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Why publishers worry red tape will strangle audience monetization


By John Glenday | Reporter

September 13, 2022 | 4 min read

Hard-pressed publishers are staring into a financial abyss under a combined assault of cookie crackdowns and legislation in a fresh wake-up call published by the IAB.

red tape

The third-party cookies storm is approaching

The media and marketing body found that the potential for havoc from pending state privacy laws, due to take effect next year, could eclipse the deprecation of third-party cookies and online identifiers.

That’s the headline conclusion of the IAB’s State of Data report, conducted by MediaScience, which grilled 30 decision-makers across brands, agencies and publishers.

IAB chief executive officer David Cohen said: “While Google’s decision to postpone the deprecation of third-party cookies until 2024 may feel like a reprieve, the industry is far from off the hook. The industry is already operating with significantly less signal given the changes by Apple, Firefox and others. Consumers need transparency and control. We need addressability and measurement solutions that are privacy-by-design and fully compliant with state, federal and international standards.”

Ushering in a new bureaucratic age, Angelina Eng, vice-president, programmatic and data center at the IAB, added: “With third-party cookies, the sky has been falling for more than a decade. No wonder there’s a deepening disconnect between how prepared senior-level data decision-makers feel, and how prepared they are. But no matter what happens with cookies, the rising tide of patchwork regulation is already here.”

One small publisher said: “Nobody wants to give you all of their information just so they can continue reading free content on the internet. Everybody says consumers get it, (but) a lot of the time (they) just want to read what they want to read as quickly as possible. So making it easy for the consumer is going to be key.”

Meanwhile, a large publisher added: “We’re trying to figure out how to get more users to opt in to us using their data and to understand how it has value for our company.”

To prepare themselves for the coming storm, the IAB recommends publishers establish consistent measures and protocols, with a majority of respondents agreeing that a ‘one size fits all’ approach across multiple jurisdictions is vital.

Naturally, the IAB is ready with the tools necessary to make this happen, including a Multi-State Privacy Agreement, and a Global Privacy platform via the IAB Ad Tech Lab. These solutions promise to establish an underlying consistency where state laws overlap, allowing publishers to focus on state-specific requirements.

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