An enterprise marketing cloud is an ecosystem in its own right – and every one of them worth their own salt is monitoring changes in anything that relates to GDPR, CCPA, and data protection and privacy; let alone changes to support the marketing channels their users exploit to deliver orchestrated omnichannel customer communications’ strategies. This demonstrates the importance of following news alerts and attending conferences, to be able to react in real-time to provide impact analysis on forthcoming changes, and proactively make any required alterations to allow business as usual for our users.
Google Chrome Changes: Cookies, privacy, web tracking
At Google’s annual developer conference, I/O 2019 (May 7-9, 2019, Mountain View, CA), the company revealed several planned privacy-focused changes which will impact Google Chrome, both from a developer’s as well as a user’s standpoint. Firstly, users will be able to more easily identify the purpose of cookies, to keep those that help them preserve user logins and settings, and those that allow cross-site identifications (primarily used by advertisers). Secondly, they brought in protection against fingerprinting. Fingerprinting (or browser fingerprinting), for those not familiar with the term, is a technique used to capture information from your laptop or smartphone when you are connected to the internet, even if cookies are disabled. That method can collect information such as browser type and version, your operating system, active plug-ins, time zone, language, screen resolution, and various other active settings. So, changes are likely to be welcomed by consumers with open arms.
Impact on Selligent
But this raises the question: how will this affect us at Selligent? Will these changes impact our ability to continue tracking web behavior effectively? Will we still be able to deliver leading-edge web personalization, or generate real-time product recommendations leveraging our AI engine?
Some people may recall that Safari rolled out similar changes when Apple released macOS Mojave back in September 2018. Those features enabled users to shut down cookies that track you as you move from site-to-site. So you would have thought blocking cookies would have been game over, right? Wrong! When Safari introduced these measures, all that meant was that Safari’s local storage API was leveraged to store the information previously held within the cookie. Likewise, this methodology can be used for Google Chrome, which also provides a local storage API. Bottom line: no impact on our services.
While there appears to be no definitive date around when this change comes into play (at best in the Chromium Blog they say “in the coming months”), what is evident is that the biggest impact will likely be on advertisers and AdTech vendors, specifically, when it comes to tracking consumer activities across websites.
From a MarTech perspective, and certainly from a web personalization, web behavioral tracking, and product recommendation point-of-view, these are not likely to be impacted in any way, shape or form. Furthermore, these changes are also focused on a single customer’s website, which minimizes the challenges likely to be faced by others chasing users to serve them ads across properties.
The Age of the Empowered Consumer
MarTech, and especially marketing clouds, will need to remain vigilant as continued changes certainly empower the consumer more than ever to choose what they share, and with whom. Some may recall that Facebook in July 2018 made advertisers more accountable when using Facebook Custom Audiences, by declaring whether lists are first-party data, third-party data, or a combination of the two. In addition, Facebook users were also able to leverage the “Why Am I Seeing This Ad?” in the drop-down section of advertisements to see the source of the information, and a link to “Manage Your Ad Preferences.” Welcome to the era of the empowered consumer, who has far more control over their privacy and security on the web than ever before!