AD Tech Q&A: Consumer privacy, trust and a transparent value exchange

Posted by Christian Manie On April 23, 2020 Research & Resources

Technology enabling consumer privacy in order to engage in an open and transparent value exchange with users and establish greater trust

With impending changes to third-party cookies and other identifiers there has recently been a global call-to-action for stakeholders across the digital supply chain to re-think and re-architect digital marketing to support core industry use cases, while still balancing consumer privacy and personalisation. This global collaborative initiative is being led by IAB Tech Lab and we have recently launched our full support of this project here in Australia.

Core to this project and to the success of digital marketing moving forwards is consumer privacy and the heightened emphasis on establishing genuine trust with users. The industry is now increasingly aware that there has to be a transparent value exchange online with people moving forwards and everyone must respect the end user’s privacy and the privileged access to consumer data through responsible and transparent practices.

With this in mind, we have approached a few of our board and senior council members with some questions on this topic.

We hope that you find this useful…

Adele Wieser, Regional Managing Director APAC, Index Exchange

How is Index Exchange approaching the topic of consumer privacy as the various changes to global regulations continue to come into play?

First and foremost, we feel it’s imperative that all data is treated in accordance with regulatory requirements and applicable privacy laws. We want to ensure that information is stored securely and used only for allowed and intended purposes.

We look at policy and regulation through the lens of the consumer. What is the right approach to consent, for today’s consumer, even beyond specific regulation? What type of product is going to create the best possible consumer experience? These are the questions we’ve been asking, and that’s what we at Index are building towards – taking the consumer, consent and trust into account and to create world-class features.

Are you confident that as an industry we can collaboratively find a solution to replacing third-party cookies over the next 18 months or so?

Absolutely. It’s why we’re so focused on building Identity solutions and facilitating that one-to-one relationship between publishers and consumers. At the end of the day, any solution built should focus on what’s best for the end-user.

We’ve been working with tech partners across the industry to bring Identity-based solutions to life for a while now. And thus far, the results have been really positive. We’re confident these solutions will only evolve to deliver a better user experience with time.

Ultimately, the shift away from third-party cookies is going to clean up our industry for the better, so long as solutions are implemented with user experience in mind, user privacy in focus, and with the intent of building trust.

Tereza Alexandratos, Director – Commercialisation and Delivery, The Guardian Australia

Your Australian digital audiences have recently grown quite dramatically through the crisis – how much does the trust consumers have in your editorial approach and how their personal data is utilised and respected, play a part in this growth?

This crisis has seen a surge in Australians looking to traditional media, seeking out news sources they can trust. As a direct result of this, Guardian Australia has become the fastest growing news site in the region. We saw a similar pattern of behaviour during the bushfire crisis. The Guardian delivers reassuringly consistent and fact-based, high quality journalism, and the growth in our audience proves that Australians value this highly.

We have built this trust over the last seven years and it is one of the core principles of our editorial agenda. It is at the heart of all of our business decisions including how we manage our commercial operations. Our commitment to our audience in holding up our side of the trust pact means we often do things differently to other publishers. The confidence Australians have placed in us, sees this strategy rewarded in a loyalty that you cannot buy.

No other media outlet in Australia commands a degree of loyalty quite like this, and the feedback we receive from readers confirms the reason behind this is, our commitment to independent journalism and our uncompromising editorial approach. Our biggest supporters are Australians who value fact-based news, and they put their money where their values are. It has led to a resounding vote with their keyboards – their support through voluntary subscriptions, and their recommendations to friends to do the same.

Our big challenge is retaining and monetising this audience and here, trust in data plays a big role. Our approach means readers are confident they can trust us with their data, and we firmly believe in honouring that trust to maintain their loyalty.

This is the reason we are very strict on first party data consent. We are fully GDPR compliant in our approach to communication and advertising – this means we require active consent. Currently, our team in London are working on registration testing. They are looking at the best way to be as transparent as possible with readers in explaining why we need their data and what we will do with it. We find transparency and clarity not only helps in uptake of data consent, but is an essential ingredient to securing it, and a cornerstone of maintaining a trusted relationship with our readers.

