17th January 2021

Changes to privacy are ushering in a new age of adtech collaboration

A modern era of consumer privacy causes adtech to face hard realities and poses life problems for the whole industry. The value exchange between advertisers and customers – which is how consumers “bid” for great content – has not been known and is definitely not explicitly expressed.

Adtech used data opaquely to position the right ad to the right user on the right device and at the right time. The best way to restore the trust of users is to make them understand how and when their information is used and to provide them with simple and convenient ways to opt-in or out. The whole of the adtech industry has to work together to protect the vast amount of content on the Free internet to address this challenge.

Adtech alliances and collaborations have become historically challenging and lead to aggressive actions by market-moving companies that they feel are better for their clients and, possibly, for themselves. In a new world of data privacy and identities, adtech has to be connected, and a new consumer-centered model has to be developed. A fully sustainable approach involves putting customer interests ahead of all else and a collective mentality in solving these challenges.

Future of free, open internet at stake
The adtech industry is committed to radically transforming the way it gives customers value — from customized, interesting content development to the recommendation of related brands and products. Conversations on identity, privacy, and accountability are now posing the issue of whether the future of the open internet actually will be at stake if we fail to develop a privacy-safe, consented, and transparent alternative to cookies that consumers can trust.

Some of the world’s biggest tech companies, such as Apple, have pressured the market to adapt, forcing developers and advertisers to upgrade their pages or applications quickly or to face the wrath of Apple — and above all, decreased revenues. While Apple’s demand for IDFA consent will eventually be a positive market reform, this will jeopardize livelihoods shortly and without the input of those who rely on the Apple ecosystem. When only a couple of big corporations exercise their influence and decide the destiny of a whole company, it hangs in the balance the diversity of products that we consume on the Internet.

Collaboration is crucial to resolving consumer privacy concerns
The adtech industry faces numerous obstacles and has each time established innovative and creative solutions that benefit many constituents and the need for better privacy and user controls have been heard and truly acknowledged by its leadership. Now coordination is vital as the market develops a new system that positions customers at the forefront and allows them the clarity of their data and the resources they deserve.

The industry has come together in the last few months to tackle one of its most complicated challenges. To develop new privacy standards, Google is actively participating in the W3C. It is interacting with the adtech industry and listening to suggestions and recently announced Dovekey, an iteration of their initial TURTLEDOVE proposal that incorporates aspects of Criteo’s SPARROW proposal.

Similarly, Criteo recently announced a partnership with The Trade Desk to support Centralized ID 2.0, a potential identity solution that allows customers unparalleled control of their advertisement experience with the option to opt-in across a simple, customizable and straightforward route. We have also seen the involvement of companies such as LiveRamp and Nielsen in these discussions. To overcome these problems, creative collaborations are required to encourage progress and to create a consumer-focused solution.

The future envisioned: Where adtech goes from here
Allowing customers greater power over their data would mean that adtech providers will have fewer data available. People will pick the publishers and marketers they trust and opt-out of those they don’t. Adtech must value this as an industry and create solutions that facilitate and allow the development of persuasive and fascinating content.

There will be consumers who will still prefer and enjoy a personalized experience. This will, however, represent a relative minority of users on the free Internet and will almost definitely be the most important cohort for advertisers and publishers. Publishers will allow users to opt-in using content and other access, while other publishers will create paywalls. Irrespective of how publishers promote opt-in, a percentage of the free internet will also be addressed individually and with consent.

The ideas at the W3C at the moment — Dovekey, TURTLEDOVE, SPARROW and others — can help address those consumers who opt-out or don’t explicitly opt-in. Advertisements referring to the whole group, using personal details, may be presented to cohorts of customers with common preferences within a particular topic or product.

Finally, adtech should look at the contextual advertising status 20 years ago, which does not use any user data and shows specific commercials depending on the content of a page. The worldwide contextual advertisement industry is projected to rise to $279.2 billion by 2025, according to a study by Business Wire. Contextual ads can both work well and prove friendly to privacy with more sophisticated machine learning and AI to overlay content with commerce data.

Instead of just introducing additional restrictions or rules in the interest of privacy, adtech government officials, and regulatory authorities all work together to create strategies that help everyone. The United Industry should restore its main sales engine while both rebuilding and protecting the trust and privacy of customers.

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