The online advertising industry is facing a major reset, brought on by rising consumer privacy expectations, tightening regulations and data controls by the likes of Apple and Google. Apple has rolled out a significant update on its operating system, requiring users to opt in to be tracked across apps, and Google will begin deprecating third-party cookies in its Chrome browser in eight months. Both moves have severe repercussions on digital advertising and the processes that power it.
But despite the fact these shifts were announced more than a year ago, nearly half (43%) of brands in Asia-Pacific continue to rely on third party cookies in their current marketing practices, and many do not have the people, processes or tools in place to operate in a cookieless world.
This is according to the findings of a critical survey, conducted by Campaign Asia-Pacific, Forrester and the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), that will be launched at the Campaign360 conference, Evolving Identity, today (May 4), beginning at 2 pm SG/HK.
The survey, 'The Price of Privacy on APAC's Advertising Ecosystem', was conducted throughout March and April this year. The findings consolidate results from 137 marketing decisionmakers across brands, agencies and publishers in Asia-Pacific.
The research exposes several disconnects when it comes to the level of concern and preparedness between brands, agencies and publishers.
For example, while 60% of media-agency respondents said tighter privacy rules and regulations will make their targeting less accurate, only 40% of brands agreed. One-quarter of brands think targeting will be the same, while 22% don’t know what the impact will be.
Elsewhere, the survey found gaps when it comes to meeting the needs of brands. Publisher respondents were very confident they could provide their clients with the solutions they need to balance consumer privacy and personalised advertising, where media agencies lacked faith. Only 11% of media agencies said they were able to provide everything their clients need, and most (49%) were ‘somewhat’ confident in their ability. Meanwhile, only 3% of brands stated that they have everything they need from their partners.
In general, media agencies were found to be more concerned than brands and publishers about the phasing out of third-party cookies.
The survey also uncovered a need for greater communication with consumers on the value exchange of the free internet. Two-thirds (64%) of marketing decisionmakers in APAC do not believe that consumers understand the value of data collection when it comes to improving user experience. If the value exchange is not understood, there are serious concerns that consumers will not volunteer their data, reducing the efficacy of identity solutions.
Feeding into this, the survey found the majority of brands do not know how to communicate with consumers about data privacy. Only 30% have a dedicated content strategy, while 59% follow the minimum requirements stipulated by regulations.
Lack of sufficient resources emerged as the number-one challenge for organisations when it comes to consumer data privacy, but the survey discovered several inefficiences that could plug this gap. For example, brands are collecting more first-party data than they are using. The drop is most significant in online activity, engagement and device data.
This is just a snapshot of the comprehensive survey. The full survey will be downloadable for attendees of Campaign360 2021, and will be available for Campaign Asia-Pacific members. If you haven't already registered for Campaign360, you can do so here. To get access to Campaign's member-only research, become a member here.