User Tracking on the Web Goes Away

On March 3, David Temkin, Google's Director of Ads Privacy and Trust, wrote a blog on  Charting a Course Towards a More Privacy-First Web

As our industry has strived to deliver relevant ads to consumers across the web, it has created a proliferation of individual user data across thousands of companies, typically gathered through third-party cookies. This has led to an erosion of trust: In fact, 72% of people feel that almost all of what they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies, and 81% say that the potential risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits, according to a study by Pew Research Center. 

Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.

Keeping the internet open and accessible for everyone requires all of us to do more to protect privacy — and that means an end to not only third-party cookies, but also any technology used for tracking individual people as they browse the web. 

Pew Research 

Please consider Why Google Will Stop Selling Ads Based on User-Tracking Browser Data

Google already announced that its Chrome browser would phase out support for third-party cookies by 2022.

The company acknowledges that user-specific tracking advertising systems will not pass regulatory muster — in the U.S., U.K., Europe and elsewhere — and that such approaches will not “not meet rising consumer expectations for privacy,” according to Temkin.

He cited a 2019 Pew Research Center survey finding that 72% of Americans feel that almost all of what they do online is being tracked by advertisers or other companies, while 81% said that the potential risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits.

Is Everyone Happy?

Well, no.

Many criticize Google because the change only applies to the web, not its phones.

Others complain about the removal of third party cookie support that tracks everyone.

Worrisome Shift Towards Privacy

The shift by Google is “worrisome” for smaller advertisers, according to Diana Lee, CEO and co-founder of digital agency and ad-tech company Constellation Agency. That’s because it “ultimately is pushing more power and privileged information into the hands of Big Tech,” she said. According to Lee, small businesses and “marginalized voices” will have a harder time reaching their audiences because they don’t have access to third-party data or an alternative workaround.

Apple Requires iOS 14 Users to Opt-In 

Apple sees the writing on the wall too. And Apple is going one step further, forcing people to opt into tracking for ad purposes. 

In a statement, Apple said: “We believe that this is a simple matter of standing up for our users. Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not."

Is Everyone Happy With That?

Well, no. 

Please note Facebook Launches Campaign Blasting Apple’s New Privacy Features as Hurting Small Businesses

Another front in the war between Facebook and Apple has erupted.

The two tech giants fighting over Apple’s move to implement a new opt-in requirement for users with iOS 14 devices to grant permission to be tracked for advertising purposes.

Facebook is framing the dispute as one that will harm millions of small businesses that use its social networks to reach potential customers, and alleges that Apple is making it harder for advertisers to track consumers in order to boost its own profits.

On Wednesday, Facebook launched a multipronged attack on Apple, including launching a new page on its site featuring testimonials from SMB customers who claim their businesses will be hurt by the iOS 14 privacy feature changes.

In addition, Facebook ran full-page ads today in New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal for the campaign, with the headline, “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.”

Facebook Standing Up 

Facebook is standing up for the alleged right of businesses to track you. 

Of course neither Apple nor Google nor Facebook are doing any of this out of the goodness of their hearts.

Facebook's VP of ads, Dan Levy had these comments.

Levy asserted that Apple wants to drive app developers to use Apple’s own personalized ad platform — which is exempt from the new opt-in prompt about tracking it’s requiring third parties to adopt.

Less convincingly, Levy also suggested that small businesses would be forced to increasingly rely on non-advertising sources of revenue, like charging for subscriptions. That, he continued, would pour more money into Apple’s coffers because all payments through iOS apps are subject to the App Store “tax.”

Apple Privacy Change May Cost Facebook, Google $25 Billion Over Next 12 Months

Forbes notes Apple Privacy Change May Cost Facebook, Google $25 Billion Over Next 12 Months

Google could lose $17 billion in revenue over the next 12 months. Facebook has perhaps $8 billion at risk. The cause, according to mobile marketing professionals? Apple’s new privacy changes.

It's impossible to have this two ways: demanding to be both tracked and untracked simultaneously.

Opt-in seems reasonable but not if your own platform is exempt. 

I smell lawsuits. 

Finally, please note the "Big Tech" companies are not colluding against you. Competition is stiff between them. 

Mish