Whether you find it difficult to believe, funny, or feel threatened by it, the reality is that Google and Apple have been trying hard to position themselves as the crusaders of online privacy. The moves they make will have major consequences on digital marketing and advertising.
Both Apple and Google have a terrible past when it comes to handling user data, and they are trying hard to put the past behind them. Apple was secretly letting developers spy on users’ private conversations with its Siri smart assistant. Google’s now-dead service Google Plus had leaked sensitive data of more than 52 million users.
Google and Apple’s privacy push
In January 2020, Google announced its plan to eliminate third-party cookies from the Chrome browser by 2022. The company later delayed the implementation to 2023. First-party cookies would still be allowed, though.
Google is replacing third-party cookies with the Privacy Sandbox, and the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) is one of its biggest highlights. The FLoC groups users with similar browsing behaviors into a cohort. It shares only the cohort ID rather than the individual user IDs with advertisers.
Third-party cookies (3P) are how ad-tech companies track users across the web. They build a profile of you, and use this data to serve you targeted ads.
Unlike Google, Apple doesn’t rely on advertising for the bulk of its revenue. The Cupertino company sells iPhones, iPads, Macs, accessories, and services.
Apple’s iOS 14.5 software update requires users to give explicit permission for apps to track their behavior and sell personal data such as age, location, health information, and spending habits to advertisers.
The iPhone maker has announced that the upcoming iOS 15 software will bring a new feature called Private Relay, which will mask users’ IP addresses. It also enables users to log in to websites with anonymized email addresses. That could be a blow to advertisers because the ad-tech companies and advertisers have turned to email as a replacement for third-party cookies.
What does it mean for marketers?
Nobody likes being followed around, whether online or offline. A series of high-profile data leaks and privacy issues have further shifted the conversation in the direction of user privacy.
According to a public opinion poll conducted by Pew Research Center, a staggering 72% of Americans worry about being tracked online by advertisers.
While Google’s move might have scared some marketers, it’s worth pointing out that Apple stopped the third-party cookie tracking in its Safari browser in 2017. Mozilla Firefox did it in 2019. Brave is another popular browser that blocks third-party cookies by default.
Since Safari, Firefox, and Brave have already weakened third-party cookies, the elimination of 3P cookies from Chrome won’t have a huge impact, especially considering a lot of people use ad-blocking tools to avoid pop-ups and annoying ads. The Chrome browser has more than two billion users.
As third-party cookies disappear, so will the harmful, ineffective, and useless things built on top of it. The associated costs will go down, too. Advertisers have been losing money due to ad frauds, domain spoofing, malicious advertising, and so on.
The important thing for marketers is to find the most effective data sets, analyze them, and implement effective strategies. Good marketers will accomplish it even in the post-cookie era.
JPMorgan Chase was showing ads on 400,000 websites a month. But when they reduced the number to just 5,000 websites (a drop of approximately 99%), they had the same result. The same result!
Spending on the other 395,000 websites contributed nothing to their success. It highlights the fact that having the most amount of data or spending the most money might not contribute much to the success of your marketing campaigns.
Both Apple and Google are running away from their past privacy issues. They are not going to fully stop tracking users. These companies will still have a number of ways to collect user data. It’s just that they will track you a little less.
The forms or methods of data collection may change in the near future. But marketers will always have access to the relevant data sets.
Doors open for innovative solutions
Thanks to cutting-edge technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI), innovative solutions have begun to emerge to help marketers get the most out of their advertising dollars.
Ojamu is a Singapore-based marketing technology platform that uses a combination of AI and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to find the most effective marketing strategies for brands, products, and services. It aims to help brands run effective ads in the privacy-conscious and fiercely competitive market.
Its AI algorithms collect hundreds of millions of data points in the target industries. Ojamu has a Neural Predictive Engine to analyze the data and find insights that would move the needle. It eliminates ineffective marketing strategies to reduce wasteful spending on third-party intermediaries and unnecessary campaigns.
Ojamu uses NFTs to give brands access to an industry vertical’s key data points as well as cross-correlated data sets to discover the previously unknown insights. To prevent frauds, data mismanagement, and privacy leaks, it relies on decentralized storage platforms to fragment users’ data and distribute them across multiple nodes.
Wrapping it up
Privacy is getting more and more attention. We could see Big Tech as well as regulators pushing further in the direction of privacy. The elimination of third-party cookies could just be the beginning. But marketers don’t need to cry foul. There will be solutions they could embrace to maximize the ROI without having to track their target prospects’ every online activity.
Things aren’t as grim as marketers might think. Agile brands have always been embracing new trends. They find new ways to leverage relevant and actionable data, not a pile of irrelevant or low-quality data.
Innovative solutions like Ojamu have emerged to help brands with their marketing in the new era.
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Author: Shaurya Malwa