🌯 Is Consumer Tracking Dead?

AdMonsters Wrapper: The weekly ad tech news wrap up
This Week
May 15, 2023
Is Consumer Tracking Dead?
Telecom Employees' Privacy Is at Risk
Around the Water Cooler
Is Consumer Tracking Dead?
We don’t need to tell you that the cookie is crumbling. But which solutions will solve for tracking and measurement in a cookieless ecosystem is up for debate, and it leaves some marketers scratching their heads.

Ogury surveyed 1,000 agency and marketing execs, and most believe consumer tracking will become obsolete. I can already hear you saying, "In ad tech? How can that be?"

The Future is Unclear: Despite experimentation with new technologies, people of ad tech are still determining what life without the third-party cookie will be like. Cookies have been the ad tech industry’s safety blanket for years, and if Google keeps its promise, the safety net will vanish in a year. The common consensus is that some form of identifier is needed, whether it’s behavioral targeting, an alternative ID solution, PPIDs, Seller Defined Audiences, etc.
  • "Identifiers are probably the most important thing in our industry, and I think it's the greatest thing that we can invest our time and effort in today," said Mike Bregman, chief activation officer at Havas Media Group.
  • "Where the industry is going — cross-device, cross-platform, walled gardens — you need more publisher verification. They need to know that when you're buying a specific audience or person, or you know, records of people, you need to make sure that these are real, verified consumers that are interested in the product and will have the intent to go in and purchase or engage with the brand in some way. That's hard to do with a cookie."

Personas? Ogury, on the other hand, is pushing for a “persona” system — groups with similar interests — instead of an identifier.
  • Ogury CEO Geoffroy Martin told Digiday that the goal is to "shift from the paradigm of targeting people because when you target people, you need an identifier. And then right away, you get into the type of challenges of collecting personal information."

With scattered ideas about which way to pivot with identity, it appears some marketers are wandering in the wilderness, hoping for a shot in the dark. Although, other research shows that other publishers and advertisers are more optimistic about their post-cookie plans.
Why This Matters
DoubleVerify also released a study explaining the status of post-cookie solutions within the industry.

In their survey last year, publishers and advertisers were worried — scrambling to reach the requirements for survival in a post-cookie world. This year, the survey showed that optimism was afoot and that publishers and advertisers see the ecosystem beginning to heal from its wounds.

Optimistic? Worry-Free: Both publishers and advertisers provided their sentiment, and while there was some alignment, there is still room for growth before the buy-side and sell-side can meet in the middle.
  • Both sides have faith in first-party data activations, but publishers admitted they needed work improving their first-party data capabilities. The survey says publishers who described their first-party data activations as "very good" declined 35% this year.
  • The buy-side and sell-side also focus on attention metrics in preparation for a post-cookie world. 94% of publishers stated that attention metrics were necessary for their business strategy moving forward, and 96% of advertisers said the same.

The Wrong Game: On the other hand, some are worried that the identifiers we focus on today may be desolate in a post-cookie world. Whether Alternative IDs and hashed email addresses will perform well after third-party cookie deprecation is debatable.

With the walled gardens fortifying their strongholds, some critics believe that chasing identity solutions is and will continue to be a fool's errand. Yet, there are still well over 80 ID solutions to choose from in the ad tech space.

"The ID we fixate on now (cookie, maid, email or IP) is not the ID of the future, and neither is universal IDs which are intellectually and operationally bankrupt," said Neil Sweeny, CEO and Founder of Reklaim. "A cookieless future will usher in a wave of walled gardens with little interoperability and how those that supply data to the market today quietly asphyxiates the open web."
Telecom Employees' Privacy at Risk, but Could SBOMs Help?
Dark websites are attacking telecommunication companies in droves. These companies are like a moth to a flame or a shark in bloody water to bad actors. They can't seem to help themselves.

What's Tea? According to SpyCloud's Identity Exposure Report, about 6.34 million pairs of credentials, including corporate email addresses and passwords, were leaked from telecom companies.
  • Although, the more polarizing fact is that those 6.34 million credentials only spanned nine Fortune 1000 telecom companies.
  • In contrast, SpyCloud discovered that in the tech sector, bad actors caught 7.52 million credentials, but the results spanned 167 Fortune 1,000 companies.

