Presented by Jeeng

For years, digital publishers have relied on third-party cookies to help them learn about audience behavior in a sort of ad hoc, outsourced data strategy. By relying on ad targeting through cookies, they could also infer a bit about their site visitors’ preferences and behavior.

But publishers didn’t actually own that data; they only borrowed it from third-party ad servers. And, thanks to privacy concerns — most notably the fact that site visitors had no idea they were being tracked — cookies have now come under fire and will soon be obsolete as the web’s mostly widely-used browsers have moved to eliminate cookies to protect users’ privacy.

This leaves publishers in a lurch. Consumers increasingly expect personalized content and experiences, across every experience — from TV to shopping to news and entertainment. And, without it, they’ll take their business elsewhere. Obviously, this is something no publisher can afford right now, especially as Google and Facebook gobble up a progressively larger share of the advertising pie. Publishers need all the well-targeted eyeballs they can possibly get onto their site to drive revenue.

Facing tremendous pressure from the death of cookies and a tight budget squeeze, publishers need a new solution — a way to connect with their audiences directly, to cut out the middleman and deliver the personalized content and experiences audiences expect.

Enter: email. Converting site visitors to logged-in subscribers through an email address opens a whole new world of opportunity in 1:1 engagement. From personalized content delivery over multiple channels to precise advertising that drives revenue, email is the answer to the death of cookies for digital publishers. Here’s why:

  • Email enables behavior tracking and content targeting. By turning drive-by visitors into logged-in subscribers through email, publishers can begin to track user interests and behavior to better understand the type of content they want. Data shows consumers have no problem being tracked when it creates a more personalized experience, and they’re more likely to engage with content from publishers they know and trust. Publishers can use that opportunity to then curate content specifically for each user.
  • Email is consistent and persistent. A person’s email address is ubiquitous across every device. Unlike cookies that cannot distinguish between multiple users sharing the same device, an email address is tied to a specific individual, allowing publishers to gather clear, unambiguous (albeit anonymous) data about that particular user. And, because audiences use the same email across browser, mobile, and various other devices, publishers can recognize the same user and track their engagement across multiple touchpoints.
  • Email is direct. When publishers use email to curate and deliver personalized content, it’s the ultimate in 1:1 communication. It also gives publishers a tremendous amount of data about the user and their preferences, from the best days and times to send information about the content they clicked on. Plus, it eliminates reliance on social platforms, which control the content distribution and the audience data.
  • Email opens the door to other channels. Once a user has subscribed to email, they’re also more likely to also subscribe to push notifications, direct messages and other channels when they know the content is curated and personalized. That means publishers can adapt their messaging strategy to include these new channels and reach subscribers over the channels they most prefer and engage with. For example, a publisher might find that a specific user engages more with business news sent via email but with entertainment news sent via push notification. With an email-based content curation and delivery program in place, publishers can deliver the right message to the right subscriber over the right channel — and do it all automatically.

Cultivating a direct relationship with known subscribers is vital for publishers to survive in the post-cookie era. In an ironic twist, as cookies die, email — the channel many called dead a decade ago — is the answer to publishers’ needs. Email is not dead, and in fact is breathing new life into the trusted relationships publishers need with their audiences.

As digital publishing adapts to a cookie-less world, the winners will be those who can leverage email-based tracking, targeting, and delivery into a 1:1, personalized, automated multichannel experience for their subscribers.

To learn more about how digital publishers can leverage email and multi-channel messaging to engage subscribers and drive more revenue, visit

Jeff Kupietzky is CEO of Jeeng, formerly PowerInbox.

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