In a bold privacy-first move, Google recently announced plans to cease cross-site tracking.
On March 3rd, citing privacy concerns and an interest in the free and open web, the company stated their intent to only sell targeted advertising based on first-party data - i.e. data collected from consumer interactions with Google-owned properties - YouTube, Google Search, Google News, Gmail, etc...
The online advertising behemoth received its fair share of very public criticism from privacy advocates and regulators alike. Google’s revenue won’t suffer much from the removal of cross-site tracking, but this move will be a step in the right direction to improve their reputation among consumers while turning down the heat from regulators. This change doesn’t come as much of a surprise given these headwinds, and Google has taken other steps in this direction by stating their plans to deprecate 3rd-party cookies. By spinning down the usage and investment in tracking technology (IDs) to track users across the web, they’ll rely instead on what they deem to be privacy-preserving APIs available through Google Sandbox.
What does this mean for affiliate?
In short, not much - affiliate always has been and will remain a privacy-respecting channel. CJ's been a firm believer all along in what Google is saying: we can achieve effective and accountable online marketing without sacrificing user privacy and degrading consumer trust. CJ has always operated under a privacy by design framework, and we’ve built our next generation integration solutions on the same principle. Our best-in-class solutions provide protection against browser restrictions, including the blocking of cross-site tracking, while preserving transaction-level reporting and analytics. If anything, Google's change is an affirmation that the development direction CJ has been taking - privacy respecting, first-party, aggregated insights - is one the larger industry is moving in.
We can achieve effective and accountable online marketing without sacrificing user privacy and degrading consumer trust.
The Power of First-Party Data
With this announcement, Google acknowledges that user-level targeting isn’t necessary to get results from your online ad spend. With an emphasis on first-party relationships and first-party data as the way forward, Google plans to sell advertising based instead on aggregated user data and audience mapping, a tactic long-used by direct marketers and traditional media. CJ solutions like Situational Commissioning and Customer Analysis Insights, are powered by first party data that respect consumer privacy while allowing for robust commissioning and analytic capabilities.
Is this a signal that personalised advertising is dead?
Nope! With Google bowing out of cross-site tracking, the door opens for competitors in the space to ramp up innovation - providing that they do so while respecting consumers’ rights and regulators’ guidelines.