December 20th, 2012
As many know the Dutch legislation around cookies is rather strict and forces website owner to request a consent before any tracking is being allowed. Today (20/12/12) the Dutch government announced that the regulation will change – and the the Minister will iron out the details with the OPTA (Dutch ICO) in the near future.
The basis of the changes are:
- Cookie’s can be used for analytics reasons with the restriction they are used fully anonymous (exact details to follow)
- The data collected can only be used by the company gathering the data
For the full text following this link (in Dutch).
How website owners will react is still unclear but it can be expected that most of the ‘cookie information bars’ or ‘cookie-walls’ might disappear. Advertiser can still optimize their websites and check-out procedures, the only reason they need a consent know is to enable retargeting and other advances targeting capabilities – something probably not very beneficial for their customers – and therefor the expectation is that advertisers will stay low profile on collecting cookie-consent for more then analytics. Of course there will be many different possibilities, but this is in our opinion the baseline.
Once advertisers stop collecting – the impact on media is also still important. If advertisers do not massively collect cookies then is the necessity for media companies much smaller to collect them. So it is my expectation that some media companies therefore will not collect cookies aggressively (through a forced cookie-wall) except when their content is so valuable that they can still do it easily.
In short: if advertisers stop collecting cookies the need for publishers to collect them is very limited effectivly shutting down advanced targeting by 3rd parties and opening up the market for advertisers and publishers to work directly on a 1-1 basis again.
Despite the change to the law – big change is still to come.
June 5th, 2012
Some people call it ‘cookie madness’ and some people call it ‘crazy’ but at the end of the day the industry needs to comply with the law and move on, so let’s move on.
Accept it and move on: No more tracking
So, although many are still refusing to accept the change or ‘hoping’ for a sudden turnaround – as it stand today, tracking users without explicit consent in Europe is impossible. So this is why it is happening:
1. The browser: Safari is already blocking 3rd party cookies and since people are highly unlikely to change their settings, this is basically resulting in the fact that most of the fast growing mobile usage is not trackable easy anymore. The announcement that the new Internet Explorer will on default set DNT=1, indicating the web server that the user does not want to be tracked – will give the next push. Basically in this setup over the next month’s 50% of page views are already not ‘easy’ to track anymore;
2. Youronlinechoices failed: Both Mrs. Kroes (EU) and Mr. Kohnstamm (EU Privacy Agency) have said: youronlinechoices is nice try but not good enough – so let’s stop;
3. And the worst thing – once the industry starts to explain the consumer what the industry does with all this data, the consumer will start to realize what’s going on and definitely will start reacting negatively to tracking.
So the effective result is high likely to be: the percentage of user that can be tracked will drop so significantly that effectively they are not enough to spend all these efforts on. End to tracking. Next chapter.
The impact on large content publishers: An opportunity instead of a problem
201 Connected Media has deep insights in the business processes of content publishers and actually the impact might be limited for content publishers. So this is why:
1. Publishers are still for the biggest part selling brand advertising in bulk or content related. All the ‘promises’ from the times of Nugg.ad, Wunderloop (now AudienceScience) has not led to a big growth in behavior based targeting – rough analysis indicates direct affected revenue below 20%;
2. In the area of automated trading, bigger in some countries then other, real time bidding and exchanges obviously the impact can be bigger. But at the same time this should be an ‘exchange’. So as long as money keeps flowing in (since the advertisers are not likely to decrease spending since their audience ARE online) and the inventory (impressions) remain the same, the exchange will work differently, with lower direct accountable results for the advertiser but this does not automatically mean less money for the publisher;
3. The ‘eco-system’ will be cleaned up – now much of the revenue sticks with affiliate companies, ‘optimization services’, agencies and the likes, most of these services will be severely impacted by the legislation and will have a very hard time adding value, in other words being removed from the landscape. This means the traditional, but very well working, relationship between advertisers-media-agency-publisher will become more direct again with less margin erosion in the supply chain.
So what should content publishers do
Publisher need to start moving and focus on ‘great customer experience again’. So this is what’s recommended:
1. Clearly understand the current state: what internal cookies are used, for what purposes feeding into which systems. Then to understand what cookies or other tracking mechanism are dropped through the open tags in the ad servers (this is the worst of all) and then in a transparent and open process truly understand the revenue impact of all these tracking on the top line. Define what will no longer work and what the impact will be;
2. Manage your consent tools: prepare simple registration and management in the case a consent is given. Most important is to manage consent between different domains owned by the same publisher. To do this a solution is to move domains to one single publisher domain to make all actions first party and more easy to manage.
3. Create great new products: instead of focussing automated tools on small ads develop new and high-engaging propositions. For example bring back the interstitial with a default value of 5 seconds before moving to the homepage making use of the experience by users from video pre-rolls. Or half page placements with great interaction. The concept is: let’s make it great and fun again, learn from Television and bring marketing back into digital marketing.
4. Refocus on user registration: monetizing is expected to be easier with ‘known’ audience then with ‘anonymous’ audiences. With this in mind the focus on paywalls or more forced user registration in light of this legislation is an opportunity for premium content publishers, both on mobile and pc devices;
5. Social engineer and cooperate with stakeholders: reach out to the stakeholders, from consumer side and advertisers side. Consumers understand nothing can be for free but let’s use their imagination to help create great advertising and facilitate communications between brands and consumers instead of ‘seducing’ them into a consent. Using our social media experience this can be a good movements for news sites and great magazine sites;
6. Implement a governance model: finally the fines will be big, very big – so the governance model to ensure alignment with the (unclear) legislation is crucial. For this a simplified approach to the technology needs to be developed and documented to ensure the risk for publishers, if making mistakes, is limited and at least it is clear that ‘you tried’.
So let’s get creative, engaging and fun again. Isn’t that what TV advertising has learned digital media.
Less digital and more marketing.
Less technology more creativity.
Authentic, transparent and simplified.
Want to talk further – let’s connect or join the 201 Connected Media and INMA project to define the future together.