Goodbye Cookies, Hello Video Header Bidding: 2020 Ad Tech Predictions

Goodbye Cookies, Hello Video Header Bidding: 2020 Ad Tech Predictions
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A new decade could well and truly mean a new ad tech ecosystem. In this opinion piece, PubMatic customer success director ANZ Tina Tsang runs through some of the biggest changes coming in 2020.

We’re barely a month into 2020 and the ad tech industry is already showing signs of major upheaval.

Earlier this month, Google made the announcement that it would be phasing out third-party cookies from Chrome over the next two years.

While not a shock (Safari and Firefox have previously implemented such changes), the fact that Chrome accounts for around 70 per cent of all desktop browser usage and 41 per cent of mobile means this is a big deal.

The changes should put the idea of identity front and centre for any marketer, particularly those working in the ad tech space.

With third-party cookies now on the way out, advertisers need to figure out ways to create consumer-friendly solutions backed by first-party data.

This is likely to level the playing field between walled gardens and smaller ad tech players, as identity backed by user data firms is a way to stay privacy compliant.

As a result, we are likely to see a lot more collaboration across all players in the ecosystem over the next two years.

At PubMatic, we’ve been preparing for a future without third-party cookies and just recently launched Identity Hub – which makes it easier for publishers to implement partner IDs and find alternatives for audience addressability without third-party cookies.

The year of video header bidding

Header bidding in display has been shown to be highly effective in recent years and in 2020, we can expect to see this continue to move to video.

What header bidding has achieved is to enhance audience reach, give buyers access to high-quality inventory and increase transparency between publishers and buyers.

Many broadcasters are already implementing the infrastructure as a way to better monetise their assets.

In September last year, we expanded our OpenWrap header bidding solution to include OTT and CTV, making it the first open-source server-side header bidding solution that works across all platforms.

With CTV set to gather increased popularity in 2020, we expect to see the industry continue to make the shift toward video header bidding this year.

The bigger picture

Alongside technical changes around third-party cookies and header bidding, the ad tech industry can also brace for some more large-scale modifications in 2020.

The ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry shows us that governments are willing to put pressure on walled gardens to create a more balanced ecosystem.

What this means for the wider ad tech ecosystem is still somewhat unclear. However, we know consumer privacy is now a fundamental strategic pillar.

With Australia only accounting for around two per cent of their global business, it is unlikely the ACCC’s recommendations will prompt any significant change (at least directly).

However, with the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) midway through a similar inquiry and the Californian government has recently introduced the California Consumer Privacy Act, there is clearly a growing desire for change.

If there is to be any significant change, expect to see it come from the US or EMEA.

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