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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.

Toyota to build $1.3 billion U.S. battery plant in North Carolina

The all-electric Toyota bZ4X, the company's first battery-electric vehicle, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 17. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Toyota announced Monday it's investing $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery "megasite" near Greensboro, North Carolina, set to open in 2025.

Why it matters: Toyota's Prius hybrid won environmental plaudits when it launched in 1997, but it has since lost ground to electric vehicle world leader Tesla, per Axios' Joann Muller. This battery plant will be the first to produce automotive batteries for Toyota in North America.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.