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New European research on the privacy-focused future

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In this post, we’re sharing top insights from a research report commissioned by Google and published by Deloitte. The report focuses on the evolving ads privacy landscape through the lens of European publishers. We also recently studied how publishers in the Americas are turning to first-party data to prepare for the future.

As new privacy regulations emerge, publishers are rethinking their digital ad strategies. To better understand how industry leaders are navigating the shifting landscape and investing in first-party data, Google partnered with Deloitte to speak to 30 publishers and broadcasters across Europe. Today, we’re sharing an overview of what the full report uncovered, including the impact of recent privacy changes on publishers and guidance for a future-proof, privacy-first path forward.

A more private internet

According to industry research, there’s been a steep decline in user trust on the internet — steep enough to spur action. In a recent Ipsos report, 80% of people are concerned about the potential misuse of personal information online, prompting 73% to delete cookies and clear their browsing history and 70% to switch geolocation off when they’re not using it. Regulators and governments around the world are moving online privacy to the top of their agendas, causing leading technology and internet businesses to double down on preparing for a more private web.

Our research also indicates that publishers are generally in support of the new privacy regulations, since it helps them establish a trust-based relationship with customers. But while the industry adjusts to the deprecation of third-party cookies, survey respondents are questioning the impact to open-market programmatic trading.

Lessons from industry leaders

The main lessons in re-strategizing for the new era of online privacy fall into three categories:

Get started on a first-party data journey

Currently, 80% of users give publishers permission to capture and use their information for analytics, marketing and site optimization. But top publishers aren’t looking to gain consent at all costs, especially not at the cost of consumer trust. Instead, they focus on clear communication and transparency about what they’re requesting and why, helping customers make an informed decision.

For 72% of publishers, their biggest worry about using first-party data is privacy legislation. While European privacy compliance efforts are mostly driven at the country level, resulting in varied approaches, a few patterns became apparent during our conversations with publishers. Many publishers are installing better data governance, rolling out privacy-first processes, installing privacy tools or auditing suppliers, among other activities — more can be found on page six of the report.

Build data maturity

Seeing data as a living asset that can be developed through machine learning, as opposed to a static source of insight, is key to achieving data maturity and could help publishers pull ahead. Leaders are also prioritizing access to secure, verified data (often received during the user registration process) and valuable second-party data. Second-party data refers to other organizations’ first-party data bought directly from the source, which can be used to validate an organization’s own first-party data.

Engage with the buy-side

To reach premium cost per thousand (CPMs) and drive higher demand, most publishers create bespoke audiences to trade programmatically, with some publishers achieving results 15 times higher than campaigns without audiences.

Engaging with the buy-side is critical. Many publishers are proactively initiating conversations with agencies and brands, where relevant, to test the impact of third-party cookieless trading on CPM or yield, the effectiveness of their first-party solution and their interest in joint planning for a privacy-centric world. However, publishers feel that parts of the sector aren’t properly preparing for the upcoming privacy changes. This supports recent IAB research, where 40% of marketers claim they aren’t ready.

A privacy-focused future

This is only the beginning of internet regulation, and policies are expected to become even more complex. According to Gartner, 65% of the world will have personal data covered under modern privacy regulation by 2023, up from 10% in 2020.

In light of these regulatory changes, successful publishers are looking for ways to share data across the ecosystem through clean rooms or other privacy-friendly means. Publishers that use first-party and second-party data effectively, and with privacy top of mind, will be able to offer a better, broader set of products to advertisers. This will allow them to invest in content that helps broaden and deepen their relationship with audiences.

To learn more, download the full report or watch the webinar presented by the report’s lead author, Patrick Ugeux, Associate Partner at Deloitte.