• Tom Riordan

Welcome to SugarFree

[Originally posted May 6, 2021 on Medium & LinkedIn]

Hi there. My name is Tom and you’ve found SugarFree, an advertising software company that helps brands & agencies navigate the cookieless world.



The addressable advertising world is changing, with cookies and other heavily relied upon forms of direct targeting undergoing a process of extermination. Digital marketers are bracing for what may come, while publishers & ad technologists prepare new solutions to maintain some semblance of the targetability that we built our industry on. It is admirable to rebuild the cookie, but a unified standard seems unlikely to stick at scale. This means brands will be stuck searching for new methods which with to out-advertise the competition. Many of these methods — I believe — will look pleasantly familiar to traditional marketers, as the dramatic scale decline we are seeing today in 1:1 targeting leaves campaign strategists thirsting for optimization levers to pull. In their desire to compete and win, brands will seek new software tools to guide them.


I founded SugarFree on these two hypotheses:


Hypothesis 1: Durable datasets based on privacy-friendly capture techniques such as population stats, opt-in panelist data and surveys will supplant 1:1 identifiers as the most common currency with which smart ad decisions are made. Integrating and thoughtfully deploying these datasets to enable effective advertising at scale is a technology problem worth solving for advertisers.


Hypothesis 2: A new optimization landscape will emerge in place of chasing conversions or other short term indicators due to the inability to execute such optimizations without cookies or mobile IDs. In its place, advertisers will find themselves obsessing over which publishers to run with, which geographies to focus on, and how to flight and daypart campaigns — decisions that will remain relevant regardless of any updates to privacy regulation that may come down the line. Illuminating the trade-offs across this new landscape so that advertisers can make educated campaign strategy decisions is a key focus for SugarFree.


In the coming weeks I’ll expand on these hypotheses and share insights on how we see them playing out.


Sticking to vegetables…

Tom