Privacy, Data and Preparedness: POV and Guidance for Pharma Marketers

Privacy, a Shifting Landscape, and the Future of Digital Advertising

The advertising industry is shifting as consumers demand more privacy and ownership of their data, regulators struggle to keep up, and technology continues to evolve to offer more ways to engage with consumers and collect their data. The media landscape is fluid and evolves quickly. In an age where data is a commodity, consumers are becoming more aware of how advertisers are using it. In a common quest to educate and regulate, digital governing bodies, state and federal officials, publishers, and technology giants are all weighing in.

This POV, which we will keep updated on a rolling basis as we monitor for relevant changes, will guide healthcare marketers to the information and strategic recommendations needed to continue to make good decisions for their campaigns.

CMI/Compas Recommendation: Weathering Shifts

The first step is to understand the upcoming shifts in digital marketing related to privacy and safe data collection, along with its implication to media. This is an opportunity
for all to be aware of how they are targeting audiences, what data is being collected, and how it is being used. We should continue to look for changes and signals from all parties, and in this case the technology companies to help guide the way clients and agencies react. Having a deeper understanding will allow us to build appropriate solutions for the changing environment and not simply work-arounds.

The Evolving Role of Cookies

Google has announced its plan to stop supporting third party cookies in the Google Chrome browser within two years. Chrome represents about 50% of all browsers in the US.
Third party cookies already aren’t supported in Safari and Firefox browsers.

Cookies have been the long-standing identifier at the browser level: an individual’s personal identification card, developed based on their web activity. It has provided digital advertisers a way to serve, collect data, and measure advertising delivered specifically to you, based on your unique behaviors. The elimination of third-party cookies reflects a substantial change to the marketplace, which is why Chrome will be working alongside its marketing department over the next few years to prepare. Our ability to understand why and what this means will help us ensure the earlier development of alternative strategies to protect privacy all while still delivering relevant messages to audiences.

Cookies were originally designed as means of setting user browser preferences, co-opted by marketers for the purpose of digital advertising, and not designed with user privacy in mind. In parallel, users have been demanding greater digital privacy choices, which is reflected in legislative frameworks like the GDPR, CCPA, and the Washington Privacy Act—recently passed by a vote of 46–1 in the Washington senate. The absence of third-party cookies results in more straightforward privacy choices, and more efficient compliance with legal frameworks for marketers and technology companies alike.

CMI/Compas Recommendation: Cookie Alternatives

At CMI/Compas, we have been planning for this industry shift for some time and have been using both cookie-based and non-cookie-based approaches in our digital ad campaigns. We believe that relevant advertising won’t go away, but we will see a pivot to strategies and tactics that don’t depend on cookies. With the implementation timeline from Google still two years away, there are some unknowns—but there are also ways that we can begin to prepare now.

HCP Marketing: Cookie-Based Tactics and What this Means for HCP Marketing

The following approaches utilize cookies today and are expected to experience some disruption with Google’s change.

Remarketing/Retargeting
Retargeting is the original form of audience targeting, which uses cookies to add website visitors to a list. This tactic isn’t widely adopted for HCP marketing and is restricted for healthcare brands on Google Search (Microsoft/Bing allows retargeting). For this reason, impact to our programs will be low. Social programs leverage retargeting heavily to deliver customized ads based on the users’ journey. This functionality will not be available without cookies, unless we see new technologies emerge in the future.

HCP Specialty Targeting

Brower Driven Ads
Audience data providers, such as Crossix, MedData Group, ALC, and others use cookies today both in data collection and in deployment of audiences to Demand-Side Platform (DSPs) for activation. Targeting based on these strategies will be affected, until audience data providers move past cookies as their primary data asset. Leading data platforms, including LiveRamp, are working on diversifying their dataset past third party cookies, for example, by investing in first-party publisher data. LiveRamp recently launched their Authenticated Traffic Solution (ATS) offering, which envisions allowing publishers to monetize their website logins and creating a cookie-free ecosystem for audience targeting.

