Jeffrey Mann

Senior Manager, Analytics

Facebook and Google Data Privacy Updates Explained

It has been an eventful couple of weeks for data privacy updates. Both Google and Facebook have recently announced data privacy changes that in some ways sound similar to Apple's ITP 2.2 update but are, in fact, substantially different. It can be hard to sort out what is important within the noise, so I have summarized the key updates below.

Google and Facebook Updates Are Not the Same as Apple’s ITP 2.2 Update

Google is now allowing users to opt-out of data collection via cookies in Chrome, and Facebook is allowing users to clear their data history in the Facebook platform. These opt-out changes are very different than Apple’s rollout of ITP 2.2, which will apply to all Safari users, regardless of their desire to stop data tracking.

This distinction is very important, as historical precedent tells us that the amount of users who will proactively opt-out of Google and/or Facebook data collection will be under 2% of all US users. Apple’s update, however, impacts data for all Safari users. Safari currently represents ~35% of the US browser market share. You can see how grouping these updates together paints an inaccurate picture for the anticipated impact of the changes by Facebook and Google.

For more detail on ITP 2.2, you can read my post explaining the anticipated impacts of ITP 2.2 specifically.

What is Changing on Chrome?

Google is effectively going to change how websites classify cookies, which will potentially require some work for IT teams to set up the reclassification. All advertising platforms will have their cookies re-classified as third-party. Users will then have the ability to opt-out of third-party cookie tracking. Site analytics (i.e. Google Analytics) will still be classified as first party, so that data will not be affected. The goal of this change is to make it easier for users to opt-out of advertising cookie data tracking while maintaining cookie data that stores log ins, shipping addresses, etc. Previously, if a user wanted to clear advertising cookie data, they had to clear all cookie data.

What is Changing on Facebook?

For years now, advertisers have leveraged the power of placing Facebook tags on their websites to re-target site visitors and serve them ads while those individuals are on Facebook. There is a detail that is often overlooked in this process, however. When a brand places an advertising pixel on their site, the advertiser (in this case, Facebook) can effectively track everything that happens on the brand’s site - not just activities for people who interacted with ads or have a Facebook account. This means Facebook (and Google, and other platforms) essentially have activity data for nearly all websites that advertise through their platforms.

Facebook is now allowing users to clear their history which will delete this data. In doing so, users are effectively removed from audience pools. This accomplishes the same thing for the end user as deleting Facebook cookies on every website, meaning advertisers can no longer retarget these individuals.

Where Does This Leave Us?

If past data is the predictor of future behavior, the updates from Chrome and Facebook will have minimal impact on digital marketers’ targeting abilities, as a small percentage of users will proactively clear their data. These changes are all on the heels of consumers demanding more transparency into how their online data is being used. There is ample room for debate about the facts and misconceptions in today’s data privacy narrative. For now, advertising platforms will continue to balance users’ privacy wants with brands’ hunger to spend money on audience targeted ads.
 
If you’d like to learn more about how Rise is helping brands navigate changes in data privacy policies, contact us today.
 

05/22/2019 at 03:50

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