Adblockers, privacy laws and browser restrictions

Adblockers, privacy laws and browser restrictions – how marketers can operate in this new world

If you are a digital marketer, you are well aware of how dealing with data privacy laws, the rise of adblockers, and browser restrictions appear like a triple whammy.

Marketing Technology and data governance laws have been undergoing a dramatic change over the last two years. These changes will continue to evolve for the foreseeable future. Companies have initiated consented data collection or a first-party data strategy to tide over the changes. 

Brands have traditionally relied on third-party trackers for user data collection and analytics. Cookies are used for personalization and targeted advertising experience. Loading third-party trackers and sending data to their servers has resulted in significant performance issues and invasion of user privacy. Intrusive Ads have significantly impacted the end-user experience.

Let us take a look at some of the challenges faced by marketers due to browser restrictions, government interventions, and end-user measures.


1. Ad blockers usage on the rise

Intrusive ads have been hampering user experience for a long time. With ads often bordering on becoming a nuisance, usage of adblockers on phones and desktops has skyrocketed. These apps or plugins block or periodically alter advertising on websites, while some block the tracking of end-user behavior. Apart from ads, Adblockers also block well-known third-party trackers and analytics.

With the adblockers, data about user visits and their journey is lost. Ads blocked by such users are a wasteful expenditure (lost ad budget). This also results in a significant discrepancy between campaign dashboards and actual analytics data. This in turn affects attribution.

Though adblockers are a huge boon for the end-users, marketers have to find new avenues to be able to reach potential users and to identify solutions that can help better understand their users. Initiatives such as Acceptable ads, non-intrusive opt-in ads, and contextual advertising initiatives are gaining traction.

2. Data privacy laws

Since the enactment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, several countries have amped up their data protection laws. A lot of them have passed new laws inspired by the GDPR. In the US, privacy laws are being enacted by individual states instead of an overarching federal law.

Companies that conduct business in these regions have to comply with the laws or risk being penalized. Brands now have to overhaul their entire data collection practices with proper user consent and to comply with the usage of data collected. This is what we essentially term as consented data collection.

Several of these laws allow for users to opt out of their data being sold or used for marketing purposes. The results of which have no doubt negatively affected marketers who rely on traditional data collection and tracking practices. With a rising focus on consent and the enactment of privacy laws such as GDPR, CCPA, etc., the AdTech industry is undergoing a significant transformation.

3. Browser restrictions and Tracking Transparency

AdTech companies have so far used third-party cookies for cross-site tracking of users. Around 2017, Apple and Mozilla announced the decision to disband third-party tracking. This decision was at par with user demand for more data privacy and protection. Apple’s Safari browser implemented Intelligent Tracking Prevention while Firefox rolled out Enhanced Tracking Protection. Google has delayed its removal of support for third-party cookies to 2023. New privacy-focused browsers such as Brave are seeing a significant uptick in adoption.

What is the road ahead for marketers?

There have been serious discussions around how to prepare for a cookieless future and rethink marketing strategies to align accordingly. As the challenges appear seemingly insurmountable, marketers are devising alternate strategies. The proposed solutions must promise ROI while being future-proofed so that marketers can handle current changes and future restrictions.

The solutions adopted eventually have to rely on privacy compliant and consented data collection infrastructure. While methods like contextual advertising and leveraging first-party data have been around for a while, they find more relevance in the situation marketers find themselves in.

Contextual marketing stays true to its name and uses the content on a user’s webpage to show ads. For instance, if a user is searching for holiday destinations, ads for vacation packages would be shown. Here, the user data, despite being available, isn’t used for targeted advertising.

 Can a first-party data strategy be what marketers are looking for?

 As more tracking restrictions are enforced and new privacy laws are enacted, first-party data collection has emerged as a way forward for companies to future-proof their marketing strategies and implementation. Server-side tagging (SST) helps companies begin their first-party data journey. Server-side tag management is not blocked by Adblockers and is resilient to third-party restrictions by browsers. However, it must be noted that companies still have to be compliant with applicable data privacy laws. 

The challenges discussed above can be overcome by employing a first-party data strategy with a server-side tag manager such as MagicPixel.

Comply with any data privacy laws, collect valuable first-party data without worrying about adblockers and browser restrictions with our tailormade solutions. Learn more about how you can begin your first-party data journey here or you can book a demo to find the answers.

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