Just Another (Disruptive) Day In Ad TechFlashtalking15 Jan 2020Flashtalking15 Jan 2020Yesterday, Google announced plans to restrict the use of third-party cookies in its Chrome internet browser. When you enlist in the Ad Tech industry, you learn to anticipate—and roll with—such changes, especially those originating from Google. Here’s what you need to know.
Yesterday, Google announced plans to restrict the use of third-party cookies in its Chrome internet browser, a move intended to bolster user privacy. In its wake, Google has proposed the Google Privacy Sandbox, a set of web standards—a conversation starter, if you will—whose stated purpose is to protect privacy while still allowing advertisers to target and measure campaigns.
That there is a move to restrict third-party cookies is NOT a surprise. It is a logical extension of the earlier steps by Apple (Safari) and Mozilla (Firefox) to block third-party cookies by default, as well as Chrome’s recent changes for cross-domain cookies.
When you enlist in the Ad Tech industry, you learn to anticipate—and roll with—such changes, especially those originating from Google. As industry veterans, we have seen a lot of change over time: the rise of programmatic, the demise of Flash, the increase in ad fraud, the introduction of GDPR, and the removal of the DoubleClick ID. Add to this list the latest entry: the death of the third-party cookie. Flashtalking has navigated each of these changes and continued to grow because we have a bright “north star” to guide us: meeting the under-served needs of sophisticated marketers through our global ad management platform.
What You Need to Know
There are a few key points that Flashtalking would like to share with our clients and agency partners:
1. Nothing has happened yet.
First and foremost: nothing has happened yet, and nothing is settled. Google has signaled its intent and willingness to engage in discussion with the industry. We have not yet heard from the publishers, advertisers or regulators. Rest assured, all three stakeholder groups will have strong opinions that will inform and shape the ultimate solution over the next two years and beyond.
2. The open internet is not going away.
Do not construe the intent to remove third-party cookies as an attempt to undermine the open internet. Google says its goal is to find better technical alternatives for delivering relevant advertising in a privacy-compliant manner. Whether or not you agree with its proposal or how Google will implement it, every responsible Ad Tech player should at least support this goal.
3. There will be no substantial changes in the short- and medium-term.
The vision for a cookieless future will evolve over the next two years; however, there are no short-term impacts to Flashtalking clients. The only tangible change Google has signaled at this juncture is the obfuscation of the Chrome user agent in April 2020. Still, we do not expect this change to have any material impact on the functionality of Flashtalking’s products and services.
4. Google has a lot of work to do, too.
Third-party cookies underpin Google’s infrastructure in essential ways, too. They are going to have a lot of work to do, and the risks for them are high. For all the inconvenience advertisers are experiencing with the roll-out of Ads Data Hub, those back-end changes do not impact the end consumer. Changes to the way the Chrome browser works are much more visible and high-risk. Google must get this right—and we expect they will take the time required to do so.
5. Flashtalking is taking a leadership role.
As a recognized leader in the industry, Flashtalking will not stand idle on the sidelines. We will be front and center, representing the best interests of our advertiser clients in the areas of data ownership, freedom to select their preferred partners, and independent measurement. To this end, we have already communicated with our key ecosystem partners to strategize our coordinated response. We will work closely with the IAB and ANA to coordinate a response with publishers and advertisers.
6. Flashtalking has prepared for the future.
At Flashtalking, we accept the challenge every day to deliver unique and compelling advantages, with our strategy based on a commitment to innovation that is 100% aligned to the needs of sophisticated advertisers. This mission has fueled many of our recent product investments, including:
Social integrations, allowing our advertisers to personalize at scale across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube from the Flashtalking platform
Ad Studio, enabling creative teams to build compelling dynamic creative with a streamlined end-to-end workflow
First-party site tagging, providing advertisers the ability to track a landing through to conversion
Alternatives to cookie-based tracking
Working with ecosystem partners to solve data challenges on behalf of our advertiser clients
7. Flashtalking is positioned to execute.
Flashtalking has been financially independent since 2001. As such, we have the resources to invest in the specific product enhancements required in a cookieless ecosystem. As the discussions around solutions evolve and our industry begins to innovate through this, we feel very fortunate to have such talented and tenured product and engineering teams who will be committed to collaborating and addressing these challenges ahead.
Our Commitment to You
Better tools. Better data. Better ecosystem integration. Better support. Data ownership and independence. These all add up to better results for you, the advertiser. In the end, that is Flashtalking’s real promise: to provide advertising solutions that ensure more return for your online advertising investments. We look forward to working with you during this next phase of our journey together.
By John Nardone, CEO