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Month: July 2021

Quelles alternatives aux cookies ?

What are the alternatives to cookies?

Google may have recently granted third-party cookies a stay of execution, but the question is still a hot topic. What solutions are available for replacing cookies? How can companies maintain their digital activations while protecting personal data? Time to review the options.

A stay of execution… that is exactly what Google recently granted by announcing on 24 June that it would not block third-party cookies in Chrome early 2022. The Mountain View tech giant is now planning to phase out cookies mid-2023. There is an explanation for its decision to delay its plans. Basically, Google’s alternative to third-party cookies failed to garner enough support (to put it mildly). How can companies gear their cookieless strategy towards this new timeline? Should they give up on exploring other alternatives? Read on for some answers.

First of all, companies have to face up to the facts. Although third-party cookies have been given a reprieve, the writing is still on the wall. Remember that third-party cookies are living on borrowed time, because 2023 is only just around the corner. As it happens, they are already screened in Safari and Firefox. Current regulations (GDPR, ePrivacy, etc.), the growing consent trend and the heightened level of general sensitivity to personal data mean that companies have no other choice than to overhaul their tracking methods, whether in browsers or apps.

Google’s cohorts

On paper, this is actually the alternative that Google is aiming to achieve with its Privacy Sandbox, which is a suite of APIs for covering different applications (targeting, measurements, etc.). As far as targeting is concerned, Google is counting on FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts). The general idea with FLoC is that tracking is no longer focused on individual users, but a cohort containing at least a few thousand individuals. This initiative falls short in the eyes of the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), which sees FLoC as a great way of promoting other identification methods, such as fingerprinting.

When drilling down into the details, the method raised a number of questions that very quickly compelled Google to sideline its plans of testing the scheme in Europe, especially due to the GDPR. In addition, Google’s iron-like grip on the scheme prompted the likes of Amazon to announce that it would prevent all information from flowing to FLoC… Faced with such a response, transforming FLoC into a new “standard” is an uphill struggle. Therefore, Google needs to take its idea back to the drawing board. Will a year be enough time for Google to bring its alternative into alignment with European regulations and create a united ecosystem? Major doubts continue to loom.

Server-side migration: an initiative worth pursuing

What other solutions are on the table? What initiatives can brands leverage as they prepare for the age of cookieless tracking? The first initiative involves migrating to a server-side strategy. Today’s cookie world uses a client-side approach, where browsers communicate with the service providers corresponding to the activated tags. With a server-side strategy, communication takes place between servers.

Several brands are planning to switch over to the server-side approach, including FLOA Bank. “We already know that migration will only be partial, because not all the solutions that we currently use are compatible with server-side management. But if we succeed with a few key acquisition tags, it will be a major step forward,” comments Carole Vinatier Gresta, SEO & Tracking Manager at FLOA Bank.

The SSO route: barred to all except the media?

Another route currently being explored is the single sign-on (SSO) scheme, where one login is shared by several sites within the same ecosystem. It comes as no surprise that the media are already trying out this initiative in an effort to provide a seamless user experience (without having to log back in from one media platform to another) and also share cross-site data. Such “groups” are still highly local and, except for a few exceptions, are currently restricted to the media industry.

Is the adtech sector heading towards new IDs?

Adtech players are setting their sights on alternative IDs (identifiers) to third-party cookies. Such is the aim of the Unified ID 2.0 initiative spearheaded by The Trade Desk, which has already won over such companies as Liveramp, Criteo and Nielsen. Unified ID 2.0 intends to use the emails that visitors agree to send in order to roll out an SSO-type scheme. The scheme is also planning to set up a portal where users can manage their preferences. The project’s limitation is that it requires a wide enough adoption to become an established standard and avoid fragmenting the market into different advertising IDs, which would involve a complex and costly reconciliation process.

The temptation of going back to the roots

For some professionals, the solution (or at least part of the solution) involves going back to the roots, i.e. putting audience planning on the backburner in favour of media planning. What that actually means is setting up a semantic targeting approach, such as analysing the tone and content for the purpose of assessing its eligibility for a given campaign. Admittedly, the technologies out in the field have matured and targeting precision has improved. This process eliminates the problem of identifiers that are likely to restrict the scope. Vendors gain the possibility of marketing their entire inventory, but advertisers need to make do with a highly limited amount of data.

Reviewing the alternatives to cookies clearly shows that no solution currently appears to be capable of bringing the entire ecosystem together as well as third-party cookies. Brands need to venture down the pragmatic road of working on their first-party data and curbing their dependency on third-party cookies (by migrating to a server-to-server approach) while scoping for new initiatives. The cookieless world is still searching for its north star.

Get prepared to a world without cookies: download the playbook

Why we decided to redesign TrustCommander’s Consent Analytics Dashboard, 2 years after the GDPR?

The market needed statistics but the maturity was missing. We wanted to simplify and adopt a more ‘business-like’ approach in the selection and presentation of the main metrics in TrustCommander.

And then the latest directives from the France’s data protection authority (CNIL), made certain metrics obsolete or less important. Measuring implicit consent no longer makes sense as it is not compliant in France. We have therefore reprioritised some information and facilitated inter-CMP comparisons. This point is not the least important because nothing is more destabilising for an ecommerce manager to see behind the same label “consent rate” 2 things as different as the consent rate in the sense of the Commanders Act and the opt-in share. By explaining these differences, we allow everyone to compare themselves and to progress.

The last important challenge was to make this reality of “consent” understandable to everyone. Indeed, the youth of this field of consent means that there are still few consent specialists, and the teams we work with are often multidisciplinary, mixing web analysts, activation specialists, lawyers, DPOs, etc., each with their own vocabulary and representation of things. We therefore had to avoid any jargon that would make understanding even more complex. We chose a simple common theme, for example:

  • How do users interact with the CMP?
  • How do they interact with the preference centre?

Associated with this “Consent Analytics” redesign, we have taken advantage of it to allow programmable exports as well as a GET statistics API allowing teams to retrieve these statistics to feed data visualisation environments (Power BI, Tableau Software, Qlik Sense, Google Data Studio, etc.).

Finally, real-time enrichment is also possible via an API that can be used to feed an exempt analytics solution in real time.

The value of the consent will provide a trigger for the web analytics publisher to lead the processing of the data collected either to its standard solution or to its CNIL exempted solution. We have done it with AT Internet clients who now offer an exempted solution and we have implemented it with Google Analytics clients who have chosen to continue to trigger it without consent (which as of 8 July has not yet been validated by the CNIL).

In which direction will the subject of “Consent Analytics” evolve?

We see developments in certain dimensions. In order to make progress in understanding what makes consent rates change, we need to monitor the variations of the different indicators, to be able to place it into context and to segment it further.

This will be followed by :

  • More possibility to segment the dashboards according to criteria such as the browser, the screen size, the traffic source,… So many dimensions that can help to understand the value of these metrics more finely;
  • The addition of graphs to help read and understand trends;
  • Reports dedicated to the analysis of AB tests rather than reading the test results in Excel?

TrustCommander allows you to have the same Dashboard for applications and for the web with an API based implementation.

To go further on the consent topic, you can have a look at our contents :

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