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A Renaissance for the Web

Moving on from Cookies and the Walled Gardens

When the internet first became available to consumers in the 1990s, it represented a new world full of promise. Suddenly, information and entertainment of all kinds were just a click away.

Of course, the web also opened up a novel era for marketers. In 1994, the first online ad was served, and digital advertising was born. Since then, the concept of advertising has taken on an entirely new meaning, with the creation of scores of new digital ad formats and billions of digital dollars transacted annually.

Along the way, though, much of the promise of the original web has been lost – by consumers and marketers alike.

“People want free content, but they also want privacy,” said Tim Vanderhook, Viant’s CEO and co-founder. “Advertisers demand better and more targeted reach, but they also want it to be cost-effective and generate a strong return. And everybody wants a better consumer experience.”


Thanks to what have become collectively known as the “walled gardens,” a selection of Big Tech players that keep their information and user data completely to themselves, the web has become closed off for marketers and arguably too invasive for consumers.

For marketers especially, the walled gardens have failed to offer a suitable level of transparency, forcing marketers to take their word for advertising performance and preventing them from understanding the true impact of their media spend.

The good news is, now is the time for a digital advertising renaissance. With the end of third-party cookies on the horizon, and with so much of the world already cookieless, we’re seeing the birth of what Viant is calling the New Open Web. And for marketers, now is the time to make this freer, more open and consumer-friendly internet a reality.

“We’ve seen 10 years of digital transformation crammed into just one crazy year,” Vanderhook said. “We’re learning that walled gardens are not the ‘Edens’ we thought they were. And a more decentralized web is coming into being.”


The New Open Web represents a return to the original promises of inclusivity and choice that built the web decades ago, Vanderhook said. It’s a break from the walls and silos too prevalent today, and it’s only possible when marketers work with the right technology partners – those that emphasize both transparency and privacy.

The answer lies in people-based advertising software. Leveraging deterministic data as opposed to anonymous proxies like cookies or device IDs, people-based software uses real data like name, address, email address and phone number to create a way to persistently identify a consumer across the open web.

“Marketers that continue to speak to devices, not people, are stuck in the old web,” Vanderhook said, “sticking to a declining status quo.”

It’s important to note that a people-based approach is not beholden to Big Tech and the walled gardens; people-based software allows marketers to reach consumers everywhere, from publishers’ websites to connected TV – at scale.


This “people-based standard” is better for advertisers, according to Vanderhook, because it helps companies achieve much higher returns on their media investments while breaking down silos instead of further reinforcing them. Marketers can understand exactly what they’re spending their budgets on and how those ads are performing, and connect their efforts to both online and offline sales.

And it’s better for consumers because it prioritizes the consumer experience and allows people to have more control over their data. By making it easier for marketers to manage advertising ad frequency, consumers won’t be followed around the web bombarded by the same messages over and over again.

“Scalable, measurable, addressable, and better for consumers and advertisers alike,” Vanderhook said. “That is the what the New Open Web is all about. It’s an open experience that works for everyone.”

“This,” he added, “is what built the web 30 years ago.”

Learn more about A Renaissance for the Web in the video above.

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