Dear publishers, ace your first-party strategy from day one

Dear publishers, ace your first-party strategy from day one

Make sure your advertising revenues don’t take a major hit when Google switches off its 3rd party cookies next year. Here’s a blueprint for publishers wondering about the next steps

If you’re a news or media publisher, you are probably in a whirlwind of ideas and concerns about how Google’s deprecation of 3rd party cookies is going to affect your digital advertising revenues. Google’s confirmation that it does intend to follow its stated timeline of 2024 for switching off the cookies has upped the uncertainty you deal with in your world. 

Whether or not you’ve read our previous blogs in this series, designed to help you understand if you’re ready to live in a (3rd-party) cookieless world and what you can do to jumpstart your 1st-party strategy, you know wait and watch cannot be the answer for you. You need to get going where others in your industry are headed. 

And they’re headed towards implementing their first-party cookie strategy. In this third and last blog of this series on what we call ‘Life in a cookieless world’, we’re giving you a clear blueprint to formulate your first-party strategy from a scratch.

Phase 1 – Getting the right tools

As we’ve said before, the first thing you need in this direction is a world-class newspaper CMS. If you want to understand in detail how a newspaper CMS can digitally transform your newsroom, read A robust News CMS, the key to more efficient newsrooms. It’s important to know that a Newsroom CMS will multiply your distribution capabilities and make your operations data-driven – which includes how your choose your stories, what angles you present it from, how and where you share your stories, and how you target diverse audiences with the same piece of content. 

Phase 2 – Growing your database

Once you have that, you begin to optimise your content and your team’s powers of collaboration, research, and archiving, as well as distribution. That way, you will be able to share your content faster and more efficiently. As you know, in the news and media industry, early bird gets the engagement – the life-blood of first-party (and second-party) cookies. 

Now, what you’ll see is a build-up in your data; your focus should be on adding to your email lists, growing your database and managing it wisely. Data analytics will help you understand the hidden intent behind the engagement on your stories – was it the compelling headline, was it the author, was it the subject… or any other factor that drove the engagement? 

You use these parameters to craft stories that replicate and grow this level of engagement. On the data side, you aggregate your data and look for opportunities to collaborate with brands whose ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) matches your audience. This becomes your opportunity to find 2nd-party cookies. 


You build loyal audience because engaging with your content brings them closer to brands they want to associate with. You build strong relationships with brands because your content helps them find the right customer. It’s a win-win. 

Phase 3 – What happens to ads?

In short, they get better across a variety of media. Largely speaking, mobile marketing already doesn’t use 3rd-party cookies. When Google goes off third-party cookies, it doesn’t mean switching off advertising on the whole. It can’t – that’s the company’s largest revenue pie. 

Google has launched its privacy sandbox project which is developing purpose-built APIs. One of its key aims is to ‘Enable publishers and developers to keep online content free’ while providing them with privacy-preserving alternatives for their key business needs, including serving relevant content and ads. By signing up for it, you would not only stay updated but also be able to participate in the new developments, maybe even take part in trials. 

In fact, if done right, your digital advertising is set to get better since you will now have a deeper understanding of what your audience wants. Your ads will now be backed by more contextual content and will make a greater impact.