How to measure attribution in a post-cookie world and the ongoing issue of data consent in digital marketing

Welcome to the September edition of Spotlight, Novatiq’s roundup of the most important stories in digital marketing and adtech.

What we have for you today: Marketers prepare for the cookieless future, walled gardens look to media mix modelling, and Meta mulls Instagram subscriptions.

Record breakers

First some highly positive news. According to WARC, global advertising spending is due to grow 4.4% this year and 8.2% next to smash the $1 trillion mark for the first time. This is impressive given poor macroeconomic conditions and the fact that the digital advertising industry is having to adapt to a much-changed programmatic ecosystem with the phase out of third-party cookies next year.

Crumbling cookies

On that note, a new survey from Corvidae, an attribution company, provides some cause for concern. Its research suggests that 97% of marketers are worried that a loss of third-party cookies will impact their ability to understand marketing effectiveness. However, more than 80% of marketers report that they are still reliant on cookies to support their marketing activities and measurement, while just over half (51%) have admitted that finding a new solution is only a medium priority for them. Considering that cookies will be phased out on Chrome next year, that’s a big worry. Time is fast running out – marketers really need to put in place plans for the post-cookie environment now.

A question of attribution

In fairness to marketers, the question of attribution in a post-cookie world is a thorny one. It certainly seems to be giving Facebook, Google, and Amazon pause for thought. The three largest walled gardens are reportedly considering using media mix modelling (MMM) for attribution, which would cede some control of measurement to brands. Drastic times indeed. Clearly, attribution needs to be solved decisively in a privacy-conscious way. One potential method could be to use consented telco-verified IDs to deliver a robust attribution solution. The industry is still coalescing around workable solutions to this challenge and no doubt there will be some important advances soon.

Fine times

With India having just passed its new data privacy law, largely modelled on GDPR, the issue of consent is back in the headlines – not all of them good. Fitbit faces a trio of privacy complaints from the EU which allege that the company is illegally transferring data out of the bloc by effectively forcing users to provide consent. Fitbit isn’t the only company under the regulatory spotlight. OpenAI, the creator of the ubiquitous ChatGPT have been accused of a whole litany of GDPR breaches relating to lawful basis, transparency, fairness, data access rights, and privacy by design. This is an important test case around how AI models can operate in a way that respects and protects individual’s data privacy.

In related news, there are rumours that Meta might start charging users in Europe a subscription for its Instagram app. It’s possible this move comes from increasing wariness on behalf of Meta that its advertising practices may fall foul of GDPR. In our view subscriptions are not the answer as few businesses that have made the switch to subscription have fared well. We believe the sensible approach is to put in place robust consent mechanisms and adtech solutions that protect personal data and thereby ensure your advertising business remains profitable and compliant.

A win for common sense

Staying on the topic of consent, it was good to see that the Belgian Market Court has agreed that a ruling is needed from the Court of Justice of the European Union before there is further assessment of the Action Plan IAB Europe was required to submit to the Belgian Data Protection Authority around its enforcement of its decision against IAB Europe. This is good news as it removes the risk of introducing changes to the TCF that may end up being rolled back. The TCF definitely needs improving, but there are not many other mechanisms on the market and having something in place is better than having nothing.

Happy birthday Google

Finally, this month saw Google celebrate its 25th anniversary. The company has helped to define the modern world and deserves to be celebrated. Looking ahead however, it seems that in the area of digital advertising at least its dominance is less assured. With antitrust cases building up against the company it’s possible that its advertising business will need to be broken up. If that happens, we can expect to see a more diverse and possibly innovative market, and that can’t be a bad thing.

More from Novatiq

This month, some members of the Novatiq team took part in the Chiltern 50 Ultra Challenge, walking, jogging, and running the historic trails and rolling hills of the Chilterns, covering distances up to 50 km. It was, to say the least, a tough day out but it was all in a very good cause: Children With Cancer UK. The event may be over, but it’s not too late to donate. Anything you can spare would be greatly appreciated – you can donate on our Just Giving page.

As always, you can check our latest blogs for more industry insights. This month we’re looking at personalised content in a cookieless world as well as third-party cookie deprecation as a significant market opportunity for telcos. We’ve also just updated our white paper “Digital Identity Verification for a Privacy-first World.” Check it out.

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