Welcome to Ad Tech’s Privacy Era

It’s the one word on every ad tech professional’s mind lately—privacy. Conceptually, the right to privacy embodies the belief that a person’s private information should be free from public scrutiny and that we have a right to be left alone. However, as technology evolves, an increased amount of personal information has become available to third parties for use in advertising targeting. From a marketing perspective, it makes sense. When consumers share information regarding their online browsing activity, advertisers are able to serve them with relevant messaging based on their interests, effectively resonating with them and driving action—win/win, right? Not quite.

With increased concerns surrounding how consumer data is being accessed, managed, and shared, the ad space has had to pump the brakes on certain targeting tactics and swiftly pivot processes to avoid the risk of losing consumer trust. As discussed in last month’s Trends piece, third-party cookies are disappearing—with mobile ad IDs (MAIDs) not far behind— and now IP addresses are being added to the list of vanishing signals used for audience targeting.

In it’s latest shakeup, Apple has announced a batch of changes to various apps that aim to put user privacy front and center. The news comes just one year after the company upended the mobile ad landscape, when it announced plans for the AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework, kicking off an extended confrontation with many mobile apps and advertising companies.

 

The Big Apple – U.S. Market Share

Apple Inc. is the world’s largest technology company by revenue and, since January 2021, is the world’s most valuable company. As of 2021, Apple is the world’s fourth-largest PC vendor by unit sales and fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer—with more than 1.65b Apple products in use worldwide. It’s safe to say Apple’s global reach (and influence) is massive. From its web browser and email services to device sales, Apple touches it all.

 

 

 

Apple iPhone continues to increase its stronghold as the leader in email client market share—up almost 5 percentage points versus the prior year. About half of all emails are opened on Apple apps. Apple iPhone (38.9%) and its native Mail app (11.5%) capture a majority of the global market share, followed by Gmail (27.2%).

When broken out by device, Apple is a leader in mobile and desktop opens:

Apple’s new features could hinder the market for email client competitors if more privacy-conscious email users migrate to Apple’s Mail app in the future.

 

Timeline of Apple’s Privacy Changes to Safari and iOS

Apple has always stressed user privacy as part of its core mission. Over the past few years, Apple has taken a strong stance on protecting the privacy of its customers by providing them with transparency and control over their information by introducing a number of changes to its devices, Safari web browser, and operating systems—and is likely to continue its focus on this issue into the future.

 

 

Understanding The Industry Impact

The industry has seen rapidly unfolding regulations around cookies and privacy data—and Apple’s focus on putting privacy at the heart of the user experience is just a sign of the changes still to come in the advertising ecosystem. Many see the latest changes as Apple serving its own interests, as these changes will likely give the company a better advantage over competitors. Apple’s latest round of privacy features, set to debut later this year, will impact the industry in different ways, creating new limitations for digital advertisers. Here’s an overview of the new features and their potential impact.

 

1. Elevated Email Inbox Privacy 

Mail Privacy Protection prevents senders from using “tracking pixels” and allows users to opt out of sharing their IP address and location with an email sender. The Mail Privacy Protection feature is built specifically into Apple Mail, meaning users of other apps like Gmail and Microsoft Outlook will not be affected.

Impact: These features could severely hinder marketers’ ability to measure the effectiveness of an email campaign and limit the ability to build strong user profiles, as email addresses often serve as the unique, foundational identifiers that can then be enriched with third-party data. With the IP address hidden, email senders (marketers) won’t be able to connect the account to other online activity (such as web visits and sales) or to their location (limiting attribution capabilities to certain campaigns and ROI measurement), or know if and when the receiver opened an email.

These features will likely lead to lower open rates across the board and subsequently impact deliverability; low open rates often signal to internet service providers (ISPs) that subscribers are not engaged with a sender’s content. If open rates fall substantially, ISPs may even be forced to adjust their open rate benchmarks.

Apple’s new privacy plans could threaten many of the pandemic-era gains for email marketing. Open rates soared during the early days of the pandemic as people began to work from home—which amplified the reliance and importance of email marketing.

  • 23.8% jump in open rates between February and March 2020.
  • 78% of marketing professionals considered email to be important to a company’s overall performance, compared with 71% who said the same in 2019⁴

Apple also unveiled a feature, Hide My Email, which is automatically included in iCloud, Safari, and the Apple Mail app. This lets users generate a single-use, randomly-generated email address—essentially a burner email—for websites that ask for such information before allowing access. Users will still receive emails from said websites in their real inboxes, but the website will not be able to see a user’s actual email address.

Impact: Without access to IP addresses, marketers that rely heavily on this type of data for identification will need to adopt new, privacy-compliant means by which to track user behavior and serve targeted ads.

