An open letter regarding Google Chrome's privacy news

The Drum 17 Jan 2020 03:35
An open letter to the industry regarding Google Chrome's privacy news

What a week! We’ve barely got a toe into 2020 and already folks are whipped into a frenzy over the Google Chrome Privacy Sandbox hysteria, an unexpected sequel to 2019’s Xanax-inducing Safari ITP panic. Many in the media and in our industry are shouting from the rooftops that, yet again, “The sky is falling!” Thankfully, I looked up today and it’s sunny and clear.

Change is hard. It’s the fear of the unknown that spurs these gut reactions that “the DMP is dead!” and “third-party data is dead!” Nope and nope.

I encourage us all to take a collective breath and assess the facts before we start piling on incomplete information and doomsday predictions. The details are what’s important. The sky is not falling; it’s simply changing colors.

Here are the important facts to keep in mind.

DMPs and third-party data are not dead

Marketers and publishers are wise to the value of their first-party data. All of these moments where your customers interact with your brand produce this wild, wonderful exhaust of data. But it’s no good to anyone if you can’t collect that data, organize it in a useful way, enrich it, and yes, activate it. Hello, DMP.

With third-party cookies under fire in Safari, Firefox, and now Chrome, one of those ID types — third-party cookies — is coming off the menu. But modern DMPs are built to work quite well with first-party cookies, mobile app IDs, and OTT IDs. So from a first-party data collection perspective, the DMP isn’t dead at all, and saying otherwise creates unnecessary confusion and panic.

Now when it comes to third-party data, it's important to remember that third-party cookies are not the same as third-party data. Examples of third-party data include demographics, new home buyers, people who watched certain TV shows, people who purchased certain products in the past, and people in-market for certain products and services. Much of this data originates from offline or cross-channel data sources — not the seller nor the buyer in a media transaction. Once collected or licensed, this data can then be associated with hashed email addresses, cookie IDs, mobile app IDs, and OTT IDs.

First-party data is great, but it won’t give you the whole picture

If we truly want to know customers, and if we hope to find our next batch of loyal customers, then we should aspire to a panoramic view of the consumer. And, how do we attain that Holy Grail? By working with quality data partners who can tell us more about our customer’s demographics, affinities, viewing behavior, purchasing history, etc.

Fear can be motivating. And yes, there’s a lot of uncertainty out there. But exaggerating the stress put on other companies and botching the facts helps no one.

So let’s get to it. Let’s have an open and honest conversation about what we’ve done in the past, where we’ve gone wrong, and what we can all do better in the future. And although it’s not sexy and full of click-bait goodness, let’s also sprinkle some facts and nuance into the discussion.

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