A today problem, not a future one

IAB UK’s Head of Ad Tech, Chloe Nicholls joined our CEO, Greg Isbister, for a fireside chat to talk about some of the key issues affecting the advertising industry. Here are the key takeaways: 

  1. Identifiers & consent 
    Historically, the advertising industry has been quite spoiled with access to data. However, concerns around privacy resulted in a significant shift in the data available to advertisers, media planners and technology partners. Some of the solutions put forward are using email addresses, home addresses and other personal information to identify and track people across the internet. While it’s been commented (especially by privacy activists) that this approach is counterintuitive as these types of data are even more personal, an identifier is required to tie together consent – the key is making sure user consent is granted. And ultimately, the internet is becoming a more anonymous place where advertisers should be prepared to use less personal data.

  2. Consent & consumer trust
    Trust is critical – we hear about it from the whole industry, including advertisers. But it’s a complex and broad term. A starting point for the industry is focusing on transparency and adopting the necessary standards. There are many solutions out there, but success hinges upon adoption. The main focus needs to be on consent and protecting users’ privacy. We will need to look at various tools and different ways we can both target and measure while respecting a consumer’s privacy. There will always be many people who are against any of their data being stored. And there are some concerns in the industry over whether some cookie policies fully inform consumers on how their data is stored.

  3. Cookies & regulators
    The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) has clearly stated that they are against any solution that replicates a cookie. Their main concern seems to be a potential replication of the framework instead of reinventing how we operate and approach users’ data.

  4. Consent frameworks
    When Apple brought their consent framework to the app ecosystem, we roughly saw on average about 20% of consumers opting in to share data through that type of consent stream. That can be a good indication for understanding adoption for other types of solutions like UID (Universal ID). However, we need to think about how we can reframe things, so consumers understand why and what their data is used for. The value exchange is still not clear or explicit to consumers.

  5. Consumer value
    It’s tough to explain the value exchange to consumers. It’s difficult for consumers to understand that advertising has funded the internet from the beginning. Yet, consumers generally prefer not to have ads, and they don’t have access to enough information that allows them to understand the value exchange. On the one hand, consumers are being asked to consent, but on the other, they are still so far removed from the conversation that we are making it harder for ourselves. Consumers need to be involved in the conversation somewhere along the way.

  6. Measurement & granularity
    The industry got used to very granular measurement. However, although agencies and advertisers are aware and getting prepared for the upcoming challenges once we lose access to third-party cookies once and for all, there’s a belief that a simple cookie replacement will give them access to what they have now. Since there have been delays, there is a sense that it’s a problem for the future. We should be way ahead in testing different solutions, so at least we can compare the results.

  7. A shift in mentality
    There is an area of the internet that’s difficult to target and measure and that will only change once the adoption of other solutions starts to pick up. There is likely to be hesitancy to move away from tried and tested solutions with concern regarding the same level of addressability and measurement. But there needs to be a big reset, a shift in mentality to accept and adapt to change.

  8. A today problem
    Some people are still not seeing the lack of access to third-party cookies as a problem – as if the situation would only become real once Chrome finally depreciates these cookies. But today, around 50% of browsers don’t accept third-party cookies. We need to do more as an industry to talk about this being a ‘today’ problem, not a future one. Safari and your iOS users have the highest disposable income, and advertisers are already missing them. The conversation needs to be about identity and how difficult it will be to both target consumers and measure campaigns like we are used to. This is not a future problem someone will have to deal with in a few years. It’s already here. It’s about reframing it – it’s not about the coming cookie apocalypse or any of these hyperbolic titles. It’s already here.

The fireside chat brought to attention the key challenges the industry still needs to tackle in order to prepare for a cookieless future. Now is the time to work with your programmatic buying teams to test cookieless solutions before the Chrome deprecation deadline comes into force. This year is also the opportunity to test and define measurable KPIs, to incorporate broader, regional audiences’ results rather than individual results. Finding the right privacy-first partners will help make your life much easier – and your campaigns more effective – in the long run. 

Visit our Audience Explorer hub to learn about our integrated planning and buying platform that helps unlock the most holistic view of your customers, allowing you to reach any audience at scale in an ID-less world.

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