In App Ads
Data providers also map audiences to mobile device IDs, which won’t be impacted in the short-term. Device IDs are in mobile apps. Mobile usage makes up about 50% of all internet traffic today and growing. Of mobile usage, 90% is in-app and 10% is in-browser. So device IDs are nearly half of internet traffic, about 45%.

HCP list targeting on non-endemic websites

Audience extension and audience data providers that specialize in reaching HCPs on non-endemic websites today use cookies both in data collection and
in deployment to DSPs for activation and will be impacted. This functionality will not be available without cookies and will likely be replaced by other methods such as keyword contextual targeting on specific websites.

Facebook Lookalike audiences (Website LAL Specific)

Any tactics that rely on the use of cookies to build audiences (e.g. lookalike audiences based on off-platform activity, website retargeting, etc.) will potentially be affected. This functionality will not be available without cookies, unless Facebook rolls out a new methodology.

Post-view conversion measurement
Post-view conversion measurement uses cookies for identifying users. Conversion measurement isn’t widely utilized for HCP marketing. For this reason, impact to our programs will be low. Cookies are also used on Social to measure view through attribution and goal conversions which may have measurement implications. It is possible that this is solved via a non-cookie mechanism in the future, for example via the (still theoretical) Google Privacy Sandbox proposal.

Frequency capping

In most programmatic buying platforms today, frequency is controlled via cookie-based mechanism. If targeting via NPI or direct first-party, such as in AdMission™, frequency capping will be available. Social will not be impacted as the frequency capping is handled in platform. Essentially, the platform knows who the user is within their “walled garden.” Frequency capping for unique impressions is handled natively in social EG: Facebook Business Manager or Twitter Ads. Social media will not be impacted as the frequency capping is handled in-platform. Essentially, the platform knows who the user is within their “walled garden.”

Frequency capping for unique impressions is handled natively in social EG: Facebook Business Manager or Twitter Ads. This area may also evolve in the future, with non-cookie-based solutions and technologies. For example, Google recently announced that it was launching machine learning and analysis of user traffic patterns, to replace cookie-based frequency capping

HCP Marketing: Additional Tactics and Strategies

HCP list targeting on endemic websites via AdMission
CMI/Compas’s AdMission programmatic buying platform is already designed with deep first party endemic publisher relationships (Medscape, Haymarket, Frontline, HMP, Bulletin Health etc.), which allows us to target HCPs on 1:1 basis on endemic sites, without the use of cookies. AdMission uses first party publisher data, versus cookies, for HCP targeting and reporting—and will continue to be a key platform for addressable HCP buying.

HCP list targeting on endemic websites via Reserve Buying
CMI/Compas leverages its ByDoctor® platform to deploy HCP lists directly to endemic publishers for targeting. This allows us to target HCPs on 1:1 basis on endemic sites, without the use of cookies.

Contextual targeting
Private Marketplace, Site, and Keyword Contextual targeting methods use information only about the web page being viewed, and do not rely on cookies. Contextual targeting is expected to grow in the coming years.

Geotargeting
Geotargeting utilizes only location data about the user and does not rely on cookies. On the other hand, mobile location (latitude/longitude) data may become unavailable in the future because of user privacy concerns.

Brand Safety
Most brand safety providers, such as DoubleVerify, use non-cookie methods to filtering and measuring Viewability, Fraud, and Brand Safety.

Impression, Click, Video View and Completion measurement
These types of measurement do not rely on cookies. Reach calculation in AdMission is likewise done without the use of cookies. These specific measurements in Social are measured in platform,  but advertisers who leverage LPVR (Landing Page View Rate) with the Facebook pixel should be prepared for potential measurement impact.

Search Engine Management and YouTube
These channels do not rely on the use of cookies today. Search and YouTube promotion can continue using Google’s own 1st party audience segments to better define targeting within Google’s platform for the audience they are trying to reach. Social media’s use of list matching/CRM and platform-based first party targeting will  holistically be unaffected by Google’s update. There may be implications around LAL audiences sourced on users’ web browsing behavior that is captured by Facebook so LAL pixel audience quality should be monitored once this change takes effect.

Connected TV
Connected TV is one emerging channel that does not use cookies for targeting users. As the biggest screen in the house, Connected TV presents interesting opportunities for the future.

