Despite claims that Google’s latest move might jeopardise cookie alternatives that have been gaining momentum, some applauded the company’s involvement after a long period of silence.
Google has again thrown a wrench in the plans of advertisers and ad-tech companies seeking to target and monitor users, announcing that once third-party cookies are phased out, it will not create or use alternative user-level identifiers.
Google revealed in early 2020 that third-party cookies will be phased out in two years, leaving the industry looking for alternatives before 2022. Replacement solutions based on personally identifiable information (PII) such as email addresses, according to Google, do not meet user privacy standards. According to a Pew Research Center report cited in the blog post, 81% of customers believe the costs of data collection outweigh the benefits. These replacement options, according to Google, would not be able to withstand “rapidly changing regulatory limits,” such as the CCPA, California’s Prop24, and Virginia’s recently passed Consumer Data Protection Act.
Some have indicated that by pointing out such solutions, Google could upend the work of ad-tech companies trying to figure out how to move forward in a post-cookie world. Lotame’s Panorama ID is one of those alternatives, relying on web, smartphone, CTV, and customer info, all of which Google is moving away from.
Google emphasises the need for more protection than can be gained by shifting away from third-party cookies and towards other PII-based solutions. It says it’s also collaborating with the industry on Privacy Sandbox technologies like the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) technology, which it claims is at least 95% as successful as cookie-based ads. Other ad industry players, however, are sceptical of the ad behemoth’s latest move, just as they are of its arguments about FLoC.
The’moat’ is YouTube and Google’s search company, and Google uses privacy as a shield to weaponize it. “Almost everything else is a rounding mistake,” said Andy Monfried, CEO of data management platform Lotame, in an emailed response.
According to Kershaw, the emphasis on email logins has been misplaced, and even a 20% adoption rate for user logins is a high estimate. With this in mind, the creators of Unified ID 2.0 concentrated on publishers’ first-party data, delegating segment development and audience management to them. Google’s announcement that it will endorse solutions focused on first-party relationships between customers and the brands and publishers with whom they interact is in line with these trends.
Marketers will improve and expand their first-party data assets by building confidence and transparency with their customers “Analytic Partners’ CEO, founder, and president, Nancy Smith, said in an emailed statement.
“Brands with sufficient access and authorization to customer data would have a route forward, according to Google. In emailed comments, Tim Glomb, vice president of content and data at enterprise marketing platform Cheetah Digital, said, “Brands not only need to understand how they fast track the collection of the data as quickly as possible to advertise effectively but more importantly, to also reach customers in owned channels through personalization like email and SMS.”
It’s uncertain how Google’s latest pronouncement would impact its work with the ad-tech industry, particularly because the company is facing a federal antitrust suit alleging it has too much control of the online search business, as it was with FLoC. “Although Google is making progress, it is currently stalling while pursuing a more concrete strategy. Google is under pressure from a variety of sources, including the advertising industry, privacy advocates, and Congress “Diaz Nesamoney, CEO of Jivox, a digital marketing platform, agreed.