Data Privacy Updates & Proposed Changes21 October 2019
Recent legislation and increased public pressure have prompted several key media players to take a bold stance to protect user privacy that could fundamentally change the way we utilise digital marketing.
Simplifying Data Privacy - A Cookieless World
All signs point to a future that is free of “cookies”.
Governments and tech giants are taking data privacy more seriously than ever with new data privacy laws and tech policy changes, but what does this mean for your business?
We've briefly outlined what you need to know about the changes happening in the industry and how it's likely to affect you and your business.
What are cookies?
Cookies are small files stored by a user's computer with a corresponding file stored by the websites a user visits.
They were originally designed to hold a small amount of data specific to each user such as their browsing history on a website, previously entered form fill information, theme selections, and other customisation functions, to make the user experience more streamlined.
1st Party Cookies v. 3rd Party Cookies
First and third party cookies - what’s the difference?
Technically there is no difference other than who creates the cookie (i.e individual website or Google or Facebook or 3rd party analytics company) and who owns it. First party cookies are issued by a website that a user views directly whereas third party cookies are created by someone else (i.e domains other than the one you visit directly).
First party cookies are used to foster a better user experience on a site whereas third party cookies are used for cross-site tracking, retargeting and ad serving.
Are third party cookies 'bad'?
There are inherent issues with cookie tracking (both first and third party) as cookies do not represent actual users - they’re easily blocked, easily deleted, eventually expire and only give a vague snapshot of real user behaviour across devices and channels. Therefore, they’re inadequate in supporting what they’ve evolved to be utilised for which is to track user behaviour that can give meaningful insights as to the performance of advertising campaigns.
What's Going to Happen Next?
All signs point to a future without third party cookies
The GDPR that was enforced in Europe in 2018 created a domino effect that saw the major tech players (Google, Facebook, Amazon etc) making moves to show that they were taking data privacy more seriously.
The goal of the changes is to ensure that users know when their data is being collected and for what purpose it's being collected.
What does a world without cookies look like?
Eventually, all websites will require consent to process personal data so this change is likely to increase the power of the major tech giants like Google (users already agree to share your data when you sign up for Gmail or use any of their platforms), Facebook (users agree to give the platform and authorised 3rd parties to access to ANY content shared on the platform) and Amazon (users agree to share their data to shop using their services) who have and will continue to have more data available to them than any other single website or publisher.
This creates what is becoming known as a “walled garden” of data behind the security lines of businesses like this.
Walled Gardens, what is this buzzword and does it affect me and my business?
Firstly, what is a walled garden?
It’s a closed ecosystem where all the operations are controlled by the ecosystem operator.
In the case of Google for example - Google collects the data from user behaviour on their platforms, information freely shared through Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, etc as well as information shared by websites that offer it to Google to be able to use their platforms to advertise more effectively. The “walled” part in this scenario comes from the fact that Google collects this information completely willingly and offered up to them by users, but are more conscious than ever before of what it shares back with advertisers - so the data remains behind their “wall”.
And secondly, will this affect me?
The short answer is, probably.
Remarketing as we know of it now will likely become less reliable and eventually may not be available at all.
But don’t fret, this does not mean that we’ll lose out on a form of display advertising that delivers as much of a positive return as remarketing does; just that the way we do it will change.
Google has released advanced customer match segments that allow us to develop relevant audience groups that are likely to convert at the same or better rate. This matched with the ever-improving automated bid strategies has the potential to deliver even better results.
Over the coming months, Splashbox clients will be presented with the options most suitable to their business needs to build data models and scalable results ahead of the June 2020 deadline.
Are there upsides to these changes?
The potential upside to these changes is that it's forcing the industry to address the shortcomings of cookies and to look at ways that it can better track users across multiple channels and multiple devices, which cookies were never able to do with any degree of certainty.
The next phase of online tracking will have to leverage non-cookie signals to create a kind of digital footprint. With more information than ever before being shared with data giants, they will have more data points than ever to track people through each phase of their interaction with websites.
We anticipate (based on Google’s recent behaviour and product launches) this means they will be developing creative ways to share insights with advertisers about how to better achieve their goals online, without sharing anything that would allow advertisers/website owners to personally identify someone - so that advertisers keep funneling their advertising budgets to them.
The biggest upside for you is that we anticipate we’ll soon be better equipped to make decisions about where to invest your budget and better equipped to drive the result you’re looking for in your online advertising.