Cookies: chocolate chip, sugar, and third-party

Friday, December 4 is “National Cookie Day” here in the United States.  While this fun holiday is 100% about edible sweet treats and has nothing to do with digital marketing and browser technology (as far as I know), we couldn’t...

By Rachel Parkin

Friday, December 4 is “National Cookie Day” here in the United States. 

While this fun holiday is 100% about edible sweet treats and has nothing to do with digital marketing and browser technology (as far as I know), we couldn’t miss this opportunity to talk about both. And throw in some half-baked puns, naturally.

Content creators feed America’s sweet tooth

When you want to bake something sweet, you know exactly where to go: the internet. 

You want photography that makes your mouth water. You want tried and tested recipes. You want tips and tricks.

You even want the backstory about how grandma made these cookies every year and they became a treasured secret recipe.

I trust the content put out by independent creators — and so does the rest of the internet:

When America wants to bake, content creators have their back:

Especially this year. With various lockdowns and quarantines since the onset of COVID, people have been baking up a storm, seeking comfort and diversion:

And publishers rose to the challenge, putting out new recipes to meet these needs:

And when Google searches for “cookie” hit the highest point of the year in the week leading up to Christmas, we know where those people are going to land. This holiday season, America is baking cookie recipes developed by CafeMedia publishers.

It’s bigger than just cookies

It’s beauty tips. 

DIY decorating ideas. 

Algebra tutorials. 

Hiking guides. 

Vegan recipes.

Video game walk-throughs.  

Pregnancy advice. 

News about your favorite sports team. 

Car maintenance how-tos. 

Tips for taking care of exotic pets.

Personal finance lessons. 

Games to play with toddlers. 

Reviews for local restaurants, attractions, events.

Trustworthy news.

And much more.

Independent content creators are the taste-makers of the internet. 

64% of Americans say that online content creators help them discover more things, and that what they read on those sites impacts their actions. 

79% of regular readers report a high likelihood of acting on the ideas they get from independent content creators online. 

73% of Americans also prefer to support independent businesses over large corporations — they find content creators more relatable because they want advice and inspiration “from people like me.” (Source: CafeMedia Content in the Digital Age Study, July 2020)

CafeMedia publishers reach over 60% of all US internet users. Each minute, readers visit tens of thousands of pages on CafeMedia publishers’ websites and, over the course of a year, they collectively spend over 613 MILLION hours enjoying high-quality original content… for free.

Advertising fuels this content creation

How do content creators put out this incredible, trusted content day after day, at no charge to the rest of us? 

Many content creators primarily support their websites by displaying ads. Similar to renting a billboard on the highway, advertisers pay to show ads on websites.

And today, third-party cookies fuel online advertising

Today, advertisers rely on one primary technology to ensure that they reach the right audience with their ads: the third-party cookie

Cookies (of the non-edible variety) are small files dropped through the browser that allow advertising technology firms to identify information about users and use that information to show customized advertising and measure ad performance. “Third-party” means that while the cookie is dropped when you’re visiting a specific website, it’s coming from another source — the advertising technology.

The future of digital advertising is currently in flux. Google Chrome is the last major browser that still supports third-party cookie technology and has said it will cease support in early 2022. Without this level of information about website visitors, advertisers have a much harder time proving that their spending is effective. Without alternatives, advertisers will spend even more money with giant platforms like Facebook and Google.

Lower advertiser spending means less ad revenue for publishers — the ad revenue that makes the entire business model of free content on the internet possible.

We’re baking up a privacy-centric future of our own

CafeMedia empowers 3,000 publishers to make a living doing what they love — producing great content — while we manage the advertising for them. From food to home to news and technology and more, we represent the influential voices who make the internet a better place. As the largest exclusive publisher network, we’re focused on making sure content creators can CONTINUE to create more great content, funded by advertising.

Right now, the online advertising system is largely based on information about website visitors, but that leaves a lot to be desired for user privacy. For advertising-fueled content to be viable long into the future, the industry needs to make some big improvements to prioritize user privacy, and we’re committed to being a leader in making those changes.

Right now that looks like a number of different things:
  • Working on a technical alternative to third-party cookies with more built-in privacy, through our involvement with the W3C, the organization that creates browser standards.
  • Testing other alternatives to third-party cookies, like hashed email identity, that are more privacy-conscious and help advertisers direct their budgets to open web content creators.
  • Continuing to lead in contextual advertising advancements, allowing advertisers to make more informed decisions based on the content surrounding the ad — for example, showing an ad for a blender next to a smoothie recipe.
  • Growing and building new relationships with advertisers directly thanks to our ad sales team, so our partners understand the quality of the audience they can reach through the CafeMedia publishers — the 11th largest property on the internet.
  • Telling the story of independent content creators and the ad-supported open web so everyone understands how the world gets its high-quality content for free and why it’s so crucial to protect this diversity of voices!

So for National Cookie Day this year, whether you’re enjoying a statistically-likely chocolate chip cookie or any one of the millions of unique pieces of content created by independent publishers, and available 24/7 at your fingertips…

Be thankful for the content creators who fill our stomachs, hearts, and minds with FREE and amazing content. 

Our world is a whole lot more delicious, rich, and informed thanks to them!