First the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and now the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). These are the new legislations that are making waves in the digital marketing world. In short, governments are beginning to restrict companies from collecting and selling user’s personal data without prior consent from the user. Asking users to “opt-in” is the new way to safely gather and utilize user data.
To ensure compliance with the wave of privacy regulations sweeping across the globe, each web browser is taking proactive steps to protect user data and mitigate their chances of public backlash or fines. Mozilla Firefox was the first with “enhanced tracking prevention”, followed by Apple Safari’s “intelligent tracking prevention”, and finally Google Chrome is rolling out “SameSite cookie restrictions” in February 2020. Each of these takes a different approach in protecting user data but ultimately have the same goal and effect — limiting data collection from third-party tracking. This means less data to buy/transfer/target for marketers and advertisers.
What will we do once third-party cookies are rendered nearly obsolete? How will we target our best performing audiences and look-a-like audiences when user data is locked down? In the short term, we can expect third-party cookies, and companies that rely on them, to see their audiences shrinking dramatically. These companies will be forced to find alternative ways to build audiences, either by finding ways to get their cookies labeled as first-party or reverting to anonymous targeting methods we’re all familiar with (topics, demographics, etc.).
Companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon are well suited to weather the privacy lockdown as they have “walled gardens” with massive numbers of logged-in user data they can then make available as first-party cookies to advertisers on their platforms. To make this data sharing compliant, “data clean rooms” are a new buzzword multiplying across the industry. For instance, Google’s Ads Data Hub (ADH) facilitates targeting based on user data, but only within Google’s ecosystem of ad platforms. The same goes for both Amazon and Facebook, wherein their walled garden targeting capabilities extend only to each company’s ad platforms.
Many agencies and advertisers are beginning to partner closer with walled gardens like Google to retain identity-based targeting capabilities and tap into the wealth of data Google has, but this can have the effect of creating an overreliance on Google. To combat this, some agencies and advertisers are exploring ways to maximize their use of first-party cookies to stitch together the cross channel user journey using visits to the site, and the 1st party cookie refreshes, as the common key between the walled gardens.
Overall, focusing on first-party cookies, anonymous targeting segments (e.g. demographics) and leveraging Google’s ADH seems to be solid bets for your advertising budget to effectively weather this period of uncertainty in privacy regulations. Contact DELVE today if you’d like to learn more about how we can help your marketing organization improve performance while maintaining CCPA compliance.
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