Home The Big Story The Big Story: The Stages Of Cookie Grief

The Big Story: The Stages Of Cookie Grief


As it does every January, the advertising industry gathered this week for the IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting (ALM), seeking guidance on the many existential crises facing online advertising.

In this episode of The Big Story, AdExchanger Executive Editor Sarah Sluis reports back from the event.

One of her biggest takeaways? When it comes to the death of third-party cookies, ad tech seems to be going through the five stages of grief.

For years, the industry was in denial that cookies would ever really go away. Then, at last year’s ALM, IAB CEO David Cohen seemed to channel the industry’s anger – at the FTC and other regulators pushing for more consumer data privacy protection, and at platforms eager to use that push for privacy to seize even more control over the marketplace.

This year, ad tech finally hit the bargaining stage, as tech vendors scramble to find partnerships and strike deals that will position them well in the post-cookie era. It’s the start of what Cohen calls an “in-between” period for the industry.

But, while cookies were top of mind, there were plenty of other key topics debated at ALM, including the increasingly complicated legislative landscape around data usage and the need to protect kids’ data in particular. Plus, there was the usual strategizing on best practices for emerging channels like CTV and retail media.

All eyes on AI

Meanwhile, the FTC recently hosted its first-ever summit on AI. AdExchanger Senior Editor Hana Yoo reports back on regulators’ main priorities when it comes to this fast-developing technology.

Their No. 1 task? Protecting competition in a sector that’s quickly becoming dominated by a handful of Big Tech companies – a problem the digital advertising industry knows all too well.

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