The Guardian unveils cookie-free ad solutions

British newspaper The Guardian has unveiled several new advertising solutions during its recent Upfronts presentation. Among these is a novel offering called Guardian Light, specifically designed for audiences who have opted out of data collection through the newspaper's GDPR consent mechanism. The introduction of Guardian Light aligns with The Guardian's commitment to its three core advertising pillars: scale, influence, and integrity.

Guardian Light, the cookie-free solution, addresses the challenge of reaching audiences while respecting their decision to withdraw consent. Unlike other "cookie-free" tools that often rely on first-party cookies or identifiers, Guardian Light stands out by ensuring no personal data is collected or utilized for advertising purposes when users opt out.
While some publishers argue for "legitimate interest" as a basis for data collection without explicit user consent, The Guardian adheres strictly to users' opt-out preferences. Historically, users who selected the 'reject all' option in The Guardian's cookie banner were not exposed to digital display ads. However, this approach hindered monetization efforts as a significant portion of the audience restricted cookies in various ways.

Guardian Light, which underwent testing over the past year, resolves this issue by delivering ads without relying on third-party or first-party cookies, tracking, or auction technology. The technology behind Guardian Light is provided by Opt Out Advertising, a company specializing in entirely cookie-free advertising.

The Guardian also introduced two additional offerings to enhance its scale and influence. To expand scale, the newspaper replaced mid-page units (MPUs) on its home page and primary site sections with larger ads spanning the full width of the page, resulting in a 35 percent increase in clickthrough rates. For increased influence, The Guardian introduced the 'interscroller' format on mobile, an ad embedded within article content that enlarges to full screen as readers scroll. Tests of this format demonstrated a three percent clickthrough rate, surpassing industry standards.


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