Can Privacy First and Your Media Dollar Co-Exist?

By TechNext Archives
Cover image for  article: Can Privacy First and Your Media Dollar Co-Exist?

International privacy regulations like LGPD in Brazil, GDPR and CCPA, as well as the elimination of cookies, the changes in IDFA and new privacy settings are not enough for the FTC. The most popular forms for targeting and ad-tracking are under attack at the federal level.

The Federal Trade Commission is in talks to consider restricting “surveillance advertising” by requiring companies to limit the amount of data they collect about consumers, limited to opt-in only or in exchange for free content, according to Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter.

“A minimization framework would not outright ban surveillance advertising, but it would effectively disable it,” she said at a speech delivered at the annual conference of the National Advertising Division on October 1.

This follows the efforts of nine Democratic U.S. senators who urged the Federal Trade Commission to pass privacy rules that could require companies to obtain consumers' explicit consent before using their personal data. “Consumer privacy has become a consumer crisis,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and others say inthis letter on September 20.

“If companies cannot indiscriminately collect data, advertising networks could not build microtargeting profiles,” Slaughter added. “Without the monetization aspect of microtargeting, the incentive to indiscriminately collect data falls away.”

The October 1st session was not all doomsday for the media marketplace, but it did come with some guidance on where they are trying to go. With an understanding of the below five key areas of importance, the industry can plan and get ahead of these changes or help the FTC to create a solution that makes sense.

Slaughter laid out these five key factors, acknowledging that free advertising requires the collection of data. They include:

  1. Privacy is the key issue
  2. Transparency is the key solution
  3. Policy options should be opt-in or opt-out
  4. Surveillance advertising is necessary to support free services
  5. The FTC is toothless absent new federal legislation.

Most in our industry will generally agree that privacy is a human right and that we need to do a better job as an industry. Fewer may agree with the fact that transparency is key to the solution -- but let’s face it, it is.

The opt-in or -out could make sense, but what the FTC fails to recognize is a much larger question and challenge regarding how this will be managed, by whom and how will publishers and platforms alike share the data to ensure they do not violate opt-in rules? Let’s face it, this is not as simple as Can-Spam was years ago, but there are many more players involved and the programmatic ecosystem as well as IO-based media may not have the tech to comply.

The next larger question for the FTC to address and agree upon is if free services can still collect data? If they do, will any of the paid services switch from paid to free to benefit from this value exchange with the consumer?

Regardless of the decisions made by the FTC, it is inevitable that the collection and use of targeting data will be further restricted or eliminated.

So, what are brands, agencies and media buyers to do when it comes to buying, placing and optimizing media in this privacy first model?

  1. Rely more on broader use of first party data and always use it. Do not rely on second or third party alone.
  2. While we can, use more second party data.
  3. Consider co-mingling anonymized first party data to build a reliable data set.
  4. Leverage the device graph and intel from programmatic platforms.
  5. Look to media types that rely less on this data and have scale to deliver.
  6. And first party tracking.

Attribution solutions will also feel the pinch. In fact, if they are disclosing data transparently, most are already losing a fair chunk of what they used to see because of browser changes.

But you still need to measure right?

There are solutions here as well including first-party tracking. Find a partner that can help you with first party tracking and you will not feel the same pinch. As a brand or agency, you can track and measure your own performance -- you just need a partner that knows how to help you do so.

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