The rise of the brand publisher
4 min read - by Stuart Constable - Head of Copy and Content
We’ve recently written a guide discussing the death of the third-party cookie, which is already having significant implications for the way in which marketing professionals are able to gather customer data.
Already, third-party cookies are disabled on Safari, Mozilla Firefox and the Brave browser. And once Google follows suit and removes this tracking option from their Chrome browser in 2023, at least 87% of all browsers will not permit third-party cookies.
For over a decade, the currency of programmatic advertising has been cookies, but now that’s all about to change. So how will marketers combat this deficit in data?
There are a number of alternatives to cookies, such as User-Enabled IDs and a resurgence in the popularity of contextual marketing, with more being developed by the day. However, one of the most direct strategies for filling the void that cookies will leave is to begin collecting first-party data from your customers. But of course, this will rely on customers consenting for you to use it.
So how do we, as marketers, gain that consent? One strategy is to invest in your credentials as a brand publisher. In this blog, we’ll tell you why that’s so important. And if you want tips on getting it right, you can take a look at this ‘Best Practice for Brand Publishers’ blog.
Why become a brand publisher?
It all boils down to trust. Over the last ten or fifteen years, ad tech has done a particularly bad job of telling your average web user what data is being collected, by whom, and what’s being done with it. As internet privacy becomes an increasingly hot topic, third-party cookies are in the firing line.
And now – as those cookies are ready to be sunsetted – brands must refocus their efforts on winning back the consumer’s trust. Fortunately, there’s a significant content gap that brands are able to fill. Typical trade and industry publications of the pre-digital era have fallen by the wayside, and in its place, there’s been a proliferation of unreliable marketing content.
That means there’s a valuable opportunity for brands to become an authoritative voice in the market. There’s room for thought leadership, which can work alongside the marketing agenda, and those that get it right will be able to trade on the credibility it brings.
Once your brand has a reputation for producing consistently high-quality media and opinion pieces, new prospects and existing customers are increasingly likely to grant that all-important access to their data. And in this case, the holy grail will likely be their email address, as this will underpin many ‘authenticated’ identity solutions in the future.
What value could this bring to your customers?
Beyond the thought leadership we’ve already mentioned, becoming an effective brand publisher will enable a raft of other opportunities to offer your customers value. It’s the key to unlocking first-party data, which is so valuable to any brand’s marketing efforts.
Offering this additional value is something that B2C businesses already do very well. For example, you might visit an online retailer and immediately be served an offer for new customers. It’s time for B2B companies to start using similar strategies for encouraging brand loyalty and incentivising their clients. This may come in the form of discounts, or personalised offers, but it could also be targeted information that helps customers deal with their specific areas of interest.
The key to providing customers with value will be understanding what’s relevant to them. By becoming a brand publisher, you can enable greater insight into what matters to individual customers, and provide them with material that’s tailored to their journey – ultimately this will translate to improved customer experience, reduced churn and greater revenue opportunities.
When do we start?
Immediately. In fact, there’s no time to waste. Any brand that starts moving on this now will have the added benefit of being able to test their brand publisher strategy while the existing cookies ecosystem is still in place. Brands will have time to refine their strategy until the end of 2023 when Google removes third-party cookies, then – all that tracking data linked to third-party cookies goes dark.
What B2B businesses need to be doing is building a first party data strategy. There’s no time to rest on our laurels, we need to be testing new solutions now.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that brand publishing is one piece of a much bigger picture. There’s a lot of technology that will be looking to fill the gap left by third-party cookies. These solutions must be tested right now. Not only will they lay the groundwork for when Google Chrome removes cookies, but they could also be immediately useful for targeting users of Brave, Safari and Firefox, which have already revoked third-party cookies.
The future of brands as publishers
This is bound to become a more common strategy for brands, and it’s reasonable to expect that the space will quickly become saturated, as there are already many available examples of brands managing this to great effect. This is why establishing a strong and credible reputation as a brand publisher now will help to stand out from the crowd in the future.
And of course, this is not something that brands need to undertake on their own. Marketing agencies and partnerships with existing publications will be able to do much of the heavy lifting – the key will be finding an agency that’s ready and able to support you on this journey.
Interested in hearing more about marketing trends for 2022?
Take a look at our report: ‘The future of tech marketing and revenue performance: what’s impacting growth for 2022 and beyond’.
It covers the importance of efficient demand generation, brand and CX as levers for success in the modern era of marketing.
 McKinsey & Co., (2021), https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/why-every-business-needs-a-full-funnel-marketing-strategy
 The B2B Effectiveness Code, B2B Institute (2021)