Episode #2: The Privacy Paradox

Exploring the Pros and Cons of Cookieless Commerce

Episode #2: The Privacy Paradox

The landscape of online advertising is rapidly changing, resulting in both challenges and opportunities for marketers navigating a cookieless world.

Kelly Nyland, Founder & CEO of Whym and Ryan Hornberger, VP of Engineering at Whym, discuss the power dynamics as the privacy wars between browsers like Chrome and Safari heat up. Listen in to discover new strategies to monetize online shopping experiences in a world where your customer’s data is going incognito.

Join as we break down:

  • The comparison between Google's Privacy Sandbox approach and Apple's aggressive stance on user privacy in Safari
  • The importance of picking the right browser based on privacy preferences and data handling
  • The growing competition to develop first-party relationships with users and create personalized experiences while maintaining privacy standards

Listen 🎧 to the episode on Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon or iHeart—or watch Kelly and Ryan below for highlights below.

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2:50 - How Apple saw privacy as a competitive advantage

4:55 - Google’s privacy sandbox, explained

8:11 - Apple’s walled garden approach and the future of privacy for consumers

10:10 - How Apple will monetize and monopolize the future of advertising

13:00 - Why the power of data ownership lays in devices

19:33 - Google’s choice to address privacy concerns

23:35 - Exploring Google’s privacy sandbox features

26:04 - The downsides to Google and Apple’s approach

28:00 - How ad bidding will work without cookies

31:00 - How can brands navigate new algorithms

33:50 - How can we solve the attribution problem

38:10 - Auto-deletion of data with cookies

46:45 - What rules are browsers creating to maintain privacy

52:01 - How to form first-party relationships with end users

Video Highlights & Key Takeaways

1. In a post-cookie environment, will Apple own majority of the browsing experience?

Your internet experience is most determined by the device you're browsing on. As of May 2023, mobile traffic made up for 51.52% of all web traffic. If we were to go back to 2012, this figure was at a meager 10.88%.

There are also more than 1.46 billion active iPhone users worldwide as of 2023. They account for 21.67% of the world's total smartphone-using population. Apple owns Safari - the native browsing application for iPhone, giving them a leg up as we approach an environment without third-party cookies. Since they own the browser experience AND more consumers are going mobile-first—heir access to valuable browser data will be unmatched.

In today's mobile age, brand's approach to personalization and targeting will also need to shift. Understanding Apple's role in power dynamic will help you think twice about where to invest your advertising dollars.

2. Apple vs. Google's walled garden approach to data ownership & privacy—what's different?

A tale of two monopolies. When it comes to data ownership—these two giants are in an arms race. So we know apple owns majority of devices and the Safari browser—Google owns the Chrome browser and Android devices.

Both of these examples are "walled gardens," which are closed platform or ecosystem wherein the provider of the platform has total control over the content, applications, and/or media. It restricts access as it sees fit with the end goal of creating a monopoly.

With great power, comes great responsibility. Recent updates regarding privacy and transparency over the collection, use and sharing of personal data is forcing Apple and Google to change their ways. In 2023 Apple led the way with their 16.4 privacy release, which significantly reduced access to cross-device and cross-browser user data. This approach is crippling to Google's traditional advertising models—forcing their hand to make moves on the privacy front.

In response, Google announced they would start to disable third-party cookies starting in 2024.

Your data, their rules. This strategic pivot signifies the beginning of a new era, disrupting the digital advertising landscape in a world without these cookies. Collectively, Apple and Google are poised to control some of the most coveted advertising real estate, as they adapt to the evolving privacy landscape.

3. How will Google's Privacy Sandbox impact on the future of online advertising?

Google's Privacy Sandbox was an initiative aimed at improving user privacy while still allowing for effective online advertising. It includes a set of proposals and technologies that Google was developing to replace third-party cookies, which are commonly used for tracking and targeting users across the web.

"The idea of moving to a more private internet has been around for a while. Apple saw this as a means to compete with the bigger players in the market. If they can kill Google Analytics for Safari users—they own the advertising space for anyone who wants to advertise across Apple."

Google's sandbox is comprised of a list of standards across the internet to help brands operate with a functional advertising model.

One of the key components of Google's Privacy Sandbox is the deprecation of third-party cookies in the Google Chrome web browser. Third-party cookies are used by advertisers and marketers to track users' online behavior across different websites, creating detailed user profiles for targeted advertising. The deprecation of third-party cookies was intended to enhance user privacy by limiting this cross-site tracking.

The overarching goal of the Privacy Sandbox is to shift the advertising industry toward more privacy-centric practices. Google's approach is based on principles like transparency, user control, and minimizing data exposure. This means users should have more control over their data and be better informed about how it is used for advertising purposes.

4. Data is currency—how will Apple monetize consumer data?

Data holds great value, and the question arises: how will Apple leverage consumer data for financial gain?

Apple's strategic approach, known for its enclosed ecosystem, combined with the growing number of mobile browsers and iPhone users, is poised to become a lucrative source for targeted advertising and marketing endeavors.

Nevertheless, Apple's stance on privacy and user data tracking is centered on enhancing user privacy and granting users greater authority over their data. They have instituted numerous features and policies to curtail the tracking of user data, most notably through initiatives like App Tracking Transparency. These measures are intended to safeguard user privacy rather than exploit consumer data for profit.

As the traditional advertising models face challenges, Apple is charting a new course. Here are a few strategies they can employ to capitalize on the shift towards a more privacy-centric advertising landscape:

  1. Apple Advertising: Apple has introduced its own advertising platform, Apple Search Ads, with a strong emphasis on privacy. They may continue to develop and expand this platform, generating revenue while upholding user privacy.
  2. App Store Advertisements & Fees: Apple derives a percentage of revenues from app sales, app advertisements and in-app purchases within the App Store. By maintaining a secure and privacy-focused ecosystem, Apple can encourage developers to continue utilizing the App Store, which contributes significantly to their overall earnings.

Any user behavior across apps, or the Safari browser will be owned exclusively by Apple. As opposed to the former models which exploited data across multiple providers.

Ultimately, they are creating a new data monopoly within their ecosystem under the guise of privacy and security.

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