Brands and Publishers Build Direct Relationships to Tackle Data Deprecation

New study finds that almost half (48%) of brand leaders have developed five or more direct relationships with publishers to fuel marketing strategies

  • Two-thirds (70%) of brands are concerned that consumers will decline data consent 
  • 41% of brands say they still rely mostly or exclusively on third-party data and 36% are still building first-party data strategies 
  • 95% of publishers have started building their first-party data monetization strategies
  • And almost half (49%) of publishers say that increasing authenticated data is a challenge 

London: New research released today reveals 73% of brands are concerned about increasing privacy regulations, and over two-thirds (70%) are concerned that consumers will decline consent to use their data for marketing, which will disrupt business as usual for many brands. The Forrester Consulting Opportunity Snapshot study commissioned by Permutive, the only audience platform built on edge computing, explores brands’ and publishers’ concerns around data deprecation and charts their priorities and efforts in developing first-party data strategies. 

One of the key findings was that, while data deprecation will upend marketing strategies for brands, it also presents an opportunity to build and strengthen direct brand-publisher relationships. Half of publishers (50%) see data deprecation as an opportunity to work more closely with advertisers. 

With increasing global and local privacy regulations, such as GDPR, CPRA and now CDPA in Virginia, coupled with browser changes in Chrome and Safari, almost half of publishers (49%) recognise the need for new technology to ensure that data is collected compliantly. A further 38% of publishers said they believe increasing privacy will impact their ability to monetize their first-party data. Publishers must make sure that data is used appropriately in an ethical way that respects user consent.

Brands are beginning to adopt publishers’ first-party data to fuel their marketing strategies as a result of the data deprecation. But there’s more work to be done as just 39% currently use publishers’ first-party data in half or more campaigns, and a further 41% say they still rely on third-party data to target their audiences. 

In contrast, 95% of publishers said they have already started building their first-party data monetization strategies, although just 28% are ready now with an established, implemented strategy. 

The research also shows that publishers are working hard to build out their data monetization strategies to increase subscriptions and gain more first-party data for better audience-driven insights. This has resulted in building stronger relationships with brands, with 90% stating they have at least one direct brand relationship in place, while a further 60% said they have five or more direct relationships with brands to sell first-party audience data. 

Data deprecation is warning that brands can’t achieve their marketing goals at the expense of customer trust. Both brands and publishers recognise this as a top priority. In fact, 42% of publishers are prioritising improving customer satisfaction and trust ahead of increasing subscriptions and more than a third of brands state a priority to improve customer trust (36%) and satisfaction (33%).  

Joe Root, CEO and Co-founder of Permutive comments: “This research only goes to highlight that publisher first-party data will be paramount to tailored and relevant digital advertising and will drive trusted, direct relationships between brands and publishers. While there has been much discussion surrounding diminishing third-party cookies, it should be seen as a tremendous opportunity to build privacy-safe solutions that empower publishers and ensure brands can reach their audience while building trust with consumers. 

“Publishers’ first-party data will be the new media currency in the future of digital marketing as a privacy-safe foundation for brands to continue targeting consumers — without identifying and tracking them across domains. But brands and publishers must partner if they are to tackle data depreciation.” 


This Opportunity Snapshot was commissioned by Permutive. To create this profile, Forrester Consulting supplemented this research with custom survey questions asked of 105 brands and 104 publishers in the UK and US, at manager-level or above. The custom survey began and was completed in February 2021.

About Permutive

Permutive is powering the future of targeted advertising on the Open Web, today. As the only audience platform built on edge computing, we enable premium advertisers and publishers to plan, build and activate cohorts — all while keeping everyone’s data safe. 

Working with clients across Europe and North America, publishers using Permutive include BuzzFeed, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Economist, Condé Nast International, Hubert Burda Media, and Immediate Media.

Find out more at