Come Together – Avoiding the Post Cookie-Pocalypse Walled Gardens

This month the industry was busy with commentary on Google’s announcement around ending support for third-party cookies in the Chrome browser by 2022 or sooner. Google communicated its intention to use the “Privacy Sandbox” as a platform to develop alternative solutions for ad targeting and conversion tracking.

We’re not surprised as the entire industry has been deeply focused on planning for the next generation of digital advertising in the face of diminished cookies. The obvious pressures from both consumers and global regulators to put control, choice and transparency around data and privacy firmly into the hands of citizens is in virtually every jurisdiction. The real concern has not necessarily been centered around the “cookie-pocalypse” but rather around the hasty, reactive patchwork of legislations that are appearing in North America and overseas. What we need now, more than ever, is urgent global coordination on privacy legislation that allows this borderless industry to continue to thrive without playing “Mother, may I?” across hundreds of jurisdictional requirements.

IAB’s position on Google’s intentions is fundamentally positive. Supporting journalism and ad supported content of high value that might otherwise not be accessible to all, is the cornerstone of our mandate. We believe the entire ecosystem must collaborate to develop alternative solutions to third party cookies to support the open web.

IAB Tech Lab has been involved in W3C discussions which to date, have been mostly around proprietary browser/OS approaches. Spending too much time pitching and developing proprietary new models could drive the industry towards more walled gardens which will lead to inconsistencies in measurement, standards and transparency – all over again.  We would instead  like to see collaboration that focuses on improving open privacy and tech standards that would be supported by all browsers.

We are currently cracking on one crystallized question: how do we get to a centrally managed consent management platform, controlled by citizens, that is enabled to communicate reliably to third party platform vendors that  would  work on behalf of advertisers or publishers?

The industry must find a way to enable standardized citizens’ increasingly nuanced privacy rights that will be readily adopted by global regulators, the ad tech community and of course, the browser platforms.

IAB Canada continues to stay involved in global IAB discussions around this important work. Our Ad Tech Council and related committees will surely have their hands full in 2020 while we continue to solve for today’s realities while having one foot in the future state. As the title suggests, “one and one and one is three”. We have to come together to keep 3P data running free.