September 30, 2022 by Linda

Ditch the cookies, they’re not thát great

Ditch the cookies, they’re not thát great


The field of online advertising is ever-changing. The chances of it ever stabilizing for an extended period of time, are nil. And that’s okay - as long as you keep making the right choices. The big question today is whether you, as a publisher, are doing well in terms of privacy management (= the dreaded cookie policy). More and more website visitors are aware of online privacy and the rights they have. If you give them the choice to directly reject all advertising cookies, 88% will do so (Flurry Analytics, 2021). Browsers and software systems responded to this by refusing third-party cookies or by significantly shortening their lifespan (Betagged, n.d.). The biggest development at the moment, however, is the enforcement of the way consent is requested. In March 2022, the Digital Services Act was approved. This law states that publishers must ensure that visitors can easily refuse the use of cookies (and hence personal data), but still have access to the content they are requesting to see in their browser.

Fines for publishers

Many publishers have already been fined mercilessly (TechPulse, 2022) - and rightly so - because visitors were not given a clear choice to refuse cookies and tracking on their website. We’re not just talking about big publishers like Facebook, Amazon and Google. Even smaller, local publishers have been put on the spot. Roularta in Belgium was fined € 50.000 for not asking visitors for their consent to place cookies (Gegevensbeschermingsautoriteit, 2022). Some publishers are switching to a subscription model or a mandatory login, in order to continue offering data to advertisers about target groups - and thus generate data-driven revenue from advertisements. However, with this way of working you still don’t give visitors a choice, and you lose part of your audience. A waste of the total reach, and a big loss for the accessibility of journalism.

Visitors in control

So, if there is a button to refuse cookies (which publishers are now obliged to offer), you will see that the vast majority of visitors will click on that and refuse to share any personal data. At Ster, this percentage was as high as 90%. Too bad, because how do you then determine the right people to target your online ads to? Well, new research from Google shows that this group of people is actually very interesting for both publishers and advertisers. Taking privacy seriously can even bring you new customers. How? The report ‘Privacy by design: the benefits of putting people in control’ shows that people find brands that offer visitors the choice not to give consent for cookies, more trustworthy. Advertising without cookies is even perceived as ten percent more relevant (Emerce, 2022), because visitors appreciate both the publisher and the advertiser better when they see them making an effort to respect their privacy. Our cases for Stichting Vrienden van Sophia [Kinderziekenhuis, ed.] and Husqvarna confirm this: the campaign results for both organisations were at least as good for the no-consent inventory. Offering advertising space for cookieless advertising is therefore a win-win situation: you adhere to the rules, your target group appreciates you more as a publisher and you maintain the revenue stream from advertising, because advertisers realize that cookieless advertising is at least as effective.

Ditch the cookies, they’re not thát great

We, Opt Out Advertising, know from first-hand experience that it pays off to adopt no-consent inventory into the advertising model you offer. Our experiences with Ster (Ster, 2020), regional public broadcasters, local news organizations and Dutch niche titles show that you can guarantee the privacy of visitors ánd continue to host advertisements. This means that this important source of revenue can be there, even with non-consent advertising. Cases with various advertisers have also demonstrated the value of no-consent inventory - for both video and display advertising. Advertisers obviously want maximum reach for their ads within their target group, but by refusing cookies they currently miss about 20% of visitors by default. And this is only considering the current way most organizations request consent, for which people often still have to change the settings themselves. Can you imagine how fast this group grows when they get served with the ‘reject all’-button? As shown by the percentages of iOS and Ster, where respectively 88% and 90% of visitors rejected all cookies immediately. If you show that group an advertisement regardless, campaign results show that these ads score at least as well - if not better - as ads placed with consent. For publishers this means that you don’t have to become dependent on a login- or subscription model. This confirms Google’s research, which shows that it’s precisely with this group of visitors that you can reach a conscious consumer, who appreciates that your company respects their online privacy. You become ‘the good guy’, if you will.

Understandable. It’s interesting for multiple reasons, as we illustrated in this article. Opt Out Advertising specializes in no-consent inventory. We work for both publishers and advertisers and we can help you set up a cookie-free online advertising strategy tailored to your organization’s wishes. Don’t wait for cookie-advertising to disappear completely (you never know when that might happen, the field is ever-changing) or a fine for getting it wrong (such a waste) to get started with no-consent inventory. Want to discover the opportunities for your domains and apps? Contact us at


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