Muki’s AdTech Diary June 2024

Privacy is here to stay

I remember one phrase from the Google employee who was giving a guest lecture at my university: “If we get privacy right in Germany, we get it right everywhere”. More than 10 years later, Google has not gotten in right. Not in Germany. Not in the EU. Not everywhere. And neither have Meta, Oracles Advertising division or the ad tech industry in general. Remember the Cambridge Analytica scandal? Trust in self regulation is not enough, when it comes to profit oriented companies.

Regulation comes when responsibility is missing

Ad tech is a relatively young industry. We as an industry are releasing more and more that the tradeoffs we make are not compatible with our social rules. Collecting and selling private and sometimes sensitive information – prior to GDPR even without consent – stands in conflict with a right to privacy, which is part of many legal institutions.

Regulating industries, where it conflicts with human rights, is not new. Every existing government acts for the good of its people: quality standards on products, consumer rights, speed limits or environmental protection. It is necessary and good that the digital ecosystem as a whole gets more privacy regulation. However, big tech companies struggled way less than the open web and small businesses. GDPR was a massive problem for publishers that relied on third party vendors for personalised ads. Google, Meta and others with authenticated traffic only, didn’t really care. What the impact could look like, was demonstrated by Apple when introducing ATT (app tracking transparency).

Addicted to Data: The Pitfalls of Relying on Inferior Analytics

Following people from site to site is creepy and yields little to no value. The reason I mention the big walled gardens all the time is because they have real data. High quality data. Users log in to the likes of Facebook, Tiktok and Google, so they know who they are. Or as Fou Analytics writes: Cookie targeting sucks, so how did the priest get outed as gay? 

We are addicted to data. Showing a 10% uplift feels good, even if it’s totally made up from some random data points we collected and inferred some results. A lot of solutions that are being developed and tested are trying to be substitutions. We are afraid of the cold turkey, even though we had the chance with Safari and Firefox for a slow withdrawal of our data addiction. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m an engineer and I truly believe that if you can back up decisions with data, you should. But when your data is crap and the goal is hard to measure, you shouldn’t fool yourself.

Privacy Sandbox

The story about privacy sandbox is not whether it can replace third party cookies or not. If Google succeeds and establishes the ad manager inside the browser, it will set a new path for the web. All browsers will start becoming ad managers and try to tap into this revenue. 

If the CMA approves Google’s approach as it is today, Amazon will likely start shipping their own browser as well. In the end, this will leave publishers at the mercy of the big tech giants and advertisers have to trust them that everything is in their best interest.

Privacy is here to stay and will become stricter, simpler and more global. “Colorado begins requiring Global Privacy Control (GPC) as an authorized Universal Opt-Out Mechanism (UOOM)!”

Weitere News