March 5, 2020

“It’s all about the brands, ’bout the brands, no Cookies”

In two years time, with no third party cookies to target customers, will advertisers want to be fighting over unproven audiences with display, or working with highly engaging brands across a range of innovative touch points to a passionate audience?

Our CEO, Kate Burns and myself represented Brave Bison for the first time at the Digiday Publishing Summit in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

This summit is attended by media owners from across Europe and beyond and includes attendees such as Vice, Telegraph, Guardian, Global Radio, New York Times, Conde Nast, Economist, Little Dot and Financial Times to name a few.

Across three days, together we tackled key industry topics and challenges including content optimisation, product, audiences, data and monetisation.

Above everything else, the one issue that kept being discussed was the demise of third party cookies.

In a nutshell this is the challenge that Google, in two years time, are going to stop third parties from gathering data through Chrome. What this means is that publishers and advertisers are facing the prospect of finding it more difficult to serve display advertising to targeted audiences on their platforms, or at least be forced to use first party platforms like Google and Facebook more frequently/closely.

Publishers who rely on display advertising on their own platforms are quite rightly worried about this, and no solution has been found as yet to fill the potential revenue shortfall from display ads. Rather than just wait and see what Google will do, time and resources will be spent looking for ways around it, to fight it, to explore patch ups whilst at the same time evolving editorial products. It will require a lot of effort and focus.

At Brave Bison we are a cross platform business that works with first party data, so the impact is not the same and I do not want to dismiss the cookie crisis. However, I believe it gives not only us as publishers an opportunity, but also the industry at large, to engage audiences deeper, be more transparent and change the narrative away from a dependence on display revenue.

Brand loyalty will become key and the north star, driven by providing the ideal content for your audience. Editorial distribution and products will need to evolve with video, audio and newsletters for instance making up part of a great editorial mix that needs to be measured as a sum of parts. Through this loyalty diversified revenue streams can be realised via branded content, subscriptions, e-comm, events, awards, brand licensing and more.

This is exactly what our publisher strategy at Brave Bison is focused on. Great content for a bespoke audience that builds loyalty and transcends video into deeper engagement. For our sustainable ‘Mutha’ brand, awards, sustainability events, vouchers and shop boxes offer a glimpse into the opportunity for the brand and partners. Our arts brand Canvas has launched its first e-commerce products but courses, retreats and M&L are as yet unexplored possibilities. And our VTRND brand which already engages over 50 million unique fans per month across Snap, Facebook and TikTok may be the ideal focal point for long form OTT partners.

Simply put we are just scratching the surface but brands and content surely have to be the winners here. We’re at the start of the journey but have a great and exciting opportunity in front of us.”

– Ben Sinden, Managing Director, Publishing at Brave Bison