Spotlight

Cookie deprecation starts in earnest and the market for telco-verified IDs gathers steam

Welcome to the January edition of Spotlight. With the New Year in full swing, it’s time to look at what’s making the headlines in the world of digital marketing and adtech.

What we have for you today: Cookie deprecation gets into gear, the case is made for ID interoperability, and the need for robust consent mechanisms comes into focus.

The year the cookie crumbles

Anyone working in adtech knows that the big story this year will be the deprecation of third-party tracking cookies from Chrome. The starting gun has already been fired, with tracking cookies having been phased out for 1% of Chrome traffic from 4th January. Early results suggest that on average cookieless test audiences attract 30% lower CPMs compared to cookie holders – much better than the 60% reduction that was experienced on Safari audiences. These are very early days, and the Privacy Sandbox will no doubt evolve, so watch this space.

Of course, the Privacy Sandbox is just one of many solutions. The Trade Desk, for one, has been promoting a competing vision for the post-cookie future, one based on its universal ID. However, the truth is that there will not be one winner in this battle. In the future adtech will be much more fragmented, and marketers will combine a broad range of ID and other solutions to reach audiences both in walled gardens and on the open web.

Interoperability and first-party data come to the fore

Indeed, with so many competing IDs and solutions on the market, advertisers and publishers alike should focus on how best they can make these solutions work together. Publishers, for example, will be unlikely to fully profit from their audiences if they cannot exploit the broad range of solutions that are emerging. Moving forward, finding a platform that enables interoperability will be key to success.

So too will be accessing a solution that optimises first-party data. As we have often commented on in the past, with the loss of tracking cookies first-party data becomes publishers’ and brands’ most important asset. This has been recognised by agencies, many of which have been preparing strategies for clients in both DTC and non-DTC segments such as by providing apps through which customers can share their thoughts.

Getting advertising right…and getting it wrong

Another topic we turn to repeatedly is the rise of Advertising as a Service, whereby digital campaigns add real value to individuals’ lives. It looks like AI promises to turbocharge such efforts. At CES ’24, for instance, leading marketers discussed how AI can help generate integrated ads that enhance the daily lives of consumers and forge meaningful connections.

But just as innovation is promising to make advertising better than ever, we have a timely reminder that many brands are still opting for a pay and spray approach that barely considers the needs of consumers. This month, Hello Fresh was fined £140,000 fine by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for sending over 79 million spam emails and one million texts over seven months. If more evidence was needed for the benefits of personalised and timely advertising, then this is it.

Whatever the data application, consent is vital

Two stories this month show once again that user consent is the key to gathering data needed for a broad range of digital marketing applications. First up is Meta’s ongoing regulatory woes.

A complaint filed with the Austrian data protection authority alleges that users who wish to opt out of targeted advertising must pay a ‘privacy fee’ of up to €251.88 per year, which the complainant claims breaches the GDPR insofar as withdrawing consent must be as easy as giving it. This does all beg the question – why doesn’t Meta simply make it easy for users to manage their consent? Privacy is defining the internet of tomorrow, and trying to fight against that feels a bit like Canute trying to turn  back the waves.

Consent also makes an appearance at the intersection of AI. As one report has it, generative AI could provide a response to cookie deprecation by analysing consumers’ digital behaviour to provide audience insights and tailored experiences. Absolutely. It could. But only if consumers consent for them to do so. Building robust consent mechanisms should therefore be a priority for adtech companies as much as for publishers and platforms.

The telco-verification market gathers steam

Finally, news that Utiq, which is backed by several European telcos, is expanding its operation into the UK. Novatiq welcomes this as a sign that the market we’ve had to ourselves for so long is maturing. One key difference is that whereas Utiq is very much a Europe-centric proposition, we believe the market for telco-verified IDs is truly global, as our deployments in regions including the Middle East and Asia testify. Telco-verified IDs are clearly building momentum as operators realise the opportunities the technology presents, and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

More from Novatiq

We’re delighted to report that our various efforts to raise money for Children with Cancer UK, which have included a bake off, a 25-mile hike through the Chilterns, and an auction, are starting to pay off. So far, we have raised £3,000 for this worthwhile cause, and we plan to do more in the year ahead.

If you find yourself at a loose end, why not check out by the Novatiq blog. This month we’re looking at approaches and opportunities for telcos looking to grow their revenues, as well as how telcos can best make a business ecosystem play.

On another note, we will be attending Mobile World Congress this February. If you want to meet up to discuss the telco-verified ID proposition and how telcos can use it to boost revenues, then let us know and we will arrange a meeting.

See you next month.

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