 

2. Privacy Reports

Apple announced a new feature called the Safari Privacy Report, where people will be able to see which trackers are prevented from profiling them, in addition to an App Privacy Report, which will live in settings and provide an overview of privacy-related matters as they relate to installed apps. For example: how often apps use your contacts, photos, camera, microphone, location, or other data and identifiers. The App Privacy Report will also show which third-party domains are receiving your information.

Impact: These reports offer users a quasi-report card for all of a device’s apps, but could present new challenges for marketers who rely on the collection, storage, and sale of first-, second-, and third-party data for tracking and ad targeting purposes.

 

3. Built-in VPN Access

The company announced a new service, iCloud+, which will likely become available sometime this Fall, that boasts several new data protection features, the most notable addition being Private Relay. It’s essentially Apple’s own VPN service within Safari, which allows Apple to route traffic through two separate relays to obfuscate information regarding who the user is. While one relay gives the user an anonymous IP address, the second is used to send the browsing query to the appropriate results—encrypting web traffic.

Impact: The move raises the already-towering walls of the walled gardens of top tech players. While it may be protecting consumer data, it is also likely to benefit Apple by giving the company greater control over the tracking and ad landscape. While it appears that for now the feature only applies to the web and a small percentage of app traffic (specifically, unencrypted HTTP app traffic), there’s no reason it can’t eventually also be rolled out for apps—and it could be one way to curtail fingerprinting, a banned identification method Apple has yet to begin serious enforcement against on iOS. Although IP addresses aren’t the only ingredient used in fingerprinting, they are one of the key signals.

 

 

Thriving in a Privacy-First World

The changes Apple has made to Safari and iOS make it harder to identify users across different websites and mobile apps—impacting the following capabilities:

As expected, Google (which recently announced that it will be delaying its third-party cookie removal to late 2023) is also following suit with AAID restrictions (though not as dramatic) coming to Android devices later this year—another indication that brands can no longer try to find loopholes in how they reach audiences. While many solutions have been proposed that aim to run these activities without third-party cookies and the IDFA, they don’t offer the same scale. Despite the latest shakeup, GroupM expects digital advertising (excluding U.S. political) to grow by 26% in 2021.⁵)

 

 

Ultimately, better engagement means better results for marketers. Organizations that embrace these industry changes, collaborate with strategic data partners, and work to create better engagement with audiences will be best positioned to thrive in the new privacy-focused landscape. To effectively earn their trust, brands need to show consumers that they value their information and are working to create an overall better online experience for them—in a privacy-compliant way.

 

 

To learn how Digital Remedy can help you navigate the ever-evolving, cookieless/post-IDFA digital ad space, visit digitalremedy.com.

 

 

Sources:

1. Wikipedia contributors. Apple Inc.. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. June 22, 2021, 16:37 UTC. Accessed June 23, 2021

2. Litmus, Email Analytics Data, January-March 2021

3. Acoustic, COVID-19 Email Benchmark Report

4. Litmus, State of Email Report – Fall 2020

5. GroupM, This Year Next Year: Global 2021 Mid-Year Forecast

Mike Seiman

Mike Seiman, CEO & Chairman, is the founder of Digital Remedy, a digital media solutions company leading the tech enabled marketing space he co-founded while still a college student at Hofstra University in the early 2000s. The company has grown quickly and is now a major player within the crowded digital advertising landscape. The rapid growth of Digital Remedy, formerly CPXi led to its inclusion on Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest growing privately held advertising/marketing companies in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2014. Mike was selected as a semi-finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year initiative in 2010 and 2013 and as a finalist in 2009 and 2014. In his free time, Mike serves on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Hofstra University. He also focuses on numerous philanthropic initiatives including sitting on the boards of the H.E.S. (Hebrew Educational Society non-profit community center) and Children International, where he spearheaded the development of community centers in both Guayaquil, Ecuador in 2010 and Barranquilla, Colombia in 2014.

David Zapletal

Before graduating in 2005 with degrees in Retail and Consumer Science (with an emphasis in eCommerce) and a Minor in Public Business Administration at the University of Arizona, David Zapletal had already successfully grown a start up ad network from serving an initial 1 million impressions per day to over 10 million impressions per day. It was his deep understanding of internet advertising during the industry’s beginning stages that led him to another start up at the time, CPXi. More than 8 years that have passed and Zapletal currently serves as Chief Innovation & Media Officer for Digital Remedy. In that role he continues to help grow and implement optimization tactics across various ad serving platforms, oversee daily operations of the account management and trafficking groups and maximizes ROI for Direct Response advertisers as well as for Publishers. Outside of Digital Remedy, Zapletal commits his efforts to an organization called Camp Dream Street, a camping program for children with disabilities, where he serves on the Board of Directors.

