“We have an opportunity to take back the ecosystem”: Navigating Google’s privacy update

March 10, 2021 3 min read

  • Elizabeth Brennan

    Head of Advertiser Strategy at Permutive

  • The news that Google will not build any alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, and crucially, that their products will not support any identifiers in the bidstream in future, put the industry into a spin. 

    To help inject some calm into the chaos, we held a customer-only event to discuss the full implications of Google’s unified ID announcement, the options available to publishers and advertisers, and the value of building relationships with first-party data owners.    

    We were joined by Stephanie Layser, VP of Advertising Technology & Operations at News Corp, and our CEO & co-founder at Permutive, Joe Root, for a fireside chat on the future of advertising on the Open Web. 

    Here are some of highlights from the session: 

    Activate and invest in first-party data: As browsers continue to push for privacy, albeit for varying reasons, “publishers should continue to invest in first party data,” said Stephaine Layser. And added that Apple’s anti-tracking approach is “more opportunistic for publishers,” when compared to Google, because it means “publisher data becomes even more powerful, [as] there’s not a company that can collect and correlate that data across domain.” 

    Support ID-less solutions, such as cohorts: Publisher first-party data adds a layer of nuance to cohort-based targeting, in a privacy-compliant way. For example, a senior business decision maker on The Wall Street Journal would have different interests to a senior business decision maker on Business Insider. Layser said: “If the publisher can send that signal into the open exchange, it doesn’t risk data leakage because there’s no ID. You can’t repurpose that elsewhere across the internet,” said Layser. “It’s a publisher-driven cohort model,” she said. “Both Prebid, News Corp, as well as Permutive, are very interested in those types of proposals running through the ecosystem today.” 

    Don’t panic: Joe Root advised publishers to see this as an opportunity. “This problem that brands are now starting to recognize around identity not being in the bidstream, publishers have actually been thinking for two years — building out their data strategies,” he said. Publishers “have the ingredients, the engagement, the data, and the identity.” 

    To end the discussion, Layser gave publishers a call to action: “This is going to rapidly evolve in the next year, and we’re all going to have to make a lot of hard decisions. We have an opportunity to take back the ecosystem — it’s just a matter of moving the chess pieces correctly.” 

    For more advice and analysis watch the full discussion: