These Ad-Tech Players Are Teaming Up to Challenge Facebook and Google’s Data Dominance

Creating a common cookie to compete

By working together, several ad-tech players think they can compete with Facebook and Google.
Sources: Getty Images

A trio of ad-tech companies—AppNexus, MediaMath and LiveRamp—have founded a new consortium tasked with creating standards for programmatic advertising in hopes of taking on Facebook and Google’s walled gardens.

“Today, 48 percent of all digital advertising dollars accrue to just two companies—Facebook and Google,” said Brian O’Kelley, CEO of AppNexus. “That dynamic has placed considerable strain on the open internet companies that generate great journalism, film, music, social networking and information.”

The three tech companies are working to essentially pool their data together to create a common cookie, pieces of code that track users across websites. In theory, brands will be able to target ads using more information gleamed from multiple publishers. Index Exchange, Rocket Fuel, LiveIntent and OpenX are also participating in the consortium. “The benefits to this include more reach on targeted audiences, better optimization and attribution given more data being unlocked by a unified view of the digital consumer,” explained Philipp Tsipman, vp of product at MediaMath.

Both Facebook and Google use sophisticated targeting tactics because their technology is tied to an account that creates mini profiles on users’ preferences and whereabouts. In programmatic, cookies are often proprietary to one company, making it hard for marketers to reach the same people across multiple devices or websites. The consortium will create an “identity resolution” that the companies claim will allow advertisers to target their ads as precisely as Facebook and Google using anonymous data.

Facebook and Google’s so-called duopoly has caused some marketers to question what data they get from campaigns and brand safety concerns have popped up on both platforms recently. The consortium plans to address those issues by working with multiple publishers and Travis May, president and gm of LiveRamp added that there’s a need to tie digital media with offline data like in-store sales. “There’s huge demand for leveraging a deterministic, omnichannel identifier in the bid stream as marketers want to improve their interactions with consumers by linking data from customer files and offline channels to media exposure in programmatic channels.”