Publisher Ad Monetization After the Third-Party Cookie

First-Party Data Strategy Comes to the Fore

About This Report
The deprecation of the third-party cookie in Chrome will be significantly disruptive for publishers that monetize their sites with advertising. Here’s how web publishers are preparing for a future without third-party cookies.

Executive Summary

The deprecation of the third-party cookie in Google’s Chrome browser, a change expected by 2022, is driving publishers to create alternative paths to generating digital display advertising revenues on their websites. But the death of the cookie also opens up unique opportunities for content publishers to reclaim a central role in the digital ad ecosystem as entities with direct, trusted relationships with their audiences.

How will the deprecation of the third-party cookie affect publishers’ ability to monetize their sites?

Publishers are the most exposed parties to third-party cookie loss, which will affect ad addressability, causing programmatic cost per thousand (CPM) pricing on the unidentified web to plummet. Publishers expect to increasingly leverage their own first-party data in a cookieless future.

How are publishers evaluating new or proposed identity solutions?

Like marketers, publishers are examining various identity solutions designed to replace the third-party cookie as a persistent identifier on the web. Buy-side adoption will be among the strongest incentives for publishers to integrate any solution, but publishers should also ensure that solutions are compliant with data privacy regulation, will drive yield, and are manageable for their teams and on their sites.

How can publishers prepare for the deprecation of the third-party cookie in Chrome?

Publishers are building or expanding their first-party data strategies, such as increasing their authenticated users, advancing their contextual and behavioral data collection and insights capabilities, and exploring data collaborations with advertisers or brands. Work is also being done in, in collaboration with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), to develop a standardized taxonomy that would allow publisher first-party segments to be transacted programmatically at scale.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report investigates how publishers are evaluating identity solutions, building first-party data strategies, and collaborating with partners to monetize their sites without the third-party tracking cookie.

KEY STAT: Nearly half (49%) of US digital media professionals polled by Integral Ad Science in October 2020 cited third-party cookie deprecation as one of their top three challenges for the industry in the following 12 months.

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    Table of Contents

    1. Executive Summary
    2. Setting the Stage
    3. Publisher First-Party Data Strategies
    1. Key Takeaways
    2. Insider Intelligence Interviews
    3. Read Next
    1. Sources
    2. Media Gallery

    Charts in This Report

    Interviewed for This Report

    Sara Badler
    Senior Vice President, Advertising and Partnerships
    Interviewed January 12, 2021
    Paul Bannister
    Chief Strategy Officer
    Interviewed January 19, 2021
    Andrew Baron
    Vice President, Machine Learning and Marketplace
    Interviewed January 8, 2021
    Phil Bohn
    Senior Vice President, Sales and Revenue
    Interviewed January 19, 2021
    Yigael Chetrit
    Adwanted Group
    Global CTO
    Interviewed January 14, 2021
    Mark Connon
    COO and General Manager
    Interviewed January 8, 2021
    Kerel Cooper
    Interviewed January 12, 2021
    Chris George
    Group Nine Media
    Interviewed January 22, 2021
    Benoit Hucafol
    Smart AdServer
    Head of Product
    Interviewed January 21, 2021
    Romain Job
    Smart AdServer
    Chief Strategy Officer
    Interviewed December 14, 2020
    Jason Kint
    Digital Content Next
    Interviewed January 6, 2021
    Amit Kotecha
    Marketing Director
    Interviewed January 27, 2021
    Stephanie Layser
    News Corp.
    Vice President, Advertising Technology and Operations
    Interviewed January 14, 2021
    Amanda Martin
    Goodway Group
    Vice President, Enterprise Partnerships
    Interviewed January 15, 2021
    Garrett McGrath
    Vice President, Product Management
    Interviewed January 13, 2021
    Jana Meron
    Insider Inc.
    Senior Vice President, Programmatic and Data Strategy
    Interviewed January 13, 2021
    Scott Messer
    Leaf Group
    Senior Vice President, Media
    Interviewed January 22, 2021
    Ian Meyers
    Head of Addressability Product
    Interviewed February 6, 2021
    Jordan Mitchell
    Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Tech Lab
    Senior Vice President, Head of Consumer Privacy, Identity, and Data
    Interviewed January 19, 2021
    Cory Munchbach
    Interviewed January 19, 2021
    Ryan Pauley
    Vox Media
    Chief Revenue Officer
    Interviewed January 21, 2021
    Mike Peralta
    Future plc
    Chief Revenue Officer
    Interviewed January 25, 2021
    Dave Pond
    Head of Media Strategy and Operations
    Interviewed January 15, 2021
    Premesh Purayil
    Interviewed January 22, 2021
    Sunil Rao
    Vice President, Analytics
    Interviewed January 13, 2021
    Joe Root
    Co-Founder and CEO
    Interviewed January 27, 2021
    Somer Simpson
    Vice President, Product Management
    Interviewed January 20, 2021
    Alexandra Theriault
    Chief Customer Officer
    Interviewed January 19, 2021
    Len Ostroff
    Senior Vice President, Global Supply and Partnerships
    Interviewed January 15, 2021
    Jason White
    Senior Vice President, Head of Publishers
    Interviewed January 11, 2021

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    Audrey Schomer


    Ross Benes
    Senior Analyst
    Caroline Fulford
    Senior Researcher
    Nicole Perrin
    Principal Analyst
    Tracy Tang
    Senior Researcher