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10 Takeaways About Google’s Latest Identity Announcement on March 3, 2021

1 – This is not new News… just well-timed.

Days before the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting kicks-off, as others get their momentum going on other solutions, and as the Biden/Harris U.S. administration puts their leadership in place, “Big Tech” is under appropriate heavy scrutiny now more than ever.

2 – We’ve seen this move before from Google.

April 27, 2018. 28 days before GDPR went into effect. Google restricts access to data hurting marketers in the name of consumer privacy.

I remember a meeting at an agency holding company where we were reviewing their second-party data strategy when someone came running down the hall with a crazed look into our conference room like Joan Cusack in Broadcast News. “You won’t believe what Google just did. We might be screwed.”

Anyone say or hear or read that since last Wednesday?

3 – Google expects most marketers and publishers to leverage Google’s stack more.

Back to April 27, 2018, with the above gauntlet falling, we found about 25% of Marketers and Agencies we talked to said, “That’s it. It’s time to get off the Google stack. We can’t get into this position again.” But about 75% slumped their shoulders and basically said, “Well, I guess we’ll just use Google more now.” Google remembers. Same play here. ”Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to…”

4 – No stated advantage for Google, huh?

At the IAB Leadership meeting on March 9, 2021, Jerry Dischler said there would be no advantage for Google’s own platforms. This is the same company that had its own ad network, Google Display Network, have the last look on its own exchange for years to cherry-pick whatever ad they could make the most margin on before any other DSP, SSP, or individual buyer could get a peek. It’s also the same company that required any buyer of YouTube to use their DV360 instance. So we’ll see.

5 – Google’s “Study” of FloC being 95% as effective is a bit skewed, to put it mildly.

We didn’t see the methodology stating that, of course, to create that 95% effectiveness, marketers only need to spend every dollar/pound/euro within Google’s eco-system and O&O inventory. Of course, it’s going to be 95%. Stay tuned for our counter study showing how effective ads are when done appropriately across all inventory while having even more data beyond what AdsDataHub decides to let you use. Novel concept right – showing the entire consumer profile and journey?

6 – Drink up from your cocktail of contextual, probabilistic, and deterministic targeting.

As Sarah Sluis referenced from us last month, and several folks nicely mentioned during a great Clubhouse of 600+ the night of Google’s announcement that I was privileged to co-host with the IAB’s Angelina Eng, we need to mix a new cocktail. Some have had these ingredients all along, and others just forgot that Contextual still matters to personalize messages beyond tagging a client’s website and simply running retargeting ads fishing from the bottom of the Open Auctions. To create real scale, Publishers and Brands need to measure, mix, taste, repeat to find their “flavor” and challenge all Tech providers to forecast how much scale will be gained by adding them to their imbibe.

7 – This ultimately hurts consumers more than it helps them.

We find it a bit ironic that Google and Apple, the two largest companies using the shield of consumer privacy and protection, have created obstacles for better personalization of content and marketing that create an even worse experience for consumers… everywhere else outside of Google and Apple. Most won’t remember Apple’s ads during the World Series in 2019 with ominous music and dark lighting talking about personal data being shared, so here’s a reminder –

The message is the same then and now with Google, brilliantly done with massive consumer ad spend – You Can’t Trust Anyone But Us. We’ve proposed several times over two years, working alongside several industry groups, to create a global awareness campaign about the positives of appropriate data sharing for a better experience. Facebook has taken to arms with their ironic war with Apple now through their app notification leapfrog. It should help raise awareness but so much more is needed to show the upside along with the downside of sharing Contextual, Probabilistic, and/or Deterministic data.

8 – There are plenty of identity alternatives to test and leverage.

We currently have 37 ID partner options tracked in the U.S. and 54 globally today, with 4 more to be announced that we personally know of. Just because you cut one deal with 1 partner 3 months ago, don’t think you’ve checked the box and you’re done. Find out how much scale you’ve generated, how much you’ve lost and gained by giving that data to someone else to leverage in various ways (see SSPs, DMPs, Ad Networks from the past 25 years…) and test someone else with that partner.

9 – This continues to mean short-term pain for long-term gain.

Any major disruption like the pandemic we’re still living in creates uncertainty, fear, and a rush to find comfort. You know how every digital marketing panel on data the past 10 years has one person saying the cliché “Publishers and Brands need to take more control of their data”?

This Is That Moment.

We’ve known the upside of building an Enterprise Data Platform. Publishers and Brands have boosted their RPM and/or ROAS directly because of the investment in their own Tech, Targets, and Talent. Those that have the time, intelligence, confidence, trust, and empowerment to chart their own course will win in the end.

10 – This is the greatest transformational moment in our industry in 14 years.

Not since the combined rise of social media and smartphones in 2007 have we seen this big of an opportunity to rewrite the rules of how marketing works for good – globally. Let’s remember past mistakes, leading to the issues of commercial and societal inequality, job loss, weakened democracies, and misled ad performance (not in any particular order of importance…) to move towards a healthier media and marketing ecosystem for all.

So do you feel like you’re about to have sand kicked in your face from their Privacy Sandbox? You can stand up and create a fair, transparent exchange of data with consumers for a better, more personalized experience across all media channels, leveraging a variety of solid Tech partners.

Matt Prohaska, CEO & Principal