consent of the user. Finally, these solutions will most likely be subject to changes, decisions, or even restrictions imposed by browsers.

As for the provision of this targeting, the orientation seems to be towards a distribution for the most part "sell side", via the ad servers of publishers. The data will be less available via the marketplaces of programmatic platforms but injected directly at the source, when the pages load.

Can we be cookieless and user-centric ?

Yes, perfectly, because the cookie is only a tracker, a user ID. The cookie is not the only way to target a user. There is, for example, the email, the IP, the device ID (IDFA for Apple and AAID for Android)… I take this opportunity to clearly distinguish what is of the order of "cookieless" and what is the order of "consentless". Cookieless is all about operating in a cookie-free environment, which allows for the use of other types of advertising identifiers. Consentless involves operating in an environment without the user's consent to the use of their personal data for the purposes of targeted advertising, for example. It is therefore for the actors concerned by consentless to rely on another legal basis (such as legitimate interest) or to carry out their actions / campaigns without processing personal data and / or without identifiers.

In the end, where is the value of a contextual approach for the publisher and for the advertiser ?

For the publisher, the semantic contextual enables to better enhance its content and its inventory, especially when it does not have the user's consent. The publisher can thus orchestrate in real time several targeting scenarios according to the user's choices and the solutions he has chosen to meet these needs, in order to better value his inventory.

For the advertiser, the semantic contextual allows him to benefit from a theoretically greater reach, an integration of his advertising optimized in relation to the content on which it is displayed, and an improved perception of his brand among users.

In two words, what does Sirdata offer ?

Sirdata provides its clients with the guarantee of targeting captive or intentional audiences thanks to targeting that respects user choices, whether through contexts and its cookieless predictive tools and / or via tracers and consent management. Different types of targeting are offered: user targeting based on cookies, cookieless user targeting for targeting and retargeting, and contextual semantic cookieless targeting.

Sirdata has also developed a solution called “ADS - Addressability Dynamic Solutions”, for publishers. This solution, available in the form of a Prebid module that can be deployed in a few clicks, makes it possible, depending on the user's choice regarding the use of his personal data, to automate the various targeting solutions mentioned above, and thus optimizing the activations of publishers or advertisers and their performance.

Interview and edited by Luciana Uchôa-Lefebvre