Could CMA Commitments Delay Cookie Cutoff Further?

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This Week
November 30, 2021
Could CMA Commitments Delay Cookie Cutoff Further?
The Long Goodbye to Third-Party Cookies
Should Pubs Up Their Influencer Collabs?
Next Up: Sustainable Advertising
Ad Tracking Ending to Come Sooner Or Later
The ICO’s (Information Commissioner’s Office) outgoing commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, posted a scathing opinion piece where she “warns the industry [behavioral advertising industry] that its old unlawful tricks simply won’t do in the future.”

While the piece outlines ways to protect data and privacy in the future, many wonder what spurred the editorial to begin with.

Many point out that Denham is “restating requirements that are derived from standards that already exist in UK law — and wouldn’t need reiterating had her office actually enforced the law against adtech breache(r)s. This latest ICO salvo looks more like an attempt by the outgoing commissioner to claim credit for wider industry shifts as she prepares to leave office.” Ouch.
Why This Matters
As part of the antitrust investigation into Google’s Privacy Sandbox, the company “agreed to an expanded set of commitments related to oversight of its planned migration away from tracking cookies.”

“Google’s Sandbox plan has attracted the loudest blow-back from advertisers and publishers, who will be directly affected by the changes. Some of whom have raised concerns that the shift away from tracking cookies will simply increase Google’s market power — hence the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) opening an antitrust investigation.”

The CMA is now looking at a set of proposed commitments from Google and if approved, the investigation will close in early 2022 and the updated commitments would be in place until 2028. These updates would then take effect globally, showing that the UK regulators play a significant role in the evolution of web infrastructure.

These “expanded commitments look intended to offer a greater level of reassurance to the market that Google will not be able to exploit loopholes in regulatory oversight of the Sandbox to undo the intended effect of addressing competition risks and privacy concerns.”

“We have always been clear that Google’s efforts to protect users’ privacy cannot come at the cost of reduced competition,” said CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli. “We welcome Google’s co-operation and are grateful to all the interested parties who engaged with us during the consultation. If accepted, the commitments we have obtained from Google become legally binding, promoting competition in digital markets, helping to protect the ability of online publishers to raise money through advertising and safeguarding users’ privacy.”

As I wrote in AdMonsters earlier this year: “Along with all of these privacy concerns over how Google’s Privacy Sandbox functions, there’s been much contention about the leading role that Google (excuse us, Chrome) will play in deciding the future of digital advertising. There are a host of ad tech companies banking on their ID alternatives serving as cookie alternatives in the advertising ecosystem. Google has no plans to support IDs built on using consumers’ PII, like emails for instance. For this reason, ID solution vendors have valid fears that publishers won’t even give their alternatives a chance.”
The Lingering Impact of the Long Goodbye to Third-Party Cookies
Parting isn’t such sweet sorrow after all, at least when it comes to third-party cookies. Ask any publisher if they’ll sincerely miss the much-maligned third-party cookie and you’ll get radio silence. And yet, this is one departure that’s leaving a mark.

According to Lotame’s follow-up “Beyond the Cookie” report focused on “Identity Solution Testing & Adoption Among Marketers and Publishers,” nearly half of US publishers surveyed anticipate cutting staff due to revenue loss. Gulp. How much revenue are we talking? Nearly 2 in 5 see a “significant” loss of programmatic revenue on the horizon with 43% reporting increased competition among publishers to demonstrate their unique value yet another casualty of the third-party cookie’s exit.
Why This Matters
Time stops for no one, especially the laggards. Google’s cookie deadline is swiftly approaching. The good news is nearly half of U.S. publishers seem to have taken this bull by the horns. They report feeling “very prepared” with alternative solutions in place and actively testing. Huzzah!

For the other half of publishers who haven’t gotten the memo, your house will be on fire soon so get to testing, like yesterday. Cookieless identity solutions like Lotame Panorama ID are delivering results (and hope) for publishers and marketers alike that they’ll not only survive but thrive. To download the full “Beyond the Cookie” research findings, click here.
Are Content Creators and Influencers > Media and Brands?
Image sourced from People Vs Algorithms
Spoiler alert: the short answer is yes. Influencers and content creators provide a level of relevance and authenticity consumers now flock to. This opinion will obviously be praised by the “winners” and shunned by publishers but before this is dismissed as a rant against traditional media, the short answer is not even important.

