June 2021 Update: Google just announced they will be transitioning out of third-party cookies beginning late 2021 to 2022, with plans to completely phase out by late 2023.

Us digital marketers have known the good ol’ days of super targeted (some might say creepy) advertising and simple click-based measurement are nearing an end—but we’ve put off doing much about it.

We’ve adjusted the legalese. We’ve recommended tools to be compliant. We’ve warned of coming changes to the ways personal data is collected, monetized, activated and analyzed. And sure, if you’re a multinational corporation or a well-funded early adopter, you’ve further future proofed with a robust 1stparty data strategy and marketing measurement solutions that aren’t cookie-based. However, for many brands, the privacy-driven web will hit hard.

Let’s recap how we got here. As ad experiences and marketing communications became more intrusive over the years, users became wise to the ways their data was being leveraged—largely without their permission. Then, trust in the web began eroding. Enter EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), litigation, Cambridge Analytica, California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), more litigation, the soon-to-be Washington Privacy Act (WaPA), and discussion of greater regulation via Federal legislation.

What is next? You guessed it, more litigation. For that (and perhaps less cynical reasons like regaining consumer trust) tech giants are shifting their approach to data collection and usage in response. Apple is introducing an iOS 14 update with new privacy policy actions, Facebook announced initial plans to accommodate it and Google is developing even more robust data collection changes via their Privacy Sandbox initiative.

Take it from Google, who just last week provided an update that confirms the transition to a cookie-less and privacy-focused web has begun (and will be substantial):

“Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products,” David Temkin, Director of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Trust.

Brands with good legal counsel and the funds to do something about it have found ways to stay compliant (for now), but the technology landscape has been slow to mature. Don’t get me wrong, we have great partners to help brands transform their data strategy—whether Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) like Optimove or Data Onboarders like LiveRamp.

However, I’ve yet to find a comprehensive solution to address all facets of the privacy-driven web—at least something that isn’t crazy expensive, over-complicated or missing key capabilities to manage data privacy.

Here’s a few items on my wish list for this new digital era:

  • Data collection for ALL marketing touch points—not just transactional, permission-based or site behavioral data, but also time-stamped advertising exposures.
  • Data warehousing capabilities for the above, ideally centralized in one tool versus five or more different cloud-based solutions).
  • Plans to accommodate new user identifiers or cohorts as well as privacy preserving APIs, as planned for with Google Privacy Sandbox.
  • Privacy compliance management that’s flexible and has cross-channel applications for digital marketers.
  • Activation and measurement of collectable data at the audience level.

If you’re a technology vendor and can do all the above, where have you been hiding? Also, let’s get in touch.

For brands, keep a look out for more updates from Blue Moon Digital on the subject—and let’s connect if you want to discuss how to mitigate the impact on your business.