Cookies and the future of online advertising.
Today, any company that does Digital Marketing has to pay attention to a very important element: data protection.
It's that so, that public institutions as well as private organizations are developing new ways to guarantee data protection: in Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (known as GDPR ), in California, the Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) or Safari and Firefox offering the possibility of blocking third party cookies.
What are cookies?
Cookies are files generated in web servers that get sent to browsers to collect information about users' behaviour when surfing the web. The goal of these files is to differenciate users to be able to offer them specific information depending on their interests. This means that cookies help personalize the navigation and offer a better user experience.
Data collected by cookies can vary: from knowing how many times a user visited a website to the products s/he added to her/his cart.
There are two types of cookies, depending on who's managing them:
- 1st party cookies: managed by the website the user is visiting.
- 3rd party cookies: managed by external companies, usually ad agencies.
What's the future of online advertising?
IAB Tech Lab's solution.
However, IAB Tech Lab has a solution that makes it possible to protect users' privacy while allowing companies to track their activity: that all parties work together to "develop new technologies that allow for innovation, always based on the trust, privacy and security of the consumers". According to them, the future of cookies is based on a "clear configuration of privacy and control from the user thanks to a standarized identifier”.
IAB Tech Lab's proposal consists on developing a technology that works through a standarized token for each user containing his/her privacy configuration and his/her preferences - what they describe as a shared mechanism to use data but controlled by consumers.
This token can be shared with advertisers so that they can personalize their messages. Said tokens would be managed by IAB and companies wanting to access them would have to prove that they comply with the privacy preferences detailed in the tokens.
European publishers' solution.
On the other hand, European companies (publishers) are already putting into place some solutions. In countries like Switzerland, Finland, Germany, Portugal or France, publishers are working together to create logins to share between them. This means that when a user registers in one of those networks, the ID of that user is shared among the different platforms. This alliance also involves the improvement of the ad segmentation options for advertisers.
This initiative appeared as a way of competing with Google and Facebook, platforms that would highly benefit in case cookies disappeared. Both companies already use logins to serve ads: when a user registers in any of their channels (Gmail, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram...) s/he leaves her/his data. These platforms also know users' interests and the websites they've visited.
We're facing a landscape where privacy protection is more important than ever, and companies are looking for solutions to keep on offering personalized experiences while proteciting user data.