Syno and Bonnier on managing identities in the post-cookie era

As the post-cookie era draws closer, publishers are beginning to take first-party data solutions more seriously when it comes to delivering relevant content to audiences online. At the FIPP D2C Summit in June, Jokke Nurminen, CEO for Syno International, and Malin Backlund, Analyst for Bonnier News in Sweden, talked us through one such solution that the two are already working in collaboration on. 

Opening the session, Backlund explained the shift towards a cookieless future for the company in simple terms: “Moving forward, we do see that we’re not so keen on using third-party cookies in our re-target solutions, and rather we’ll be using our own first-party data for setting up those types of services. In general, we would clearly prefer our first-party data based solutions over third-party solutions.” 

“In particular, that could mean using sign-in data, emails and phone numbers, but of course used in a safe and anonymised way with no data leakage, and also full compliance. Conversely IP addresses for example, we do not think are particularly well suited for this type of role, because they are not designed in that way and they have limited identification capabilities.” 

For Syno, a technology company that helps publishers to implement first-party data solutions in an ethical and anonymised way, using a panel-based solution is key to achieving success in this area. 

“Panels are going to become more and more crucial,” says Nurminen. “From Syno’s side, we have been banging the drum about this for a few years already, but with the death of third-party cookies it is just going to become more and more important. Having your own panels, having volumes, and working with first-party solutions is the way to move forward.”

“As Syno, we are the matching service provider. So we are getting these emails from both the panel provider and the publisher, and the important thing to keep in mind here is that everything is anonymous and GDPR complaint. We receive these emails in a ‘hashed’, anonymous format and then do a matching job to see how much congruency there is between the two. We can then run ad-evaluations on these users.”

In practice, the solution is not so dissimilar to implementing a cookie approach, it’s just that it runs on emails. And as Nurimen explains, the hardest thing to do as we move into a cookieless future is not necessarily to implement new technologies, but convince the media owners that they can still be compliant when operating in this way.  

“The most important piece here is to make sure that everybody understands that we are not seeing or sharing the emails. They are coming in a format that can’t be identified, there is security around it because you are using these hash formats, so everything is very secure.” 

This kind of solution can provide site audience reporting, reach calculation and visitor deduplication for site traffic and campaign impressions, and ultimately targeted advertising and marketing solutions to individual users or aggregate segments. 

In the case of the Bonnier example examined at the D2C Summit, match rates based on hashed emails were significantly higher than using third-party cookies. The system can also be implemented using phone numbers, and more generally this approach can remove current biases within third-party cookies, such as iOS user loss. 

In terms of the industry more generally, Nurimen emphasises that there is still a huge amount to be done in terms of educating individual companies about the importance – and coming impact – of the shift from third to first party data. 

“Yeah, I think that people know that this is going to happen, but I don’t think they really understand that it’s time to do something about it now, if you haven’t started. Because you need this time to actually have something ready. So I would say Bonnier are for sure in the forefront here, and we know what we have to do to move this forward with them now. But more generally, I would say that a lot of other players need to decide and move forward with something.”


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