There is no alternative to a privacy first web

I’m sure everyone is now aware of Google’s announcement recently regarding cookies and privacy? If not you can read the full post here but essentially Google stated they won’t be supporting the use of alternative IDs within Chrome and other Google Platforms when they phase this out next year. 

This is a seismic announcement for all digital marketers. Chrome accounts for over 60% of total internet browsing. The fact they have now told us they will not be looking to replace the cookie with any kind of individual identifier, made this a huge statement.  It’s sure to shake up (and derail) many post cookie solutions currently being built and tested. Especially those which base their methodology on alternative ID’s.

Many ad tech companies had already started to build out alternative ID solutions. The Trade Desk’s Unified ID 2.0, Liveramp, ID5 and Zeotap solutions are now looking less likely to solve the post cookie dilemma. This is sure to force many down alternative routes in order to ensure they can still operate within the Google Sandbox.

Why no individual tracking?

This wasn’t completely unexpected, and certainly not by us here at Regital. We’ve been preparing for a privacy-first web for some time. In the simplest of terms, people want to move towards a more private web. Web users, and law-makers, aren’t looking for Cookie 2.0 and they’re not prepared to be tracked on an individual basis. Regardless of the advertising industry, this move is first and foremost user driven. Google has stated as much when they say…

“We don’t believe these solutions (new IDs) will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long term investment.”......“Instead, our web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers.”

David Temkin, Director of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Trust, at Google

This reflects how we believe targeting and profiling will move forward in this new privacy-first era. Our data partner Skyrise Intelligence was built from the ground up in a privacy and legally compliant manner, powered by mobile network data. Advanced audience profiling is done behind the mobile operator firewall before being aggregated by Skyrise into powerful contextual outputs, centred around time, location and digital environment.

What is the alternative to individual tracking?

One-to-one relationship marketing will not disappear altogether. The walled gardens where a user is logged in (think Amazon, Facebook, and Google) will presumably remain largely unchanged. Arguably they’ll be much less effective without ‘off-platform’ targeting capability, but the premise remains the same. 

The relationship a brand has with their customer’s is now more important than ever. First party data (which walled-gardens have in abundance) will become increasingly important as we move into a new privacy-first world. In our opinion it is set to underpin advertising strategies of the future, so make sure you have your first party data strategy in order. 

Valuable first party data will help advertisers identify their audiences while also providing post cookie measurement methodologies. It is therefore more important than ever for brands to find the right solutions, be that CRM analytics tools, first party data providers and/or privacy-preserving APIs which allow brands to target and measure effectively.

Can you still target individual IDs outside Google?

In the short term some Adtech platforms will inevitably continue to use IDs. It’s what the industry knows. It’s what digital marketing was built on. And it’s easy to measure.

Yet platforms (and advertisers) that keep operating in this way are doing so on borrowed time and with their head in the sand to what users, legislators and the wider industry are calling for. 

We’re moving to a world where most advertising will be done without the need for individual data. Google and Apple have now both been very clear on the future roadmap. They will not support replacement IDs or fingerprinting as an alternative for the cookie.  

What are Google proposing as an alternative?

Google’s suggested method appears to be largely based on a safety in numbers approach. Using their Federated learning of Cohorts (FLoC) which measures users recent browsing behaviour and attributes a label as opposed to a specific user ID. The user is then placed within a larger bucket of users, or cohort, targetable across Google Platforms.

There are still lots of unanswered questions around this. Will this be available outside Google Platforms and Chrome? Is there still a privacy grey area depending on exactly what Google decides to attribute as a label? Can you factor in more valuable purchasing behaviour like salary and spending power? And the biggest question of all – how much different is this from the third-party cookie if users behaviour is still tracked and logged? 

These questions will undoubtedly be answered over the coming weeks and months, but are they really putting user privacy and consumer experience at the forefront of advertising? 

How can Regital and Skyrise help?

With Skyrise’s audience solutions in hand, Regital can be sure that privacy is at the forefront of data usage.

By leveraging rich telco data, Skyrise and Regital are able to uncover meaningful audience insights and apply them to all addressable media channels. This approach targets groups of individuals based on where they go, the content they’re consuming and when they do it, similar to Google’s proposed Cohort methodology, albeit available now and based on a fully compliant and known dataset. 

To date we’ve applied this approach to a range of media channels from Google ads (search, display, video) and Facebook Audience Network to Connected TV, Digital Out of Home and of course display.

Furthermore, we can also use Skyrise to build out alternative measurement methodologies such as CRM vs Location analysis, AB testing of market share and looking into fluctuations of site based metrics such as traffic. 

Summary

Without question the landscape is changing. Dramatically. We’re likely to see major twists and turns along the way. We’re confident performance marketing can flourish in this landscape. We’re not concerned, and neither should you be. We adopted these techniques and methodologies over 12 months ago with Skyrise Intelligence. The results speak for themselves and outperform cookie and ID based tactics. Cluster targeting based on insightful telecom data is incredibly powerful when coupled with sophisticated delivery techniques. It’s the future of marketing. Delivered today.

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