The post cookie world is here, but not everyone wants to admit that fact.
There are a lot of industry players in the marketing and advertising technology sector that are not prepared. It will increasingly be harder to contribute(from a business and personal level, but that's another discussion) to the digital economy and survive the post cookie world,
Numerous players will, unfortunately, be disintermediated by the tech giants who are multiplying efforts to own and control the consumer relationship vertically. They will gain access to the abundant raw data flow from the user's digital product usage. In short, platforms are increasingly demonstrating their will to enforce data usage governance within their ecosystem, for their benefit veiled as user privacy benefits.
New laws are preventing most players from contributing to the digital economy
Concurrently of platforms governance, regulations are being pushed around the world, notably GDPR and soon CCPA. These laws cripple the data collection, processing, and activation for the vast majority of the digital players. They lack direct consumer touchpoints to create value and a viable reason to gain user consent to use those signals for advertising purposes. The laws are supposed to protect user privacy, but on the flip side, they increase the tech giants' dominance.
Linking digital product usage data to Accounts
In this new world, user accounts will link and aggregate the bulk of product usage signals on the following technology layers: OS, Devices, SSO, Services, and Browser. This massive amount of data will fuel machine learning that will provide insights useful for :
Laws are making it harder to collect data.The activation of data is harder without cookies. In the advertising and marketing world, audience targeting and performance attribution, the most critical campaign performance optimization levers, will be rendered useless outside walled gardens. Anyone else will be at a considerable disadvantage; they will lack data access and activation capabilities required to deliver advertising performance for their clients.
A collective industry effort is needed
For the adtech industry to deliver optimized digital campaigns that bring value to buyers akin to the level of tech giants, they need to work together. They should develop an SSO/sign-in product that brings value to users, something that has yet to be built. That SSO will be the central signal to enrich the ad auction within an open exchange to increase users' propensity to engage with the ad and offer value for the buyer and seller.
Facebook is feeling the heat
Even Facebook is being squeezed between regulations and platform governance that are slowly killing the cookies. Outside its own wall, it is becoming harder for Facebook to leverage its rich user data to deliver value as it lacks the footprint necessary to maintain the link with user account signals required in the auction time optimization process. The FAN ( Facebook audience network ) departure from the web is a clear indication that Facebook knows this. Could they be building a web browser with SSO capabilities to slow others down in their quest to replace cookies with browser level logins? Or buy a browser?
Their Crypto-Currency venture is an attempt to gain a monetary transactional touchpoint, a compelling signal to optimize ads!
Cookies are disappearing.
Digital activities are tied to user accounts, the DigitalID.
Regulations are pushing for transparency and forcing data collectors/activators to provide mechanisms that allow users to control how most signals are used.
The industry needs to mobilize rather than create disparate solutions of smaller scale.
Apple is pushing user privacy as a value proposition.
I think users are the wild card here. Will they use the controls at their disposal to limit the usage of data and level the playing field a bit? It requires some self-education, so it is improbable :P
It will be interesting to see where the dynamic between all of the above will lead us.
My main key takeaways from day one of Google Marketing Live where thousands of marketers are gathered to learn about the future of advertising :
1. Google publically announced a lot of advertising products that will help brands augment their reach and scale within the Google ecosystem ; shopping ads, display ads in search and native ads across all Google product’s and new untapped advertising opportunities along the user’s journey ( maps, travel, business profiles )
2. Advertising performance and measurement comes with built-in mechanisms for user trust , privacy and controls ( with mentions of identity ). User Context will be the fallback if user doesn’t want it’s data used for advertising purposes. Google is asserting its governance leadership in the industry and it shows.
3. Machine learning is making it’s way beyond matching ads and users. All features will get their fair share of machine learning and automation sparkles this year to help brands optimize business goal with about every single angle of approach. Machine learning, if it’s not embedded at the software level, it’s done wrong. More content in the comments.