How are The Guardian looking to further establish an ongoing transparent value exchange with their users in terms of balancing the experiences in relation to both content and advertising moving forwards?

We are conducting further experimentation in sign-in models, and throughout this process we are communicating to our readers, how, what and why we collect data, as well as how it contributes to our business. Our subscribers’ belief in our business is a key element. There are also plans to scope a consent management platform and how this might be applied to both sides of our business.

The Guardian has a dual revenue stream (a subscription and advertising-based model) and this gives us some flexibility around how we structure our service, while still providing readers with the experience they know, love and trust. Our audience mostly understands there is an exchange, and as long as we are clear in communicating what the exchange is, and we offer opportunities such as the premium app experience which is ad-free, we are continually rewarded with their attention and increasingly their data.

Christopher Blok, Enterprise Sales (ANZ), LiveRamp

How is LiveRamp working to support the commercial future of the open internet, whilst still ensuring that consumer privacy remains a core priority?

The open internet enables a crucial value exchange between publishers and consumers. At LiveRamp consumer privacy is at the core of what we do. We believe the demise of third-party cookies is good for the industry as it will create a consumer-centric ecosystem, with consumers data privacy at the forefront of decision making. This is the beginning of a new era of engagement for brands, publishers, marketers, and customers.

LiveRamp enables its customers to innovate by building accessible, safe, and more seamless experience across the web through data. We also believe in leveling the playing field for all businesses looking to build a better customer experience through data, in a privacy complaint and safe manner. As a neutral entity, LiveRamp’s Authenticated Traffic Solution (ATS) helps recognise known users on a brand or publisher’s site in real-time to enable people-based targeting. ATS instantly unlocks additional higher-revenue streams for brands and publishers within cookie-less environments e.g. CTV, Safari, Firefox and Mobile Devices.

What opportunities and challenges do you believe will come, for the industry, in a cookie-less world?

With the demise of third-party cookies, the industry is presented with the challenge of finding new ways to accurately identify and connect with customers on the open internet. We see this not only as a challenge, but an enormous opportunity and the change for the industry to re-establish trust with the consumer and build a more efficient, sustainable, and consumer-centric ecosystem.

The inability of marketers to use third-party cookies will impact how they reach an addressable audience ROAS, which is so much more important during this time than before. It will also present challenges for publishers and marketers to continue to deliver valuable, relevant, and personalised customer experiences.

We see a huge opportunity here for people-based identity platforms. IdentityLink is embedded across the ecosystem enabling marketers to target people one-to-one at scale and accurately attribute the effectiveness of media investments – without relying on third-party cookies.

At the end of the day, we want a level playing field for every platform, marketer, and publisher – with consumer privacy at the very centre.

Peter Barry, Regional Director Australia & New Zealand, PubMatic

How are PubMatic working with their publisher partners to help them enable a more transparent and accountable relationship with their users?

PubMatic have developed an identity agnostic solution called Identity Hub. The purpose of this is to ensure that publishers can work with best in class identity vendors to ensure that their user data is protected and safe, whilst also enabling strong monetisation to allow them to continue creating the content their consumers expect and love.

Thanks to data protection initiatives like GDPR and CCPA, I think our industry is doing a much better job not just of protecting user data, but also communicating the value exchange that takes place when it comes to content creation and the funding of journalism.

In addition to this, we have developed Audience Encore, which allows publishers and data owners to monetise user data in a privacy compliant way, and means they can do so knowing they won’t lose control of that data, and there will be zero data leakage.

Are you concerned that the gradual, yet relentless pressure on audience addressability will negatively impact vendors and publishers moving forwards?

No. These standards ensure that we are taking a responsible approach to dealing with user data. We are by now all too aware of the recent and far ranging abuses of user trust in our industry. These breaches have coloured the consumer’s view of digital advertising, and this has damaged the good work that the vast majority of tech and media businesses do in our space.

Tighter standards mean that the good players can grow and thrive within a clear framework, and the few bad players will be held accountable if and when they breach those standards. Working toward a few or even one universal identity solution will ensure our industry can rebuild trust with the consumer, which is the only outcome we should be aiming for.

PubMatic have built out solutions to allow for this such as Identity Hub and Audience Encore.

Christian Manie