Privacy Changes. What I Need to Know Now
A couple of weeks back, we sat down with Ryan Sullivan from Bench to talk about the key factors in digital privacy. Today we talk about what these changes mean for campaigns.
Q: So Ryan, picking up from where we left off. We’re starting to experience the impact of changes in our campaigns aren’t we?
Ryan: It’s fair to say that almost all marketers will have already started experiencing some impact to their campaigns and I have no doubt that this will continue for some time. The impact will have been felt more acutely by certain marketers, those who were overly reliant on Facebook conversion-based campaigns. We need to also be aware that the wheel of change hasn’t stopped turning yet and more changes are inevitably on the way. Continual agility and adaptability will ultimately be the key to your future success. Greek philosopher, Heraclitus said “change is the only constant in life.” Whilst that phrase is on more motivational memes than I care to count, it is extremely poignant in the media industry at this time.
So yes the goalposts have definitely been moved, there’s no getting away from that. The implications are far-reaching and you will have no doubt already begun to experience the challenges that they bring. The way I see it is the changes fall into three distinct categories; targeting, retargeting and measurement
Q: So I guess this means audience targeting will be affected?
Ryan: Both Apple and Google’s announcements will impact your ability to target audiences and optimise your campaigns based on online consumer activity. What this means is two-fold. First, you will have very limited access to targeting and tracking iOS users that have opted out. Second, whenever Google actually gets round to deprecating cookies you will no longer be able to target users using 3rd party cookie data on Chrome. When you consider that Chrome has around 51% browser market share and Safari and Firefox combined makes up about 38% that makes for a bleak future for 3rd party cookie targeting.
Q: Does that affect retargeting as well?
Ryan: I separated this out from targeting because I believe it needs to be understood in its own right. Here’s the kicker, once 3rd party cookies are no longer, retargeting will realistically cease to exist as we know it. That means that if a consumer visits your site and does not give you permission to track them, then you will not be able to serve that user personalised retargeting ads. Cue jaw-drop.
Q: So then, what about campaign measurement?
Ryan: Apple’s most recent release of iOS14.5 was a big game-changer when it comes to measurement. To safeguard privacy, Apple will aggregate and delay data coming from iOS 14.5 users. The restricted flow of data will affect your ability to accurately track conversions across your varied media campaigns. Facebook will be affected more than most because their performance was underpinned by such granular conversion tracking. What this means for you though is far less actionable data flowing through and an inability to comprehensively measure conversion source. That’s not to say your conversions will drop, you just won’t know where some of them are coming from.
Q: So what’s the conclusion here?
Ryan: There’s no sugarcoating this, there aren't too many positives to be taken from this if you look at it in the cold light of day, but there’s no point crying over spilt milk. Too much energy has already been spent pining for what’s been lost, rather than focusing on what we can do now and in the future. I do believe that they will ultimately prove to be a positive thing. We let Facebook dictate far too much for too long, to the detriment of consumer privacy, not to mention the open web and independent publishing. Consumer tracking and targeting industry grew exponentially and relatively unchecked. With the emergence of anything so new, you will always get an element of wild west behaviour. With the mindset of “you can't break rules if you make them up as you go” the scales were tipped in their own favour But all good things must end.
As advertisers, you need to understand that although things are changing, there are still many ways for media agencies like MPA to work with partners such as Bench to deliver schedules that drive the results you need. The benefit of using knowledgeable and trusted media partners is their ability to identify opportunities and maximise campaign outcomes. Changes have and will continue to come, but the timing and impact of these changes is yet to be determined. Watch this space!