Let’s talk about Cookie Monster.

The advertising industry has been mourning the disappearance of third-party cookies since Apple introduced its Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) feature in 2017, just as Google announced its Privacy Sandbox plan, and social media has been flooded with cookie monster memes. picture.

But not all cookies are the same and can be divided into first-party and third-party cookies. It is important to distinguish the difference between the two:

First-party cookies are stored on domains (websites) that you visit directly. Website owners can collect and analyze data, memorize language settings, and create other useful functions to enhance user experience. For example: if you buy shoes on the DSW website, every time you return to the website, the system will know that you are the same person. They don’t have your Personally Identifiable Information like Facebook, but they still know you’re the same person.

No one has an opinion on first-party cookies, including Apple and Google, no one has an opinion. First-party cookies are here to stay in the future.

But on the other hand, third-party cookies are at risk. Third-party cookies are generated by a domain other than the website you visit directly. For example: if an ad tech company buys ad placement on a news site, they can create a third-party, rather than a first-party, cookie to identify users who interact with their ad. If the browser blocks third-party cookies, such as Safari, the ad tech company has no way of knowing if the user returns to the site.

Retargeting is another good example. If third-party cookies are blocked, ad tech companies that can’t use first-party cookies won’t be able to identify which sites users go to, and they won’t be able to target users again with ads.

Some companies rely heavily on third-party cookies (“cookie monsters”), while others rely less on them, depending on what type of data you actually need to add value to your customers and attract more website visitors.

Over the past few years, more and more browsers have started blocking third-party cookies (first Apple’s Safari, then Firefox, and most recently Microsoft Edge). But during this period, Taboola is completely immune to the disappearance of third-party cookies for the following reasons:

  • We have our own first party cookies because we are a recommendation engine for content media partners. Taboola recommends editorial content from partner sites, and content publishers will embed our code into web pages so that we can have our own first-party cookies and provide more accurate and personalized recommendations. For example: if someone clicks on sports content, the next time they visit one of our partners’ sites, we’ll show more sports headlines.
  • When users read the content they are interested in, we can compare them through contextual targeting technology , so that our advertisers can reach these users. Over the past few years, we have developed world-class Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology to “understand” the context of web pages, allowing advertisers to target their audiences based on context, without relying on third-party cookies at all. Because Taboola does not purchase ad space through a program, but makes the ad space a part of the web page, so that we can grasp the classification of web pages and recommend relevant keywords for advertisers. This is very important for advertisers. When advertisers buy social media ads, they are actually buying identities that people create for themselves, but not necessarily real identities. People don’t necessarily share topics they think are important on social media, but they read it all the time. Our advertisers can more accurately reach these users based on their real preferences.

So for us, advertising in a world where third-party cookies are gone is not a new concept. In recent years, in the face of third-party cookies, various browsers, “General Data Protection Regulation” (GDPR) or “California Consumer Privacy Act” (CCPA) and other regulations, virtual private network (VPN), ad blocking Programs, or other cookie-less environment blocks, Taboola remains unaffected. The chart below compares our performance on Safari and Chrome mobile devices, demonstrating how effectively we are responding to the crisis of third-party cookie blocking, using first-party cookies from content media sites, and contextual signals to deliver personalized News Feed.

Caption: Blue line is mobile device – Safari; orange line is mobile device – Chrome; Actual revenue per thousand impressions (RPM).

Although Safari announced in 2017 to block third-party cookies, it can be seen from the above chart that Safari’s RPM on mobile devices is better than Chrome mobile devices.

So what about Google’s privacy sandbox? Many actions to block third-party cookies are unilateral, but since the announcement of the privacy sandbox plan, Google has announced that it will cooperate with the industry to strike a balance between user privacy and the needs of advertisers and content media. Because our technology doesn’t rely on third-party cookies, Goolge promises to be as multi-faceted as it has been in the past, plus Adobe’s Flash has been replaced by HTML5, so we’re confident we can perform well once the privacy sandbox is in place.

It’s been a long journey, third-party cookies may disappear, and we’re lucky to be the recommendation engine for our content media partners to meet their editorial needs, so unaffected by these events, we continue to introduce recommendation systems for the open web.