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After browsers banned 3rd party tracking, publishers are switching to tracking you themselves

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There seem to be only three things certain in life: death, taxes – and digital publishers and advertisers finding their way around any attempt to stop them from using and compromising personal data as a business model.

Take LadBible, a UK-based viral content social publisher – who, finding the existing “open marketplace ad-buying” to be increasingly unreliable – moved to find a way to better monetize their audience, that was previously apparently all vast reach, but not enough ad dollars.

Digiday writes about this “smarter formula” that has resulted in a 160 percent ad revenue increase for the company over the past six months.

The “open marketplace ad-buying” is bad enough – as it relies on third-party cookies – the tiny, invasive bits of data left on a user’s device to identify and track it in the future. And while first-party cookies are lodged into a user’s hard drive by the actual site they visit – the third party variety comes from other domains, often used for tracking and ad serving, and represents a serious problem to privacy and security of users.

In a world increasingly aware of this fact – and of browsers increasingly eager to accommodate their users’ worries in this regard, the likes of LadBible have decided to target first-party cookies instead.

They are rarely blocked because they are often seen as essential for browsing the internet.

The “volatility” of the digital ad market, where Apple’s Safari – and Mozilla’s Firefox – are moving to ban or limit ad-oriented third-party cookies – “plus tighter scrutiny from data protection regulators” – all meant LadBible had to find ways to “diversify.”

The company did it by coming up with “a first-party data management platform,” according to DigiDay.

It works by allowing LadBible to monitor users as they click on one of its articles from another platform, including by telling the company what that platform was, and when the action occurred.

“It also stores who they (users) are, and when they return,” the article said, and explained:

“The publisher can start to piece together a profile on them that’s contextual-based and includes individuals’ purchase intent, so they can offer more interest-based segments as well as track which people are interested in what content in order to send them a related ad within seconds while they’re still on the page.”

All this has helped the company start earning much more than the previous figure of up to one billion per month. that came from ad impressions reliant on the open exchange.

Now, LadBible can show customers hungry for “evidence of sophisticated audience-targeting capabilities” that it is in possession of “the granular data on who (its) readers are to convince agencies to spend more with them.”

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, join Reclaim The Net.

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