Google’s abandonment of individual web tracking signals another shift for digital advertising
In another major shift poised to further shake up the already rocky world of digital advertising, Google plans to stop tracking individual users’ web browsing habits or sell ads based on them.
Today, the Alphabet-owned search engine announced that it will phase out tracking users on websites without replacing third-party cookies with a new form of tracking. The news comes after the company announced last year that it plans to end third-party cookie tracking in 2022, a move that still has many marketers, publishers and digital advertising startups debating how to continue to track and target consumers with advertising. (One option that has been discussed is tracking people based on email addresses, which many believe creates an entirely different set of privacy and efficiency issues.)
In a blog post about the changes, David Temkin, Google’s director of product management for ad privacy and trust, wrote that while “digital advertising is not evolving to address people’s growing concerns about their privacy and the way their personal identity is used, we risk the future of the free and open web. Temkin cited a recent report from the Pew Research Center, which found that 72% of people felt the majority of their online activity was followed by advertisers, tech companies and the like, while 81% said that the potential dangers of data collection outweighed the benefits.
“Developing strong relationships with customers has always been essential for brands to build a successful business, and it becomes even more vital in a world focused on privacy,” he wrote. “We will continue to support proprietary relationships on our advertising platforms for partners, where they have direct links with their own customers. And we’ll deepen our support for solutions that build on these direct relationships between consumers and the brands and publishers they engage with.
Google has also been working on changes to its Chrome browser, which will replace third-party cookies and unique identifiers with a way for marketers to reach a larger anonymized audience based on common interests. According to Temkin, people “shouldn’t have to accept being followed on the web to get the benefits of relevant advertising,” adding that marketers shouldn’t have to follow people to get the same results.
“Keeping the internet open and accessible to everyone requires all of us to do more to protect privacy, which means the end not only of third-party cookies, but also of any technology used to track people as they browse the web.” , Temkin wrote. “We remain committed to preserving a vibrant and open ecosystem where people can access a wide range of ad-supported content with the confidence that their privacy and choices are respected. We look forward to working with others in the industry on the way forward. “
Google isn’t the first to make changes to ad tracking. Apple has been working on much-discussed changes for iOS 14 that will alter the way apps track people by requiring developers to get user permission to collect and share data from iPhones. Apple’s move also prompted Facebook to openly criticize the changes: In recent months, the social network has launched ad campaigns against the changes to iOS, while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the maker. of the iPhone as one of its biggest competitors.
Facebook is also already preparing for the impact of Apple’s changes on its business. In a conversation Tuesday at Morgan Stanley’s Technology, Media and Telecoms conference, Facebook CFO David Wehner said the company expects user adherence to data tracking to be “relatively low. “and that the changes will slow the growth of Facebook.
Apple’s privacy changes are also creating headaches for ad tech startups planning their initial public offering. One of them is AppLovin, which yesterday called Apple’s proposed changes in its S-1 file.
“The proposed changes to IDFA and transparency may require us to significantly change our data collection practices, which may require substantial expense and resources, and to the extent that we are unable to utilize IDFA or a similar offer, ”according to the company’s S-1. “Or if the transparency changes and any membership or other requirement results in a decrease in the availability or usefulness of application data, our software may not be as efficient, we may not be able to continue.” to effectively generate revenue for our Applications, our revenue and results of operations could be affected. “