There’s no denying that some ad tech companies have abused the data (and collection methodologies) that internet users have so far passed on blindly. But the contradiction of that reality to how it is perceived by two of the world’s leading players unfolded Wednesday at the IAB’s annual leaders meeting in New York.
In a conversation between WPP CEO Mark Read and Allan Thygesen, President of Google Americas and Global Partners, Thygesen acknowledged that “people aren’t in control of their data” and could become uncomfortable with the how their data is used.
“And there’s too little transparency and accountability about how people’s data is used,” he continued. “As a result, people are demanding more privacy and control over their data online. And regulators around the world are increasingly focused on the need to create rules of the road.
These privacy rules have forced Google, along with other developers and browsers, to rethink how they collect user data. Thygesen acknowledged that other alternatives have emerged since Google announced it would phase out third-party cookies, noting that the industry is “at a crossroads.”
“Our industry can either work together to reinvent how data is used to deliver personalized ads more securely,” Thygesen said. “Or we can stop using scale customization altogether and move away from the model that has led to 30 years of global growth and prosperity for so many.”
Clearly, Google has no intention of changing the fundamental business philosophy that has earned it more money than some smaller countries. But Thygesen went on to say that this is an industry problem to be solved, not just Google. “An ecosystem that only sometimes protects users’ privacy is not sustainable. These changes must therefore be at the scale of the ecosystem and must benefit from the contributions and comments of all actors. »
Read suggested that the digital advertising industry, on both the buyer and seller side, needs to sell the idea of data-driven targeted advertising more effectively to consumers. “What we have to explain is [that] targeted advertising is more valuable advertising and therefore the more targeted the ads, the fewer ads we have to show the consumer to pay for the amount of content – and the better the consumer experience,” he explained. . “At the end of the day, that’s what we’re all doing.”
Elsewhere in Wednesday’s meeting, publishers lamented their own challenges with these ID solutions (or lack thereof).
But it’s the part of data privacy that seems to give tech leaders the most headaches, because they know they need to strengthen their practices but don’t want to lose the data they’re used to. to suck. consumer trails on the Internet, especially in their walled gardens. Read subtly dug into this reality. “I think this privacy challenge with data is probably the biggest [challenge]he told Thygesen. “It’s up to the bigger players to lead – not as gatekeepers – but to help set standards that consumers can understand. And frankly, it ensures that our class can get the most out of the web. »
Thygesen touted Google’s efforts through its privacy sandbox to come up with a new solution to the disappearing cookie, but admitted it was a trial-and-error process, and one that comes up against always face obstacles from regulators and legislators, not to mention wiser consumers. how their data has been used (and sometimes abused).
Thygesen praised the evolution of his business from FLOC to Topics as one way Google used a collaborative process. He also didn’t miss the chance to take a look at some of the other efforts to create a cookie successor, noting how some companies rely on personally identifiable information. [PII]. He did not give names. “We don’t believe these approaches meet the expectations of consumers or regulators. They are a step backward for user privacy, not a step forward,” Thygesen said.
Read joked that he was just happy that Google left FLOC. “I’m thrilled with the FLOC decision because I’m still trying to figure out what it was, and now I don’t need to apply my brain to this problem anymore,” he said.