The New York Times building. Photo: Eduardo MunozAlvarez/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

The New York Times will no longer use 3rd-party data to target ads come 2021, executives tell Axios, and it is building out a proprietary first-party data platform.

Why it matters: Third-party data, which is collected from consumers on other websites, is being phased out of the ad ecosystem because it's not considered privacy-friendly.

  • This has forced several big publications to rely on their own first-party data, or data that they collect directly from their users.

Beginning in July, The Times will begin to offer clients 45 new proprietary first-party audience segments to target ads.

  • Those segments are broken up into 6 categories: age (age ranges, generation), income (HHI, investable assets, etc.), business (level, industry, retirement, etc.), demo (gender, education, marital status, etc.) and interest (fashion, etc.)
  • By the second half of the year, The Times plans to introduce at least 30 more interest segments.

"This can only work because we have 6 million subscribers and millions more registered users that we can identify and because we have a breadth of content," says Allison Murphy, Senior Vice President of Ad Innovation.

  • Murphy notes that the company has invested significantly in building out the proprietary targeting solution. "We hired a large team specifically to support this year of a dozen people. The effort has touched at least 50 people and many more in every part of company to get this to work."

Between the lines: The effort is part of a greater push to a privacy-friendly experience from The New York Times.

  • Last year, Axios reported that the company's marketing team will no longer use tracking pixels from Facebook and Twitter to track its users' browser history.

The big picture: Many online publishers still use third-party data, which is collected from consumers on other websites using tracking tools, to target consumers with ads.

Yes, but: Not all publishers have the scale, or user trust, to build out their own first-party data sets.

  • Murphy notes: "While a differentiator and I'm thrilled about it, this isn't a path available for every publishers, especially not local who don’t have the scale of resources for building from scratch.."

Be smart: Other publishers like Vox Media and The Washington Post have also begun building out first-party data solutions in response to the growing industry backlash against using third-party data to target ads.

Go deeper

Aug 26, 2020 - Technology

Facebook warns advertisers on Apple privacy changes

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Facebook is warning advertisers that they can expect weaker ad performance from iPhone users once iOS 14 comes out next month and is telling them to create second advertiser accounts to contain the disruption.

Why it matters: Many of Facebook's advertising partners rely on Apple's "Identifier for Advertisers" (IDFA) user tracking feature to, for instance, target would-be users by interest and see if they actually clicked on a mobile ad directing them to install a particular app. Changes to IDFA coming with iOS 14 will have a big impact on the marketing strategies for many businesses, and on Facebook's bottom line.

Trump refuses to commit to peaceful transfer of power if he loses

President Trump repeatedly refused to say on Wednesday whether he would commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election to Joe Biden, saying at a press briefing: "We're going to have to see what happens."

The big picture: Trump has baselessly claimed on a number of occasions that the only way he will lose the election is if it's "rigged," claiming — without evidence — that mail-in ballots will result in widespread fraud. Earlier on Wednesday, the president said he wants to quickly confirm a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg because he believes the Supreme Court may have to decide the result of the election.

"Not enough": Protesters react to no murder charges in Breonna Taylor case

A grand jury has indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officers who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March, on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots blindly into neighboring apartments.

The state of play: Angering protesters, the grand jury did not indict any of the three officers involved in the botched drug raid on homicide or manslaughter charges related to the death of Taylor.

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