Privacy: UK could diverge from GDPR

The UK government is discussing the possibility of reforming data rules and diverging from GDPR in a post-Brexit shift to turbocharge the digital economy and cut red tape.  The move could lead to the end of cookie popups and consent requests, though changes will still need to appease the EU and key countries to ensure data transfers between the UK and the rest of the world continue.  The effects could impact other proposals too.  For instance; Google’s cookie plans could be derailed if the UK takes a less restrictive line on the use of third party cookies.

“Now that we have left the EU I’m determined to seize the opportunity by developing a world-leading data policy that will deliver a Brexit dividend for individuals and businesses across the UK.”

Oliver Dowden, UK culture secretary

An interesting article in The Drum weighs up the pros & cons of diverging from GDPR with some important considerations including the risk to international data transfers, the user experience and making consent processes more seamless.  For instance; free flow of data to the EU is worth £85bn to the UK.  The UK Government will need to ensure that any changes don’t (1) erode consumer trust, (2) create a more complex, expensive and disjointed digital & data ecosystem for publishers/advertisers, and (3) don’t endanger the UK’s international data adequacy agreements.

Meanwhile; Digiday reported on how Google’s Privacy Budget is showing up in more proposals for both digital ad techniques as well as potential web standards.  The Privacy Budget is a browser-based technique intended to place limits on fingerprinting by restricting the amount of device characteristics that can be identified e.g. fonts, video configurations, etc.

Privacy compliant cohorts

To maintain privacy, Warren Lapa – CEO at Unique – believes cohorts are the only truly privacy-compliant option.  Warren argues that the user is the “first party” when it comes to first-party data, and increasing regulation will potentially reduce what marketers can do with that data.  Cohorts offer the ability to build audiences based on consented and permissioned first party data, without infringing privacy.  He does caveat his argument with the issue of “cohort sensitivity” – the how & why to include a user in a cohort and how that would impact efficacy; but this is an issue that can be solved with the ethical application of data science.

Custom cohorts built using first-party data, combined with smart contextual assessment, can be a critical component of the marketer’s and the publisher’s arsenal.”

Warren Lapa, CEO at Unique

Carbon’s automated categorisation and data science-driven audience tools place us well to help publishers with a range of modelled solutions such as cohorts and curated audiences based on their 1st party data.

Media consolidation fuelling growth

Further media consolidation this week was seen in the form of Apollo completing Verizon Media acquisition which will now be known as Yahoo; 

Carbon’s CEO, Pete Danks, (ex Yahoo and Google) is looking forward to seeing how Yahoo fares under new ownership:

Many industry veterans have done stints at Yahoo and there is still a huge fondness for the brand. That doesn’t translate to revenue, but add in AOL assets, and then the already strong positions in key verticals such as mail, sports and finance are not be ignored. Comscore data shows Verizon media is very much in the race in terms of reach.

Pete Danks, CEO at Carbon

In Europe, Axel Springer is acquiring Politico for $1bn to expand further in the US and continue to grow its premium, professional audience to provide buyers further scale.  Furthermore, subscriptions – with Politico Pro – are another key opportunity as staving off subscription fatigue is something a number of publishers are focusing on, according to Digiday.  

Digiday refers to a number of subscription stats including that subscription revenue grew 16% in 2020 (vs 12% growth in ad revenue – IAB) ,whilst 1-in-5 US adults pay for at least one online news outlet; but now the challenge is holding on to subscribers.  Whilst investing in more content and resources to fuel production is part of that, leveraging first party data analytics, audience segmentation and understanding the value of content will help find more and maintain subscribers.

Other interesting listens, read and numbers

The Premier League of CPMs

In the Premier League of CPMs (above) Carbon looked at the impact on team-related CPMs over the opening 2 weeks of the new English football season, taking an average across a network of publishers.

eMarketer: Key growth in time for mobile, video and CTV

eMarketers ‘By the numbers’ podcast this week discussed media time spent by US adults.  There’s a slew of big stats in there including:

  • Average US adult spends 4hrs 23mins on their mobile daily – 7mins up on 2020 and nearly 40mins up on 2019 driven by the pandemic; with in-app dominating time at 3hrs 14mins vs 52mins in browser.
  • Video time grew by 38mins between 2019-2021 driven by CTV which added 25mins, whilst mobile only added approx 10mins, and computers just 3mins.  Of the 2hrs 30mins daily video, 1hr 12mins comes from CTV, 51 from smartphones and 26 from computers.

CTV’s growth has been highlighted by FreeWheel’s latest figures, which suggest CTV accounts for 60% of premium video ads views with 24% of those premium ad views being bought programmatically.

Unified framework for gaming

Gaming continues to see growing exposure in the ad world as IAB develops unified framework for gaming & esports with a standardised set of terms to help those buying/selling gaming ad inventory.


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