Why is Their Risk Level so High? SpyCloud's report insists that telecom companies have such a high data breach risk factor because their systems have poor vendor security.
  • Last week, T-Mobile reported that they had their second data breach in 2023, and we're barely halfway through the year.

Bad Actors will only keep improving their skills, and companies must do the same to protect themselves, but how should they start?
Why This Matters
President Biden suggests companies create an SBOM list, but some critics assert that the process needs to be simplified.

The Software Bill of Materials: A SBOM is an ingredient list that details what components make up a company's security software and includes what open-source programs and other tech stacks it pulls from.
  • The goal is to see if their network is vulnerable when another vendor encounters a cyberattack.
  • Executives can also use it to see a company's vulnerability to a cyberattack before they purchase or partner with them.

Creating an SBOM takes a bit of work. It requires companies to make time to pull the correct data and generate the list in a usable format.

"Many software vendors aren't ready to invest the needed time and money into fixing the security flaws that SBOMs will highlight," said Alex Santos, CEO at Fortress Information Security.

Research shows that many companies build their security software quickly to ensure developers and employers that they can start moving their products rapidly. Yet, the rushed security framework —prioritizing speed over quality — creates faultier software. After completing their SBOM list, many companies must completely rework their security framework.

Not the End Goal, But a Nice Starting Point: While SBOMs won't solve all the cybersecurity threats in the ecosystem, it is an excellent place to start. Bad Actors are only rising, and their tactics are becoming increasingly innovative. Understanding your vulnerabilities will protect your business because bad actors aren't going anywhere.
  • The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) states, "Ad fraud is likely to exceed $50 billion globally by 2025 on current trends, second only to the drug trade as a source of income for organized crime."

For Publishers and advertisers, understanding the security risks in the supply chain will help you keep your consumers' data safe.
Around the Water Cooler
here's what else we're digging into...

Are Podcasters the New Influencers? Podcast ad spend is at an all-time high, and with the medium becoming more influential by the day, publishers and advertisers have every reason to start investing in it. In a new Magna and Vox Media study, 75% of consumers point to podcast hosts as the most influential figures driving their purchasing decisions. (Ad Age)

Sustainability Scopes Measure Carbon Footprints Many ad tech brands are still figuring out how massive their company’s carbon footprint is, but sustainability scopes are the way to go. Three scopes measure emissions directly from your business, indirectly from a third-party source, and from the intermediaries involved in the company output. (Digiday)

OpenAI CEO Will Testify at Senate Hearing The generative AI storm is upon us, and the U.S. federal government is preparing to endure the turbulent weather. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman will testify next Tuesday at a Senate subcommittee hearing that could mark the first step toward regulating the new technology. (MediaPost)

FTC Investigates Health Data Giant IQVIA The FTC has turned its antitrust crusade to the pharmaceutical industry. They are investigating the merger between IQVIA and Propel Media, who they believe could soak up the bulk of digital advertising in the pharma industry. (Politico)

Vice Media Files For Bankruptcy Another news publication bites the dust as Vice Media files for bankruptcy. After the news of BuzzFeed News shutting down, it highlights that publications that were once staple platforms for millennial audiences need help to evolve with the realities of digital publishing. (The New York Times)
Sweet Tweet
Video Revenue Won't Make Up for Publisher Loses
The idea that video revenue is going to somehow protect publishers from the losses caused by search Incorporating AI is just as dumb an idea as the last three times video revenue was supposedly going to make up for publisher losses.
Worth a Listen
Beeler.Tech’s Rob Beeler on Pulse Premier, The Guardian's Contextual Deal, and UK AI Regulation
On this week's episode of The MadTech Podcast, Rob Beeler, founder & CEO of Beeler.Tech joins ExchangeWire's research lead Mat Broughton and CEO Rachel Smith to discuss Pulse Premier, the Guardian's contextual targeting deal, and more.
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