Above: Photo by Wavebreak Media/Depositphotos
BitDepth#1362 for July 11, 2022
Cookies are small text files that a website downloads to a browser that retain information about the session visit.
Cookies may retain some or all of the following information about a web user.
• The name of the website you clicked on
• How often you accessed information on a website and how long you spent there
• Your account credentials, location, IP address, address and phone number (if entered)
• Items you put in a shopping cart.
When the Internet was a simpler place, this was a convenience.
It was nice to visit a website again and not have to log in. We smiled when an ad for an item we recently browsed appeared on another website entirely.
Then the Internet became more dangerous, and cookies were caught between a heightened focus on the privacy of Internet users and a decision by Apple and the Mozilla Foundation to limit their reach.
There are three types of data that can be collected for business use.
First-party data is information that a business collects through its interactions with its customers or audience.
Third party data is information collected by a trusted partner. This information is not normally for sale and is generally shared for the mutual benefit of those involved.
Third party data is information collected from someone you do not know using methods that you may not be aware of. It is usually sold or licensed for advertising and marketing.
Since 2012, the EU requires that websites have the user’s consent before saving cookies.
In 2017, Safari introduced its first version of an option to block cross-site tracking. In 2019, Firefox started blocking third-party cookies by default, followed by Safari in 2020.
Are you curious to know your tracker profile? Use this monitoring report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Block trackers with disconnect.me.
Feeling pressure from increased user privacy demands, Google announced that it would start blocking third-party cookies in Chrome in 2020, but in the face of protests from vendors and providers, postponed the termination until the end of 2023.
Chrome currently has 63 percent of the browser market, so when it starts blocking third-party data collection, it will effectively end that method of data collection.
But that won’t end the follow up. Google currently has crawlers running on 76 percent of all web traffic. There is an invisible Facebook tracking pixel on 18 percent of websites.
As the dangers of cross-site tracking and the insecure transmission of personally identifiable information (PII) became more apparent, legitimate concerns arose about the vast sets of PII data that companies were collecting and selling to marketers.
Third party data collection is a massive collection and aggregation process and by collecting this information, careless coding can create security issues.
Own data is roughly equivalent to the contact information you have collected in your personal address book.
Third party data is information you obtained from your good-good partner’s address book.
Third party data is information you got from a guy who knows a guy.
The first part is difficult to acquire, but immensely valuable. The second part is good, especially if it is reliable. The third is cheap and widely available, collected using techniques that began to garner attention and led to the big cookie crush.
Google has been working on replacements, starting with Federated Learning Cohorts (FLoC), which sought to aggregate anonymous customers by interests.
The company has now moved on to Themes, a new effort to more carefully collect limited information about customers based on their browsing patterns.
Experiments are also being carried out with data clean rooms, which are supposed to create curated data sets that will guide marketing efforts. There are concerns about how thoroughly data can be cleaned before it becomes useless for marketing.
How well media houses know and understand their customers will be critical to the end of third party cookies. McKinsey estimated in 2021 that the industry could lose up to $10 billion in ad revenue, and that’s a blow it can’t take.
Facebook, Google, and Amazon successfully created models in which users blithely handed over deep data about themselves, fueling hugely successful ad businesses.
Amazon, in particular, uses its deep understanding of its customers to sell like no seller has ever done before.
Globally, major media houses have started creating their own proprietary data capture regimes, if they didn’t already have one.
It’s not so much a problem as it is a tremendous opportunity.
Media houses that develop systems that deepen their understanding of their audiences can more effectively engage and be more responsive, but they must also plan to offer value in exchange for coveted audience profiles.
Proprietary data can move advertising inventory trading from blind auction to direct trading, while improving the relationship between journalist and audience.
But TT media houses are notoriously data shy.
That’s partly due to the history of the business, when news was thrown blindly out of a van or onto the air, but even an independent annual survey of media penetration died because some companies funding the analysis didn’t like the news. results.
Vagueness is not expected in digital publishing, and it demands a fundamental rethinking of the audience’s role in shaping successful news acceptance.
Without a plan, without profiles of their audience, digital media houses will face real challenges in attracting effective advertising.