The ad industry is going through a period of complex changes as technology and legislation involving data are rapidly evolving. The impact is being felt across the industry, with various players trying to adjust by ensuring consumers feel comfortable with how their data is processed and that their privacy concerns are being addressed.
One of the most noticeable changes is the deprecation of third-party cookies. This was already well underway, with Safari and Firefox internet browsers blocking them by default. Now Chrome, representing over 60% of the browser market, has confirmed it will pull the plug over the next two years. This is important as it means that most data-driven marketing capabilities such as people-based marketing, frequency capping, and targeting and retargeting on desktop have become nearly impossible in these browser environments.
In the meantime, TV and premium video platforms have been hard at work and have successfully scaled beyond the desktop with more connected TV (CTV)—which does not rely on third-party cookies—as well as mobile ad impressions delivered through applications and, in some cases, authenticated through subscription services.
Another critical change comes from device manufacturers, as device IDs continue to be less persistent. A good example of this is Apple’s announcement on IDFAs (identifiers for advertisers), which will take effect with the release of iOS14.
The end of the third-party cookie, device IDs and some tracking mechanisms—as announced by Google recently—together with changes in government privacy regulations and obligations have deep ramifications for many in the ad industry. All of the players involved are trying to better understand the full extent of the impact and how they can address both user privacy and addressability concerns for digital content.
This complexity has certainly driven a lot of ad tech innovations, and a vast number of players are surfacing to tackle the issue. But with new privacy laws on the horizon, such as the California Privacy Rights Act, or CPRA, additional challenges are expected. Premium publishers and other owners of first-party data have adjusted to privacy laws and frameworks to ensure that consumers have more options to manage the personal information that is collected, shared and used.
The following chart shows a simplified data flow from marketer to consumer highlighting how data circulates through the various players involved.
In this post-cookie era and fragmented digital media landscape, there is a need for advertisers and other stakeholders to align data across platforms and determine new data strategies.
Regulations and businesses are pushing privacy and consumer trust to the forefront, as building audience trust is more important than ever. There have been positive signs of progress, particularly from premium video stakeholders that have brought consumer privacy to the core of their strategy.
What is clear is that users should be able to understand and decide how their data will be used and, importantly, what they will get out of it, how they can engage (or not) with brands and content as well as how they can opt out—or opt in where required.
Ongoing developments in the identity landscape are ultimately a positive force, driving the advertising industry toward an ecosystem rooted in trust and transparency. There are many ways in which identity management can be achieved and used to enhance marketing efficacy and the advertising experience, but it requires interoperability and a fully functioning partner ecosystem to ensure that data integrity and privacy are maintained.
For the full report, “Putting the Consumer at the Heart of Data Strategy: How Identity Management and Privacy can Coexist,” please click here.