Is Google heading for an adtech breakup, and how can consent be solved once and for all?

Welcome to the March edition of Spotlight, your monthly digest of what’s making news in the world of digital marketing and adtech.

What we have for you today: Continuing anticompetitive woes for Google, the TCF comes under fire, and advertisers struggle with signal loss.

Has Google had its day?

Google is coming under fresh pressure with a Є2.1 billion joint lawsuit by 32 European media organisations alleging that Google’s anticompetitive practices in the digital advertising sector have caused them significant financial losses. Google is contesting the case, but it does add to the feeling that the time has come for greater fragmentation in the adtech space. Publishers and advertisers alike would benefit from greater choice in the adtech ecosystem and the lower costs that greater competition usually drives.

Indeed, there’s some evidence that this fragmentation is already taking place in the area of privacy-first alternatives to third-party cookies. With the future of Google’s Privacy Sandbox still unknown, and uncertainty mounting that the company will meet its cookie deprecation deadline, marketers are increasingly taking matters into their own hands, and looking at how they can make use of their own first-party data. With plenty of market alternatives out there, it seems likely that programmatic digital advertising will evolve into a much more diverse market in the years ahead.

Addressing the marketing data skills gap

As marketers play a more active role in collecting, analysing, and activating their data, they are coming up against a significant barrier. In a new survey, marketers have identified data and analytics as the biggest skills gap in their department.

The challenge is that first-party data is highly disparate and it requires data scientists to bring this data together. Technology can help. A single solution that helps automate data processes through the programmatic supply chain is essential, but it is not sufficient. First-party data belongs to the marketing function, and they will want to retain control of these datasets. Investing in the right skills will therefore only become more important in the years ahead.

Solving consent once and for all

IAB Europe’s Transparency & Consent Framework, a mechanism for collecting consent under GDPR, is once again under fire. The European Court of Justice has clarified that a consent string is personal data, which sets a higher bar in terms of protection. This is just the latest in a series of salvoes against the TCF, which have left the industry wondering whether the framework will go the distance.

However, a solution needs to be found. The industry requires a clear and obvious consent management framework that it can trust in for the long term. If regulators have issues with the TCF, these need to be made clear now so they can be addressed. Otherwise, there’s a danger that the lack of certainty will lead to new opt-in mechanisms, confusing consumers with a lack of consistency and adding to the pop-ups that already detract from the digital experience and may not be trusted.

The FTC doubles down on data privacy

If there was any doubt that data privacy is not a priority for US regulators, then this can be put to bed. The FTC recently held its annual PrivacyCon event, which this year was full of warnings for the digital advertising industry about privacy protection, with clear notice that the regulator will look upstream to establish liability and pinpoint actors that are driving or enabling unlawful conduct – and that includes selling or sharing information that a third party can use to identify an individual.

This all adds to the general mood globally: marketers and adtech businesses need to take privacy seriously. If not, they face significant repercussions.

The MFA danger persists

A new study has found that demand-side and supply-side providers are still failing to ensure that ads from major brands do not appear on made-for-advertising sites. MFAs are designed to maximise the number of ads that users are exposed to and manipulate user journeys so that visitors must click through multiple pages to access content.

No brand wants their expensive digital campaigns to end up on such sites. It’s therefore imperative to look for audience activation solutions that can guarantee that campaigns are exposed only to guaranteed audiences, 100% of the time. Telco-verified IDs, which leverage telco network intelligence to guarantee the audience, are one such approach.

Signal loss takes hold

Finally, a study from IAB Europe has found that 95% of surveyed marketing industry professionals expect continued privacy legislation and signal loss in the future, and that a privacy-first approach is therefore becoming more urgent. The loss of signals is significant as it means that advertisers and publishers will need to rely more heavily on their first-party data. According to the survey, 90% of ad buyers are shifting personalisation tactics, with budgets increasingly allocated to channels that can leverage first-party data.

Telco-verified IDs offer another alternative to this challenge, enabling publishers and brands to create audience profiles based on their first-party data and safely activate them in the open web, with no data sharing and no need for clean rooms. With the impact of privacy legislation beginning to bite, marketers and publishers that embrace new approaches will be best placed to succeed.

More from Novatiq

If you’re looking to learn more about how Novatiq delivers tangible benefits for our clients, then check out our new case study. Here you can discover how we transformed the yield, sell-through rates, and campaign rebooking rates for Choueiri Group’s publisher partners.

We have also just published new infographics covering topics including how to scale ID solutions, maximise audience match rates, unlock the power of customer recognition, and how telcos can optimise their marketing strategies.

As always, you can also learn more by reading our latest blogs. This month we’re examining the future of adtech and asking how we can purge programmatic of persistent IDs.

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