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Heading For A Cookie-Free World, Acast Gives Its Advertisers A New Targeting Option.

Ad cookies may be rarely used in podcasting, but when an advertiser approaches Acast with a campaign that leans into their use, there is now another option. And that will be pivotal when cookies go away in 2024. Acast has partnered with Comscore’s Proximic to enable cookie-free audience targeting for podcast advertisers.

Third-party cookies have not been used by Acast to target in the past, but there are situations where advertisers bring their own first-party data and then Acast utilizes various data signals, such as cookie data to match against the advertiser’s data set to locate listeners. Now, Acast advertisers will have the option leverage tools to reach podcast listeners based on granular consumer behavior while also relying on privacy-friendly contextual signals.

Proximic’s Predictive Audiences enables targeting based on behaviors such as personas, television viewership, gaming habits, retail purchases, and more, but delivered contextually. It is all made possible through the combination of Comscore’s massive first-party datasets and deep machine learning-backed predictive models. End users will have access to extensive ID-based segments, over 2,600 predictive, ID-less audiences and content-level options to select from.

“The podcast advertising industry has experienced rapid growth in recent years, but has been challenged to harness its full potential largely because innovations in ad tech still lagged behind more traditional media forms,” said Lee Blickstein, VP of Targeting Solutions at Proximic by Comscore. “With Acast’s global platform, agnostic reach, and Proximic by Comscore’s Predictive Audiences capability, podcast advertising is prepared to continue growing in both scale and efficiency despite the continual loss of access to persistent identifiers.”

Comscore launched its dedicated programmatic targeting business Proximic in March to address the evolving ad tech landscape's compounding signal loss with a suite of ID-based and advanced contextual targeting solutions. That included the first-to-market Predictive Audiences to help marketers reach consumers effectively at scale through programmatic channels. The division said earlier this year that it is working with ad platform partners including SXM Media’s AdsWizz, Xandr’s Invest DSP, Basis Technologies, Freewheel’s Beeswax, LiveRamp, and Yahoo, among others.

Elli Dimitroulakos, Global Head of Ad Innovation at Acast, says their partnership with Proximic complements their current third- and first-party targeting capabilities while enhancing scale, performance, and efficiencies for advertisers. “On a global scale, this partnership is significant in further improving addressability throughout the entire podcasting landscape,” she said.

Predictive Audiences is now available to advertisers in each of Acast’s 15 markets around the world, including the U.S.

While it has been delayed several times, the ad market expects cookies to go away by the end of 2024. Google has said it will phase out third-party cookies in Chrome during the second half. And Firefox and Safari have already phased out the third-party cookie, which are tracking codes that marketers place on the computer of a website visitor. Advertisers will still have some data at their fingertips though, as first-party cookies that track basic data about their own website users will still be available.

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