Let us be the first to admit that this wave of not-so-new platforms (social media, blogging, podcasts, etc.) and their influencers are here to stay. Influencer marketing is expected to grow to over $13 billion before the end of 2021 with the majority of brands dedicating a standalone budget to it. So instead of ignoring the elephant in the room, it’s time to understand why collaborating with content creators and influencers is the most advantageous move for publishers.
Why This Matters
Everyone’s [Starting To] Do It

Influencers have created a niche lane to engage and connect across multiple generations. They have the attention, they’ve earned the trust and media brands are realizing the potential. Forbes offers a 50-50 subscription revenue split to journalist entrepreneurs. Disney recently launched the Disney Creators Lab, investing further in diverse social influencers to produce more relevant content. Even platforms like Instagram are offering up to $35,000 Bonuses for Reels content and Meta (previously Facebook) announced a $1 billion investment in creators through 2022.

Authenticity Or Nothing

Word-of-mouth still proves to be one of the most powerful ways to broaden reach and shift opinions. Why? Because people trust people for better or for worse and that stance has only been cemented over the last 10 years and then solidified further the last 20 months of the ongoing pandemic. Creators deliver a human-to-human experience that consumers can relate to. Unfortunately, most people have a polar opposite response to traditional media because they just don’t trust branded content, even if the intention is genuine. It’s rejected due to a lack of personal connection.

Finally Succeeding At Social

A social media presence for publishers is non-negotiable and yet it’s a struggle for so many. In most instances, publishers approach social media as a regurgitation of already published content or a space for experimentation which usually ends in low engagement or worse, social media fails. Conversely, content creators have built their brands on user-generated platforms and in turn, earned their loyal following organically. This alignment takes the mystery out of how to engage a preferred audience and completely eliminates the upfront work of building a social media presence.

Increased Exposure = Wider Audience

Partnering with an influencer or multiple (depending on the need) is a no-brainer to increase exposure — not only with new audiences but it can also renew the foundation with current ones. Now, this does not mean that publishers should blindly explore any and every brand agent with millions of followers. Quantity never beats quality in this game so don’t shy away from the nano (1k-10k followers) or micro (10k-100k followers) influencer whose content and audience organically align. Otherwise, you’ll convince yourself into a “told you so” scenario or it can end in a nasty lawsuit like Roblox vs. Ruben Sim.

So back to our original short answer — yes, the power of the content creator cannot be denied and it’s worth a monetary investment. The publishers already jumping on the bandwagon understand the return can be greater than the risk as most businesses are able to generate $6.50 for every $1 invested in influencer marketing. If we can be frank, we'd advise not ignoring the opportunity to evolve, regain trust and take engagement to the next level.
Making Ad Tech and Advertising More Sustainable ??
Separating plastics, cans and cardboard is great, but that day job; just how bad is it for the environment? Well, it’s probably worse than you think.

The internet is 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions, per 2020 BBC estimates.

“Amy Williams, cofounder and CEO of ad-tech B corp Good-Loop, told Marketing Brew the space is ‘unexplored,’ but that one estimate says it’s around 2%...*does math*...meaning digital ads could account for roughly .08% of total greenhouse emissions.”

“Good-Loop’s been trying to make digital advertising more ethical and sustainable since its inception in 2017. It’s ad-tech for good.”
Why This Matters
Brands and companies love to talk about sustainability during the holidays, but this should be a 365-day topic. Companies can start walking the walk by making positive, sustainable measures to offset the bad emissions that digital campaigns create.

“Good-Loop created a tracking tool in the form of a pixel called “Green Ad Tag,” which can measure and track the carbon cost of digital campaigns, coupling the data transmissions that trigger ads with local energy consumption. So far, the tag is being used by the British automaker MG Motor, which is offsetting its digital campaign by planting a tree for every thousand impressions served via Good-Loop’s “TreePM” program.”

They even created a “Carbon Calculator” where advertisers can upload campaign creative and calculate its carbon output.

In general “companies have an opportunity to enhance brand value by building sustainability strategy into their marketing strategy.”

“69% of consumers said they will endorse a brand if they show they are acting on their values. And 66% would support a company if they prove their socially and environmentally responsible actions.”

So why is it so hard for companies to clearly describe their brand purpose, vision and sustainability plans?

“Aligning your entire mission around environmental, social and governance (ESG) may not be necessary. But creating an ESG-specific mission statement helps articulate your company’s commitment to these issues and helps set the tone. Highlighting the direct connections between sustainability and business performance, including financial returns and risk mitigation, can support a company’s marketing efforts.”
Sweet Tweet
What Is Web3 Anyway?
If "Web2" tried to solve for loneliness w technology, "Web3" is trying to solve for trustlessness w technology.

Trying to hold society together w arrays will work about as well as trying to answer loneliness w machined connections. Which is to say, counterproductively. — @atgrote
Worth a Listen
Ian Gibbs on the Barometer Rev Ops Report
In BeelerCast Episode 204, Team Beeler chats with Ian Gibbs, Research and Insight Specialist with CoLab Media Consulting, about the Barometer research findings.
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