Jeff Reitzen

Jeff has worked in multiple facets of the online industry, from sales to operations as well as consumer engagement, content analytics and most recently in data optimization. His career began as a wedding, bar mitzvah, and Sweet 16 DJ where he learned the delicate balance of crowd energy management. Quickly, this skill made him incredibly successful in managing online sales for Geico. He joined CPXi at its startup stage as employee number 4 and has been a key driver of continued growth. His unique knowledge of what converts in the digital ad space, the application of data, and how to optimize platforms for efficiency continues to be invaluable to Digital Remedy clients. Today, Jeff is responsible for innovating and optimizing all Digital Remedy offerings including platforms, systems, tools, and internal processes—ensuring the organization remains on the precipice of the marketplace.

Mike Juhas

Mike Juhas, has over 13+ years of experience in ad tech client services, working with brands, agencies, and publishers ranging from top 10 advertisers to small regional organizations, to rep firms, holding companies and independent shops. An integral member of the Digital Remedy team, Juhas leads all client relationships, including facilitating onboarding and integration, establishing relationship protocols, overseeing Quarterly Business Reviews and status meetings, navigating financial coordination, and overseeing 24/7 team support. His specialties include consultative services, planning strategy, and account management disciplines. Juhas lives in New Canaan, CT with his wife and two daughters, and their dog, Perry–the unofficial company mascot.

TJ Sullivan

TJ Sullivan has over 20 years of media sales and leadership experience. His knowledge of the digital media landscape, ability to develop strategic solutions that solve brand challenges, and talent for motivating sales teams, have made him a vital member of several media and ad tech organizations. Before joining Digital Remedy, Sullivan was VP, Connections at iHeart Media, a cross-divisional group that enabled national advertisers to seamlessly work with multiple iHeart business units; CRO of Reelcontent, a video distribution company for brands; SVP of sales at AdoTube, a video ad network; and was Co-Founder and SVP of video measurement company, OpenSlate—for which he is still an advisor.

Sullivan had served as the President of 212, New York’s Interactive Advertising Club, and currently advises many early stage start-ups in the programmatic and video space. Notably, RUN (sold to Publicis in 2014), Futures Media, Transmit.Live, and Kubient.

Outside of his work in the media industry, Sullivan sits on the Board of St. Elizabeth School in Wyckoff, New Jersey and the Advancement Committee of St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, New Jersey. He resides in New Jersey with his wife and four children.

IP Zone: Leverage the relationship between users and the location of their IP addresses in a cookie-free, safe and scalable way.

Behavioral: Combine first party with network analytics and enormous scale to define custom audience channels that are optimized to sites with high brand engagement.

Demographic: Reach the right audience based on demographic characteristics such as age, gender and income.

Mobile Device: Target users by mobile device type (Smartphone, tablet, etc.), carrier and operating system.

Geo-Location: Target your audience residential cluster, proximity to retail locations, campaign level DMAs and more.

Contextual: Place a relevant ad in front of a user who is reading content that contains specific terms.

Buying Power and Quality

Let’s be honest. Your ad ops are limited by your access to only a handful of channels and DSPs. You want more reach and better prices, but don’t want to sacrifice quality in order to achieve those goals. Digital Remedy has access to a vast multitude of channels based on relationships we’ve cultivated over nearly 20 years in business. That means we get the best prices, have personal relationships, and don’t get sent to voicemail when we call.

It also means that we can execute omni-channel ad ops for better prices than an internal team, while ensuring the quality is up to industry standards. On top of access to all sorts of specific audiences we’re able to to leverage first- and third-party data across all your campaigns and pivot across platforms based on results. Any campaign, any budget, any platform, any audience. Digital Remedy backed by AdReady is restriction free ad ops….and what could be better than that?

Resources, Time, and Overhead

When was the last time you enjoyed balancing budgets, reading resumes, dealing with aggressive sales teams, or wasting years of time for small gains in performance. By partnering with Digital Remedy you get the full support of $30m in OPEX including marketing teams, sales teams, and a dedicated 24/7 ad operations team. No hiring new employees for media optimization, business development, or account management. No months of training and on-boarding. No long meetings crafting sales materials. Just your team focused on making deals, and our teams and tech focused on supporting and executing those deals in a tech-enabled, digital ecosystem designed to get the most out of any KPI.

Reporting and Support

How nice would it be to have all of your data and insights in one location. We don’t mean an excel sheet sent out once a week with complicated charts, or an XML file with pages and pages and pages of tables (what is this, 2003?). We mean a fully customizable dashboard reporting in real time, or as real time as possible. You get to decide the how, what, and when of the reporting you’re seeing. And that’s ALL of the how, what, and when’s. If you want to see breakouts of all of the individual campaigns in your system, done. If you want broad scope comparisons of all of the campaigns in the last year, done. If you want to see CTR’s for specific audiences and compare them to CPM for your best performing advertiser but limit the scope to campaigns greater than 30k, done. All of this is at your fingertips with the AdReady Dashboard, all in one place.

