Throwing Shade on Third-Party Cookie Alternatives

Google is no longer on board with the third-party cookie, and it also isn’t a fan of the cookie alternatives hitting the market.

From the Google Marketing Live conference this week, Google repeated its position louder for the people in the back.

“What consumers want is for us to take a higher privacy position,” said Jerry Dischler, VP and GM of Google Ads.

This shouldn’t be shocking to anyone paying attention, but work on alternatives continues. The Trade Desk, for example, officially gave the Unified ID 2.0 code to the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media (PRAM) this week as it continues to relinquish control of the hashed email identifier it created last year as a potential replacement for third-party cookies.

Also this week, Apple’s lack of privacy rule enforcement caused confusion and marketers remain bullish on multi-touch attribution.

It’s been a busy week. Let’s dig in.

Google says, “meh”

Google is, of course, down with the Privacy Sandbox. Other third-party cookie alternatives? Not so much, said Google Ads VP and GM Jerry Dischler. “We just don’t see some of the solutions being proposed as durable for the long term,” he told AdExchanger before its Google Marketing Live conference this week.

This isn’t surprising since the company has sort of been saying for months that it wouldn’t build or support third-party cookie replacements.

If that wasn’t clear enough, Dischler went further during the event.

“Third-party cookies and other proposed identifiers that some in the industry are advocating for do not meet the rising expectations that consumers have when it comes to privacy,” Dischler said. “They will not stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions. They simply cannot be trusted in the long term.”

Pass the code

The Trade Desk has given the code for the Unified ID 2.0, a hashed email identifier that is meant to replace the third-party cookie, to the IAB Tech Lab through PRAM, an umbrella group of online ad stakeholders and trade bodies. The Trade Desk launched the initiative last year but vowed to relinquish control to independent trade groups. Prebid, for example, assumed operational control in February, and the Tech Lab will oversee the public GitHub page where the code will live. The Trade Desk still needs an administrator and compliance manager for Unified ID 2.0.

The identifier has gained a ton of support from across the industry. For a running list of new partners and updates, see AdExchanger’s Guide to UID 2.0.

Keeping tabs on Apple’s App Tracking Transparency

What’s the impact from Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy? We’re still not entirely sure. New data from Singular shows that less than 20 percent of iPhone users have updated to iOS 14.5, but less than 20 percent of those users have given consent to web tracking for marketing purposes. This is based on less than 12 million app installs on iPhones and iPads.

The upside for apps: Roughly 80 percent of worldwide iOS traffic is using earlier operating systems not subject to the new privacy rules.

No teeth?

Apple doesn’t appear to be enforcing ATT, which is creating confusion in the marketplace about fingerprinting, which is data collected from devices in order to identify people across the web and apps. Apple is against the practice because it is typically done without consumer consent. Mobile measurement companies can’t seem to agree on what is and isn’t allowed under Apple’s ATT.

“Apple will have to keep a close eye on these approaches and enforce ATT against any implementations that are in violation, or risk the policy being completely toothless and consumer privacy commitments not being honored,” eMarketer analyst Nicole Perrin told Digiday. “And if that were to happen, I expect the industry will wise up to the ongoing lack of enforcement, encouraging everyone to take these steps to maintain a level playing field.”

The future of MTA

Although some people predicted that multi-touch attribution (MTA) would die along with third-party cookies, many marketers appear to disagree. In MMA Global’s 2021 State of MTA Benchmark Report, 46 percent of marketers see a future for MTA, while just 21 percent view MTA as unrealistic.

Notwithstanding the third-party cookie issue, MTA faces other challenges. A majority of MTA users, for example, “still don’t have a clear sense of ROI.”

That’s it for the latest developments in the future of advertising. See you next week!