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About the Series

Welcome to the Ad Tech Build vs. Buy Series. In this series, we’ve tapped the expertise of our team, each of which has years of industry experience working with the pieces of the ad tech stack you’re considering implementing or purchasing.

In today’s entry in the series, we rely on the expertise of Nathan Thomas, our Senior Vice President of Ad Operations. He has over 13 years of experience in ad tech, specifically in helping to manage the technology across the ad tech stack. If anyone can tell you what you’ll need to know to decide on the right strategy for implementing ad serving solutions, it’s him!

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Is it Time for an Identity Solution?

The clock is ticking. Publishers and advertisers have until the end of 2023 to pick an identity solution that works for them. That’s when Google is going to truly put an end to the third-party cookie

Without an identity solution, all that lovely third-party data that has come from tracking users across the web disappears. Suddenly, publishers and advertisers can’t deliver targeted ads and content. That means a huge hit to revenue for both parties.

Many entrepreneurial ad tech hounds caught the scent of this problem and began building solutions to the cookie-less future. These are identity solutions. But should you do the work of integrating one or a few of the dozens of identity solutions that have popped up, or should you buy into a platform like Playwire — one that handles it all for you? That’s what we explore below.

Playwire understands how important data is to your ability to generate revenue. That’s why we have made data management and monetization priority number one. We work with and for publishers, and we don’t plan to let them down. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

Context: Why Identity Solutions Matter Now More Than Ever

You are probably already aware of a lot of the changes in tracking and user data that have been happening: Google announced that it was going to kill the third-party cookie in its Chrome browser. The advertising and publishing industries freaked out. Google delayed the end date.

That about sums it up. In short, the end is still coming. But we now have some more time to figure this thing out. How are publishers and advertisers going to make their business models work without the tracking capabilities of the third-party cookie? There are dozens of proposed solutions, and each idea has multiple platforms forming around it — each assuring publishers that theirs is the way and is worth the money.

They can’t all be right. Many won’t be. But the fact remains: you need something to replace the third-party cookie before 2024 rolls around. You’re left with two basic options: 

  1. Build an identity solution by integrating several of the identity management platforms with your existing ad tech stack and hope that at least one of them is going to come out on top.
  2. Buying a done-for-you identity and revenue management solution like Playwire — one that can change with the times and that will always put your revenue first.

Building an Identity Management Solution

Option one is going with one or several third-party identity solutions. To be clear, this option is like the Wild West. Almost no one knows what’s going on, and while there are front-runners, nobody knows which one is going to occupy a long-term place in ad tech.

So, if you go this route, you have to integrate a bunch of them to give yourself a better chance of choosing the right one. That means you have a lot of development work. You have to make your chosen identity solutions work with your programmatic and header bidding ecosystem; you have to integrate the actual identity module on your site; and you have to repeat the entire process for each solution you choose.

That’s weeks, if not months, of expensive development work. On top of that, you have to sign contracts with each partner, manage the entire thing and make sure it’s working properly at all times. 

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Using an Established Identity Solution

The alternative? Working with a company like Playwire. Our team has done or is doing all of that work we described above. That means you don’t have to do the development, integrations, contracts or management. It’s all baked into our back end, and it’s scalable. You just sign up, put our code on your site and sit back.

There are similar solutions. But most of those are centered on the supply-side platform (SSP) side, which means they are going to favor demand from that SSP. With Playwire, you get what’s best for you — not what’s best for us. You get data and identity management that protects your revenue alongside a team dedicated to making sure everything is working exactly as it should.

Scaling with First-Party Data: Buying In Wins Out

It’s clear that buying a comprehensive identity solution like Playwire is much easier than building your own. But there’s another consideration that makes Playwire even better: first-party data.

Your first-party data — the data you have on your website’s users — is valuable, but on its own, your data on 300,000 users is going to mean next to nothing to advertisers. They want millions and billions. 

When combined with the rest of the data across the Playwire network, advertisers can get those millions and billions. We’ll add your first-party data to our custom network-wide audiences to make it really mean something to buyers. In other words, you get access to the scale needed to really take advantage of direct sales — and the higher inventory value that comes with it — without having to scale yourself.

Playwire: The Solution to the Identity Solution Problem

Identity solutions are meant to solve the cookie problem. Now, they have created a new problem: there are too many, and no one knows which one is going to take the lead in the end. Many will fade, leaving the publishers who trusted them in just about the same problematic place they started.

Even if you are relatively confident in a particular identity solution (or solutions), you still have to integrate it with your existing ad tech stack. That’s a lot of development work. It’s weeks spent focusing on identity and data when you could have been focusing on content and revenue. Fortunately, there’s a better option: Playwire.

We’re working hard every day to make the cookie-less future a great one for publishers. Identity management will play a big part in that, but we already have an enormous pool of first-party data to close the revenue gap as the tracking situation develops. You can get in on this, and you should if you want to grow your revenue. All you have to do is contact us. Just reach out online.

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