Why is this important for users, advertisers and publishers?
A healthy internet ecosystem revolves mainly around 3 dimensions: the users, publishers and advertisers. Users visit publisher websites to access valuable content, while publishers need to monetize their content through various revenue streams including showing ads to users. Advertisers are looking to reach specific users and therefore advertise on publisher websites to drive business outcomes.
Unfortunately, the industry has done a poor job with users to explain the role and mechanisms used to make the ecosystem work, leading to privacy concerns and lack of standardization to address these issues, hence the rise of regulations and frameworks we’re starting to see today.
Impact on the user
Users will appreciate getting more control over their digital privacy, but they also have come to expect convenient and personalized experiences. The changes to the industry coming up will likely impact this experience if they aren’t properly addressed. Frameworks will carry a secure and simple to understand consent mechanism to inform the users about the value exchange and provide them with a privacy stamp, as well as what information is being shared and how it’s being used. On the flip side, by having users opting out of the value exchange, it can also mean losing the democracy of free content, freedom of speech and neutrality that has been supported by publishers of the open web over the years. These are very important subjects for the world’s democracy and have serious implications for future generations. We must ask, how to balance users’ privacy needs with advertisers’ needs to generate business outcomes from ads? Does the industry need one-to-one targeting or is a cohort-based approach just as good? The reality is, publishers need to monetize their websites to produce content, and advertisers are expecting to drive business outcomes from the benefits of digital advertising, and solutions do exist!
Impact on advertisers
Advertisers, faced with less specific and targeted data, will have to find ways to personalize their campaigns to a group rather than to an individual. Other mechanisms on the rise are the use of Universal ID aiming to provide similar capabilities as the Walled Gardens. The death of the third-party cookie does not necessarily mean that advertisers will spend less on digital advertising. In fact, with the rise of Ad Blockers, a study revealed that 64% of cookies were blocked or deleted by browsers in Q4 of 2017. However, we did not see a decrease in ad spend in 2017, but rather, it has increased every year since.