A Marketer’s PET Peeve; Edtech, Meet Ad Tech (And Its Tracking Scandals)

Comic: Privacy Patrol

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PET Lovers

Privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) are the industry’s latest attempt to program privacy compliance into data-driven advertising.

But it’s not enough to just hire a vendor and check privacy off your to-do list.

“Technology is not a silver bullet – internal governance needs to be put in place,” said Jessica Lee, partner of law firm Loeb & Loeb, at AdExchanger’s Programmatic I/O conference in Las Vegas earlier this week.

To reconcile business goals with privacy risks, ad tech must weigh the pros and cons of what could go wrong, with the greatest threat being “the risk of re-identification,” Lee said.

Ironically (and, perhaps, unsurprisingly), the tighter the clampdown on data collection, the more the industry flounders to find data elsewhere, despite the broader shift toward aggregate audiences and cohort-based targeting.

Fingerprinting, in particular, is the elephant in the room. It just doesn’t pass the privacy sniff test. But it’s hard to enforce compliance, which is why, at least for now, Apple’s ATT only prohibits the practice on paper.

What’s good for business doesn’t have to be bad for privacy, but that’s unfortunately often been the case.

Edtech + Ad Tech

Research by the advocacy group Human Rights Watch has found that many educational tech services, which exploded in usage during the pandemic, share data and advertising with nearly 200 ad tech companies, The Washington Post reports.

The story specifically calls out Google, Facebook, Twitter and Shopify.

School districts say the report lacks nuance. Many advertising and tracking tags are placed on the homepages of the edtech companies in question, which use trackers for site analytics and prospecting. The internal parts of the sites used by students don’t typically carry the same trackers. 

Even so, the privacy policies on these sites and services are too nuanced and confusing for parents and students. For instance, one education app noted it uses ad tech and site data to serve targeted ads on its own site, but doesn’t provide ad IDs or student data to ad vendors or advertisers.

That nuance didn’t impress lead researcher Hye Jung Han, who notes in the study that “children were just as likely to be surveilled in their virtual classrooms as adults shopping in the world’s largest virtual malls.”

Not So Nano

Part-time lifestyle influencer Jen Lauren has 6,000 YouTube subscribers and made $2,000 from YouTube AdSense last year. On Instagram, where she has roughly 4,000 followers, Lauren charges about $350 per sponsored post, Insider reports

Nano influencers like Lauren may be starting small, with fewer than 10,000 followers, but many rack up thousands of dollars in earnings per year as brands look for new ways to reach engaged, often niche, audiences on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

There’s a lot of potential upside: One nano influencer Insider spoke to earned $10,000 in brand deals in a month. 

One reason brands are so attracted to nano influencers is because they charge lower rates than big-name influencers. For example, after the NCAA lifted its restrictions last year, a growing number of sponsors started looking to strike deals with college athletes who have thousands (as opposed to millions) of followers.

But Wait, There’s More!

Twitter will pay $150 million to resolve a joint lawsuit from the DOJ and FTC over allegedly misusing contact information for targeted advertising. [The Hollywood Reporter]

For pregnant women, TikTok and Meta apps are an algorithmic content nightmare. [LA Times]

Have we reached peak Plus? Streaming service NFL+ is set to debut in July. [Adweek]

Havas Media is integrating with LiveRamp so the agency can create addressable audience segments based on first-party, second-party and third-party data. [MediaPost]

The war in Ukraine demonstrates the need for a global data privacy agreement. [WSJ]

OTT measurement platform TVDataNow launches a CTV attribution tool. [release]

KERV raises $12 million to grow shoppable video tech. [Axios]

You’re Hired!

Disney adds Cadent’s Jamie Power to its addressable ad unit. [Campaign]

Omnicom appoints Brian Clayton as chief data privacy officer. [release]

Conversion intelligence software company Unbounce brings martech and ad tech vets Pete Housley, Darby Sieben and Saba El-Hilo onto its executive team. [release]

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