Jessica Cortapasso

With more than a decade of experience in human capital management, Jessica Cortapasso serves as SVP, People at Digital Remedy. After graduating from Muhlenberg College, she quickly recognized her passion for people and entered the workforce in Human Resources where she gained expertise in employee relations, designing strategic benefit plans, and the development, implementation, and curation of corporate engagement initiatives for big-name brands and small companies alike. Becoming a member of the Digital Remedy family in 2013 while simultaneously acquiring her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management and Development from New York University, Jessica has steered company culture through significant events ranging from acquisitions and a rebranding, to the development and application of our Core Values that shape our daily business practices. Cortapasso resides in Brooklyn, plays competitive volleyball, and loves spending time with her nieces.

Erez Feld

Responsible for the financial and legal practices of Digital Remedy, Erez brings 22 years of experience in precision financial analysis, growth management practices, strategic acquisition, and investment leadership. A graduate of Hofstra University, Erez began his career modeling for corporate finance, and expanded his accounting prowess in the real estate sector. Erez joined Digital Remedy in 2008 as a senior accountant, and helped to create and build an accounting department that could support the rapid growth of the company and aligned with those needs. Over the past 12 years he has evolved through various positions at the company within the finance discipline, supervising and mentoring additional finance personnel, while growing under the tutelage of Michael Fleischman, former CFO of Digital Remedy. Today, he leads the Finance Department by supporting high-level projects such as acquisitions and restructuring, and is responsible for overseeing all financial assets, establishing financial procedures, controls, and reporting systems.

Michael Fleischman

After a successful career as an accomplished Fortune 500 financial professional leading Corporate Finance and Strategic Planning at Cablevision Systems Corporation and its programming subsidiary Rainbow Media Holdings, Michael currently plays a role in the overall management of Digital Remedy including direct responsibility for all financial-related activities including accounting, financial planning, M&A, legal, insurance, real estate and banking relationships. Michael brings more than 25 years of media experience at Cablevision and Rainbow Media and during his career was instrumental in the launching and managing of a number of cable television networks including 10 Regional Sports Networks across the US, American Movie Classics, Bravo, and the Independent film channel as well as the structuring of corporate partnerships with companies including Liberty Media, NBC, Fox/NewsCorp and MGM. Additionally, he was the finance lead on a number of professional sports team acquisitions including Madison Square Garden, the successful IPO of Cablevision and a tracking stock at Rainbow Media.Michael was involved in the creation and launch of Rainbow Advertising Sales which was one of the Cable Industry’s first Local Advertising Sales Divisions.

Tony Pascal

With over two decades of experience in the design, product, and technology space, Tony joined Digital Remedy as a graphic designer in 2007. His responsibilities quickly expanded, landing him in leadership roles across multiple disciplines including creative direction, analytics, monetization optimization, and management of platform development. He continued to grow with the organization over the last fourteen years, overseeing all design, development, and execution of Digital Remedy products and platforms. In his current role as SVP, Product & Technology, Tony leads product and technology development for the company and acts as the go-to liaison across teams, ensuring alignment on all aspects of internal and client-facing technology initiatives.

Prior to Digital Remedy, Tony built and ran his own direct response company from 2002-2007 after graduating from New York Institute of Technology, where he learned the fundamentals of digital advertising and optimization strategies that still remain relevant today.

In a previous life, Tony was a ski instructor and still remains an avid skier today. When he is not leading product development, he can be found working on old cars, rock climbing and hitting the slopes.

Gayle Meyers

Gayle Meyers is an entrepreneur, venture partner, investor, and operating resource in the digital media and marketing industry, with over two decades of executive leadership experience. After launching a management consulting firm, Growthing which is focused on optimizing growth strategies for executive leaders and their organizations, Meyers has frequently been tapped for high-profile consulting and advisory positions to help marketing technology companies enhance their in-market presence.

“Gayle is widely recognized as a leading strategist with years of expertise in the ad tech space,” said Mike Seiman, Chairman and CEO of Digital Remedy. “Her career in discovering and integrating game-changing technologies in the marketing industry will serve as an invaluable resource as we continue to enhance our product suite in the months ahead.”

With expertise spanning multiple disciplines, Meyers frequently serves as a keynote speaker at industry conferences for companies such as Google, Verizon, Omnicom, LiveRamp, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Oracle. A list of her notable past clients who have benefitted from her unique insights to increase shareholder value includes Tinuiti (acquired by New Mountain Capital), Adometry (acquired by Google), MediaForge (acquired by Rakuten), Integral Ad Science (acquired by Vista Equity Partners), and Tapad (acquired by Telenor).

2021 Industry Trends Newsletter

2021 Industry Trends Newsletter

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