How ad-filtering can help marketers in the cookie-less future
While the words “Web 3.0” may conjure up excitement and curiosity for many internet users and digital industries, the idea of a decentralised web is a fear for advertising and marketing departments around the world.
As the future Web 3.0 will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide users with the catered content they ask for, the use of third-party cookies will be seen as obsolete.
Why? Third-party cookies currently come in handy for marketing and advertising teams to track and collect a small amount of data on users and thus provide relevant ads to them. In advance of this, Web 3.0’s artificial intelligence and machine learning will theoretically adapt to the user’s patterns in order to provide relevant information, and in a private environment without third-party cookies.
On top of that, while Web 3.0 is a work in progress, a cookie-less future is fairly imminent, if not already happening.
Google has stated that by the end of 2024, it will phase out cross-site monitoring through third-party cookies in Chrome, as many browsers have already done, in order to test out its Privacy Sandbox – its solution to provide more targeted, private digital advertising.
“This deliberate approach to transitioning from third-party cookies ensures that the web can continue to thrive, without relying on cross-site tracking identifiers or covert techniques like fingerprinting,” Anthony Chavez, vice president at Privacy Sandbox said.
Again, privacy is a big win for users who have long felt uncomfortable seeing website ads following them after an internet browse. Already, users are using ad-blocking plug-ins on their browsers to stop ads from harvesting their data.
But, for publishers who want to keep on providing free content, having ads on their websites helps to bring in the cash, and advertisers are still keen to reach their target audience. So what if we could all come to a compromise?
Ad-filtering, which can be used as a browser plug-in, for example, aims to create an equal middle ground between users who want privacy, advertising firms, and publishers.
Rather than completing blocking adverts, it offers relevant, non-intrusive ads based on information offered and approved by the user.
For German-based ad filtering firm eyeo, a cookie-less future is “a great opportunity to rebuild the infrastructure of adtech and martech more purposefully, with users’ rights and interests at the centre of its design,” says its vice president of innovation Rotem Dar.
Eyeo sees the market reacting to a cookie-less internet in a few different ways: “On one side, there are solutions that attempt to replicate the full functionality of third-party cookies, including its invasive aspects.
“On the other side, and more interestingly, other solutions aim at serving similar market use cases in a more user-centric and privacy-preserving manner,” enthuses Dar.
For eyeo, its approach is more in line with the latter: “It’s a trade-off between users’ expectations, privacy regulations, platform restriction and the clear need to monetise content so that free information would prosper.”
Hence, eyeo is naming 2023 as the year of conscious advertising.
“If 1994 signalled the introduction of digital advertising, 2008 signalled the introduction of Real-Time Bidding, then we see 2023 as the breakthrough year for the age of conscious advertising,” he adds
To demonstrate future intentions, alongside its take on conscious advertising, eyeo created a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that simulates the internet in a cookie-less reality, called Crumbs.
“From a user perspective, it’s a state-of-the-art free privacy protection tool”, whilst at the same time allowing for “interest-based targeting”.
It also claims to have pioneered the use of machine learning technology in its ad-filtering. The ML addition, announced last year, will help its tool detect intrusive ads automatically, creating a more robust and automated process.
At the moment, if a website wants to show ads to ad-filtering users, they must manually apply to be on eyeo’s allow list and meet criteria determined by the independent Acceptable Ads Committee (AAC) – such as keeping the ad to a certain size and being non-disruptive and easy on the eye for the user.
Moving past the cookie
With even more regulations coming our way, how can advertising departments move beyond the cookie? Currently, the ad filtering firm is working on “privacy protection solutions to give users control and preserve addressability”.
“As the cookie becomes irrelevant, other methods of tracking are popping up that are harder to control and regulate, like digital fingerprinting,” which is something eyeo would like to help protect users from, Dar explains.
So, eyeo plans to manage the uncertainty surrounding data privacy by creating products to cater for the privacy-conscious.
As it stands, eyeo provides ad-filtering capabilities, but it soon hopes to aim for tracking and targeting in the same vein. This way, “we can help users gain transparency and control over their data, but at the same time preserve addressability so that publishers can monetise their content effectively, and advertisers need to know they reach the right audience with the right message.”
So, in a sense, the eyeo’s technology is a solution that allows all of the members of the online ecosystem to “benefit and prosper equally”, enthuses Dar.
“We’ve always remained committed to enabling sustainable and fair value exchange to keep the internet free and open as we believe that there is a way to ensure that content creators are fairly compensated for their work and users have access to an enjoyable browsing experience.”
Whilst keeping ads online through ad-filtering enables user privacy, eyeo also believes that ad-filtering “is a more carbon-friendly form of advertising form of advertising as the permitted formats within Acceptable Ads have a lower carbon footprint than regular advertising”.
This is because the advertising formats “require less bandwidth than rich media and the act of ad filtering can significantly reduce ad footprint”.
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