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first-party data Archives - acronym

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Google Delays Chrome’s Cookie-Blocking for 2 Years

By Analytics, Insights & News, Privacy, SEO No Comments

Google announced the company is delaying its plans to block third-party cookies until late 2023 as it reconciles the challenge of protecting user privacy while still enabling advertisers to deliver personalized ads.

Chrome’s Engineering Director Vinay Goel said in a blog post:

We need to move at a responsible pace, allowing sufficient time for public discussion on the right solutions and for publishers and the advertising industry to migrate their services. This is important to avoid jeopardizing the business models of many web publishers which support freely available content.”

One part of Google’s rationale for pushing back its plan is centered around concerns that blocking cookies now might encourage tracking companies to use more controversial tactics like fingerprinting to gather browser configuration details.

Meanwhile, the company has faced backlash around both its use of cookies across the web and its plans to block them. In fact, earlier this week, the European Union said it is investigating Google’s plan to remove cookies as part of a wide-ranging inquiry into allegations that Google has abused its prominent role in advertising technology.

And, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google has separately pledged to give the U.K.’s competition watchdog at least 60 days’ notice before removing cookies to review and potentially impose changes to its plan, as part of an offer to settle a similar investigation. That probe stemmed from complaints that Chrome’s removal of cookies would give an advantage to ads on Google’s own products, like YouTube or Search, where Google will still be able to do individual-level targeting.

In the U.S., Google’s cookie-replacement plan was raised in a December antitrust lawsuit against the company brought by Texas and nine other U.S. states.

Google has been testing several new tools to replace various functions of third-party cookies, as part of what it calls a privacy sandbox. The first such replacement technology, dubbed federated learning of cohorts, or Floc, is intended to allow advertisers to target cohorts of users with similar interests, rather than individuals, in order to protect their privacy.

Acronym’s SVP of Performance Media, Gregg Manias reacted to the news:

“I’m not really shocked by this, we have seen over time that privacy search engines like Duck Duck Go blocked it, then we saw large publishers like New York times block it, then we saw competitor browsers like Firefox block it, I think the death of this plan by Google was last week when Amazon blocked FlOC right before prime day.”

Google, of course, plays a central role in the online advertising ecosystem as the company owns the dominant tools used to broker the sale of ads across the web. Cookies, small bits of code stored in web browsers to track users across the web, are widely used in the industry, including in Google’s Chrome browser, which has 65% of the market globally.

Acronym’s EVP of Analytics, Stephanie Hart added:

“Google needs a way to provide advertisers with the ability to target users and it doesn’t seem that the current version of FLOC is it. Google is having a difficult time balancing the demand from regulators and users for privacy against the need for revenue. The market will continue to evolve as Google develops solutions to this dilemma.”

Meanwhile, as the Search giant seeks to find a resolution, Acronym’s SVP of SEO, Winston Burton recently shared some of the other ways marketers can capture customer information through permission-based tactics, including content which, when done right, captures users’ interest at every stage of the funnel.

Google said it expects to complete testing of all of its new cookie-replacement technologies, and integrate them into Chrome before late 2022. Then the advertising industry will have a nine-month period to migrate their services, during which time Google will monitor adoption and feedback. The final phaseout of cookies will happen over three months in late 2023, the company said, adding that it will publish a more detailed timeline.

In the meantime, if you need assistance planning for these changes, please contact us. Our experts can help you navigate these ever-changing waters so you deliver the personalized experiences your customers expect in a way that still respects their right to privacy.

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Facebook Opens Messenger API for Instagram

By Social Media No Comments

Faced with stiff competition from other social media platforms like Snapchat and Twitter, Instagram is rolling out a new feature that allows brands to respond to customers through the Facebook Messenger API.

This highly anticipated feature will allow brands to respond to customers on Instagram from any third-party platform. In June, Instagram accounts with 10,000 to 100,000 followers will be connected to the API, followed by accounts with 1,000 and 100,000 followers in July, with remaining accounts being connected in Q3.

This is a significant step for customer service and will allow brands to have more personal interaction with their audience, as well as better optimize content by understanding the algorithms of this platform.

Why is this important? 

With 63% of Americans reporting they check Instagram daily and 43% of global users reporting they open the app multiple times within the same day, it’s no wonder brands want to engage with the more than one billion monthly active Instagram users.

Previously, in order to interact with customers on Instagram, businesses had to go into Instagram itself or use Facebook’s unified business inbox.

This is a significant development for brands with large volumes of Instagram engagement, as the inability to respond from third-party platforms, where many brands manage engagement from multiple platforms, was a big hindrance to efficiency and workflow.

Global brands with many business arms should find this a huge relief – something that will help not only efficiency but consolidating and improving sentiment analysis.

What actions should brands take? 

We recommend brands begin to adjust their workflow processes, including thinking about how to leverage the time previously spent on managing Instagram in a silo.

When the beta opens up, make sure to see how Instagram engagement impacts your sentiment data within any third-party platforms.

Some brands avoid Instagram Ads because the average CPC is higher than it is on Facebook. However, engagement rates on Instagram are around .96% as compared to 0.1% on Facebook and Twitter. So, while you do pay a bit more, you consistently see better results.

And, despite skewing a bit younger (71% of U.S adults on Instagram are between the ages of 18-29), the app’s users tend to have more disposable income:

  • 31% of people who make more than 75k per year are on Instagram.
  • 32% of people who make between 50k-74k per year are on Instagram.
  • 32% of people who bring in 30k to 49k per year are on Instagram.

So, driving engagement on this platform is critical for brands wanting to connect with Gen Z and Millennial customers. And, now, engagement through Messenger will make those connections more powerful. If you need assistance leveraging any social media platforms for your paid or organic campaigns, contact us. We’re happy to help.

POV by Acronym’s Paid Social Media Team

The Potential Impact of Google Allowing Users to Opt-Out of Tracking

By Analytics, Content Marketing, Web Analytics No Comments

Ahead of an upcoming developer conference, Google announced it will let Android users opt out of being tracked by the apps they download from the Google Play Store. 

This move mirrors Apple’s roll-out of iOS 14, which gave consumers the option to opt out of tracking via the IDFA, or device identifier that tracks consumer behavior across apps. 

According to the announcement, this will be launched via a Google Play services update in “late 2021.” 

Why is this important?  

Since Apple’s iOS 14 announcement in 2020, advertisers have been waiting to hear how Google will respond to its competitor. With all three major smartphone players (iPhone, Android & Samsung) using either the Google Play Store or Apple Store, this means nearly all social media app users will have the option to disable tracking.  

Considering that more than half of all worldwide web traffic so far this year was generated via mobile devices, the option to disable tracking will significantly impact first-party data.  

What is the impact on brands? 

This update will further decrease audience size, bringing higher CPMs and less qualified targeting via website data, in the same way Apple’s iOS 14 does. However, the severity of this decrease will depend upon whether this switch will be automatically pushed to users, or if this switch is simply an option users will have to manually turn off in settings. 

What action should brands take? 

First party data will be the name of the game in this privacy-first era. We recommend brands continue to find ways to leverage and foster first-party audiences, whether by creating a newsletter that requires email, a Facebook Store where shoppers interact, or leveraging video ads that can track people who watch most of the video or engage with your ad. 

If you’d like help identifying the best approach for your brand and your specific audience, please contact us. Our experts are available to help.

 

POV by Acronym’s Paid Media Team