Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

NDA Viewpoints: Google’s anti-tracking moves

Google last week announced its much anticipated, and much feared, anti-tracking privacy updates. When it finally came out, the updates comprised controls letting users see all of the cookies currently stored by their browser, with the option of blocking any they wished.

This was accompanied by moves to reduce non-cookie tracking techniques like browser fingerprinting, to reduce the amount of passive information Chrome passes to websites.

The reverberations are still being felt, including advertisers re-evaluating how they target users, and a potential upside for publishers.

NDA is talking to experts across the industry to hear the potential impact, both positive and negative, of the news.

Ken Leren, Founder, Marketing Town

The Austrian presidency in the EU have gutted the ePrivacy regulation and it is very encouraging to see Google following Apple and its ITP in safeguarding privacy.

With users being more aware and concerned about their privacy, it was about time for the most popular web browser to improve user security and privacy. Chrome is more popular than ever, but so is users’ privacy. 

The quality starts at the top with the world’s tech giants like Apple and Google setting an example and raising the general standard of online tracking practices.

Hopefully, all browsers will soon start to roll out equivalent features, following Apple’s example. It’s hard to say what the future holds for the advertising industry, but it’s fair to say that ITP is going mainstream.

Nick Welch, VP Business Development at ADmantX

If we look at the very public Facebook privacy scandals of late, users didn’t exactly run away in droves, so I think we may over estimate consumer concern here. The reality is that users may not even choose to install anti-tracking. 

However, let’s not be too sanguine. Both publishers and advertiser will need to examine seriously how they can enrich their own data assets further. For instance, how they can use context signals as a proxy for interest and look to scale this through mutually-beneficial partnerships.

When it comes to DMPs, the key is not to be relying on using third party data. They should instead be helping your publishers and advertisers to make best use of their own first party data to deliver a data strategy.

DMPs especially that own their own ad server or DSP will be in a great position to drive this strategy and help build first party data assets that will be able to deliver huge value.

Marcus Chomyszyn, Digital Manager at MediaSense

 With Google’s recent changes, online fingerprinting will be limited by default and users will be able to wipe stored cookies without losing sign-in details; removing a key drawback to previous privacy controls. This will encourage cookie wiping and significantly reduce the ability to track users over longer periods online. Across open exchange buys this will have a large impact on data targeting, however there is substantial digital inventory that will be unaffected; e.g. Facebook, YouTube and app environments.

Publisher DMPs are already capitalising on these developments with better audience segmentation offerings available without relying on third party cookies; providing qualified audiences through direct publisher deals.

Tech vendors may deploy similar strategies that provided a workaround to Apple’s ITP 2.0 — enabling first party cookies to collect data that is then passed on to third parties. Evidence indicates the industry will continue to adapt and tech partners are already moving towards ID-based identifications to reduce their reliance on third party cookies, even if some will not be able to evolve quick enough.

Advertisers should focus on their audience strategy to ensure they can adapt to these changes in the industry. Ownership of data should be a priority to ensure control, compliance and measurement; this should shape agency and tech vendor relationships. Collaboration between agency and advertisers will be more important than ever and ways of working should be developed to avoid implementational campaigns, where ‘off-the-shelf’ data segments are selected to match a client’s target audience.

Agencies should be challenged to work towards long-term strategic objectives; using first party data, platforms & publisher partnerships to engage users. Google’s cookie controls will create opportunities to progress away from legacy targeting strategies that reduce consumers to data segments and engagement metrics.

Advertisers that use these developments to capitalise on new opportunities in the digital market will differentiate themselves from competition that doesn’t evolve.