As Cookies Crumble, Expect More First-Party Data And Privacy-Compliant Solutions

Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Sarah Rose, vice president of digital ad operations at IPG Mediabrands.

Our post-2020 “opt-in” ecosystem includes laws such as the EU’s General Date Protection Regulation, California’s Consumer Privacy Act and now legislation signed last week by Maine’s governor. While Maine’s bill specifically targets internet service providers (ISPs) operating only within the state, it takes deeper protective actions against the use, sale or disclosure of defined PII.

With each law having its own flavor, there is potential to cause disparate legal ramifications. This creates the need for federal regulations, which the IAB is diligently working to address with congressional representatives as are other Industry trade associations.

Where does this leave the industry, which has worked to build audiences and target users based on interest in our programmatic and media partner direct inventory?

The net result to the emerging privacy laws is that third-party data solutions are going to be scrutinized more, triggering growth of privacy-compliant technology and a move toward more first-party data use.

For example, reaction to these regulations is trickling down into our core browser technology to manage tracking across the web and platforms.

Google has notified the industry that it plans to add more controls for cookie management in Chrome and protect against fingerprinting. This essentially strips tracking technology as a whole, in the guise of protecting user privacy.

The trend doesn’t limit pixels from firing, but it does block third-party providers from dropping browser cookies, prohibiting the collection of user data and tracking attribution.

Safari ITP 2.2 will also now strip tracking parameters, such as UTM parameters for click-through attribution, from landing pages, which will limit the ability to tie those tags back to impression and click conversions. Safari will allow up to 64 campaigns at one time in the browser to track a user by web links, which means campaign IDs cannot be turned into user identifiers for attribution.

The effect of these actions is to essentially raise the walled-garden walls even higher, therein supporting products from Google, Apple and Amazon as siloed solutions to marketing performance and reporting. As these technology giants become larger, agencies need to be aligned with these platforms to deliver solutions for clients who want to use them, as well as identify alternatives.

At the same time, this is an exciting time of expansion of our technical capabilities with respect to user privacy. Limitation breeds innovation, with minds coming together to provide solutions that respond to the space. People-based marketing solutions that respect privacy and opt-ins while supporting the technology shifts will win.

Some innovative ideas involve building white-label ad servers and tracking solutions that only fire on a client-side domain, therefore only tracking first-party data. Other ideas include only targeting contextually, thus moving back to old models of the “inferred audience.”

Data co-ops amongst cooperative large-scale ecommerce clients will support programmatic scale which will be built from multiple first-party data sources being shared between specific partners, aka second-party data.

Partnerships and business development could also be valuable in the programmatic space, such as MediaMath and Akamai, an ISP, partnering on what appears to be a very robust identity solution. Publishers and publisher relationships will also reign as a key component, and opt-in technology startups, such as Sourcepoint, are defining new technology for consent management in response to the evolving ecosystem.

We will see more consent management and tracking startups. Cookie-driven solutions are shifting out, while new and improved privacy-compliant technology and first-party data moves forward to take its place. Put your seatbelts on, as this is going to be an interesting ride.

Follow Sarah Rose (@sarahjrose_), IPG Mediabrands (@ipgmediabrands) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

Editor’s note: This column has been updated to remove a reference to the Washington Privacy Act, which did not become law.

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