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The Telegraph introduces cookie-free adtech

Loss of advertising revenue is a crushing blow to publishers.

Since Google’s decision to kill the third-party cookie, many publishers are ramping up their subscription models while testing new ways to keep advertisers interested.

The Telegraph is showcasing one such solution.

Digiday wrote, “The effort, called Telegraph Unity, has the publisher and advertiser separately uploading their first-party data to what tech provider Infosum calls a ‘bunker’ so no other party can access it. Infosum’s tech then adds a tiny statistical error to the anonymized data sets, making it impossible to reverse engineer back to the originals. It then overlays a statistical model to find matches.”

I gotta say. This is an inspired solution but not without its challenges.

The biggest being the advertisers’ lack of first-party data. After GDPR most advertisers simply don’t have enough of it.

But there’s a larger opportunity here as well.

A solution like this could be a stepping stone for publishers to start offering a competitive, albeit niche, alternative to Google and Facebook, especially when advertisers want really local or granular audiences.

When all else fails. A Heineken success story.

You watch a great ad on TV, have a good laugh (If it’s a funny one) and talk to your mates about it. Fast forward one week and without any good explanation, you find the product from the ad in your grocery bag.

Bam! That’s how good ads are supposed to work.

But with fewer people watching TV these days, your great ad isn’t going to be of much use.

That was Heineken’s dilemma in the UK.

The story of their inspired solution, published in The Drum is one for the books. Here are the highlights.

Instead of delivering more advertising, Heineken doubled down on using real-time retail data with targeted advertising to understand the drivers of footfall and sales.

The Drum wrote “Heineken worked with Brulines to get pump access in pubs across the country, installing smart devices to monitor how many pints were being pulled. For the first time, Heineken had visibility of its real time performance, enabling them to take the principles of ecommerce and apply it to selling beer in bricks and mortar pubs.”

And the results?

“Over the course of the first 6-week test period, sales of Heineken brands in featured outlets increased by 3.6%, using a £225k investment to deliver £670k of additional value.”

Heineken’s approach put the consumer at the centre of brand communication. It’s really the opposite of how TV ads normally work. 

You may not be in the business of selling pints but as brick-and-mortar stores open, cases studies like this one are a great example of how retailers need to embrace data and real-time marketing.

First GDPR and now CCPA. Privacy regulations catch up

There are some similarities between GDPR and CCPA, the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Martech has a quick guide if you want to bring yourself up to speed or you can dive into this exhaustive guide from FFP comparing the finer points of GDPR and CCPA.

The big difference is that CCPA explicitly applies to for-profit companies that: 

  • Have gross annual revenues in excess of $25 million;
  • Possess the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices; or
  • Earn more than half of their annual revenue from selling consumers’ personal information.

Non-compliance fines for CCPA range between $2,500 – $7,500 per violation but they can quickly add up as explained in the article by Consent Guide.

Data privacy is changing the digital landscape more than any other technology.

Policymakers are still having a slow start but they’re starting to step up to safeguard users and consumers.

Last month Politico reported that the US Department Of Justice is planning to file an antitrust lawsuit against Google.

Just last week, Campaign covered a report by a UK competition watchdog asking the government “to introduce new regulations to tackle Google and Facebook’s power in digital advertising”.

Their suggestions range from making Facebook give users an option to opt-out from personalised advertising and for Google to share its data with rival search engines.

Marketers have a much bigger responsibility.

Besides dealing with new regulations and the changing landscape of advertising, I mean.

We must own our consumer privacy and champion the voice of our customer.

The budget for privacy may come from some other department, such as IT or Legal, as Ethyca discovered.

And we, the marketers, must be prepared to reach across the organisation and collaborate with all the departments that come in contact with customer and user data and make sure that our organisation is above reproach.

This isn’t just a nice thing to do, this is the new normal.

Google has a change of heart

While many people find the news through Google, the publishers aren’t fond of not getting paid by Google for showing their content in organic search.

This lead to several skirmishes in the past.

Earlier this year, TC reported that France is the latest EU state to order Google to start paying publishers for displaying their content in organic search.

Previous attempts by Germany and Spain failed to get Google to budge.

Because Google held on to its position that it doesn’t make any money from organic search. 

But given that many publishers struggle to generate revenue, and the current environment around newsmedia, Google has had a change of heart.

Google will start paying news publishers for high-quality content. Google’s Bran Bender wrote that a vibrant news industry matters because people are searching for reliable information during the global pandemic and growing concerns about racial injustice, “But these events are happening at a time when the news industry is also being challenged financially. We care deeply about providing access to information and supporting the publishers who report on these important topics.”

Building on its commitmentto support publishers and journalism, Google also introduced two new analytics tools designed for newsrooms. 

Time will tell if this is going to work out.

Third-party cookies are on their way out. What now?

Google is killing Third-Party cookies.

By 2022 Google Chrome will no longer capture third-party cookies and that’s a big deal for performance marketing. Google is promising a world where advertisers can still deliver relevant ads to us without infringing on data privacy.

A tall order, right?

While First-Party cookies are set to retain personally identifiable details, e.g. log-in information on a single site, Third-party cookies are used to track your browsing activity across multiple sites and allow retargeting and ad-delivery.

Panic is spreading in the advertising and publishing communities. Though, any news from Google always rattles the media and marketing execs – whether it’s good or bad news.

Should you be worried?

Chrome is the latest browser to join Safari and Firefox in blocking cookies. This a bigger deal due to the fact that globally more people access the internet through Chrome than any other browser.

The situation is truly grim for some publishers. According to Google, publishers can lose up to 52% of revenue generated through targeted ads. 

For marketers, this means that we seriously need to rethink the role of data privacy in our marketing strategies.

I heard about a ‘Privacy Sandbox’ – what’s that about?

Considering that 71% of Google’s own revenue comes from advertising (not to mention the brands, media agencies, apps and countless other websites that rely on advertising revenues) Google is proposing to replace third-party cookies with a Privacy Sandbox.

In simple terms, the Privacy Sandbox is a collection of APIs that performs two major functions.

  1. Deliver improved privacy by storing your data in your browser and not sharing it with other websites.
  2. Publishers can connect to this API which delivers aggregated data to advertisers for delivering interest-based ads.

In addition, Google is proposing several other APIs – from measuring performance to minimising ad-fraud and limiting underhanded tactics – that collect user data by circumventing traditional controls.

Everything Google does comes at a cost.

Considering that Chrome has the lion’s share of the global web browser usage, switching to their Privacy Sandbox means making Google the de facto custodian of our online privacy.

In fairness, this is a giant step towards improved online privacy, but some digital privacy groups are cautious about the impact on advertisers and how segmentation based on aggregated data using FLoC can encourage stereotyping. 

Preparing for a post-third-party cookie world.

The big idea here is simple: start putting effort into giving people a reason to want to hear from you. That’s obviously much easier said than done. 

Here are some tactics to invest in:

  1. Email marketing: Stop sending random junk through your newsletters and start delivering value through the content you share with your subscribers.
  2. Targeted ads on Facebook & Google: You can still target ads based on demographic data and interest across search and social. Use this method to drive more subscriptions.
  3. Community Management: Engage with your fans across social media, blogs and other platforms.
  4. Chat: Be more proactive in engaging people by using chat. There are multiple vendors available that offer native chat solutions for websites and apps – and WhatsApp for Business offers a possibility to host a product catalogue, remember?
  5. SEO: Ranking in organic search whether it’s in search, YouTube or marketplaces like Amazon is still one of the best ways to reach people.

This is your chance to lead the charge in your business, or even, in your industry. (Why dream at all if you’re just going to dream small, right?)