Consumer Marketing: Cookie-based Tactics

Remarketing / retargeting
Retargeting uses cookies for adding website visitors to a list for targeting. This tactic is generally considered to not be in line with consumer marketing best practices and is restricted for healthcare brands on Google search (Microsoft/Bing allows retargeting). For this reason, impact to our programs will be low. Social programs leverage retargeting heavily to deliver customized ads based on the users’ journey. This functionality will not be available without cookies, unless we see new technologies emerge.

Patient condition targeting
Audience data providers, such as Crossix, ALC, and others today use cookies both in data collection and in deployment of audiences to DSPs for activation.  Targeting based on these strategies will be affected, until audience data providers move past cookie as their primary data asset. Most data providers also map audiences to mobile device IDs, which won’t be impacted in the short-term.

Other targeting via audience data providers
Age, gender, income, race, caregiver status, and other audience segments usually involve cookies both in data collection and in deployment to DSPs for activation.   Most data providers also map audiences to mobile Device IDs, which are not impacted in the short-term. Leading data platforms, including LiveRamp, are working on diversifying their dataset past third party cookies, for example by investing in first-party publisher data. LiveRamp recently launched their Authenticated Traffic Solution (ATS) offering, which envisions allowing publishers to monetize their website logins and creating a cookie-free ecosystem for audience targeting.

Facebook Lookalike audiences (Website LAL Specific): Any tactics that rely on the use of cookies to build audiences (e.g. lookalike audiences based on off-platform activity, website retargeting, etc.) will potentially be affected. This functionality will not be available without cookies, unless Facebook rolls out a new methodology.

Post-view conversion measurement
Post-view conversion measurement uses cookies for identifying users. Conversion measurement isn’t widely adopted for Consumer marketing, but companies like Crossix have been relied upon to provide some level of targeting and measurement success. We expect their methodologies to be hampered, potentially eliminating the usage of such measurement. Cookies are also used on Social to measure view through attribution and goal conversions which may have measurement implications. It possible that this is solved via a non-cookie mechanism in the future, for example via the (still theoretical) Google Privacy Sandbox proposal.

Frequency capping
In most programmatic buying platforms today, frequency is controlled via cookie-based mechanism. Social will not be impacted as the frequency capping is handled in platform. This area may also evolve in the future, with non-cookie-based solutions and technologies.
For example, Google recently announced that it was launching machine learning and analysis of user traffic patterns, to replace cookie-based frequency capping.

Consumer Marketing: Alternative Tactics and Strategies

Contextual targeting
Private Marketplace, Site, and Keyword Contextual targeting methods use information only about the web page being viewed, and do not rely on cookies. Audience data providers like Oracle Grapeshot, Peer39, and others are heavily investing in keyword contextual targeting—integrating both keyword and context of the page into its methodology.

Geotargeting
Geotargeting utilizes only location data about the user and does not rely on cookies.  On the other hand, mobile location (lat/lon) data may become unavailable in the future because of user privacy concerns.

Brand Safety
Most brand safety providers, such as DoubleVerify, utilize non-cookie methods to filtering and measuring Viewability, Fraud, and Brand Safety.

Impression, Click, Video View and Completion measurement
These types of measurement do not rely on cookies. Reach calculation in AdMission is likewise done without the use of cookies. These specific measurements in social are measured in platform but advertisers who leverage LPVR (Landing Page View Rate) with the Facebook pixel should be prepared for potential measurement impact.

Search Engine Management & YouTube
These channels do not rely on the use of cookies today. Search and YouTube promotion can continue using Google’s own first-party audience segments to better define targeting within Google’s platform for the audience they are trying to reach. There may be implications around LAL audiences sourced on users’ web browsing behavior that’s captured by Facebook so LAL pixel audience quality should be monitored once this change takes effect.

Connected TV
This is one emerging channel that does not use cookies for targeting users. As the biggest screen in the house, Connected TV presents interesting opportunities for the future.

CMI/Compas Recommendation: Other Ways to Prepare

There are many tactics and strategies at our disposal that do not depend on cookies. In particular, we expect to see a growth in contextual advertising, utilization of our AdMission platform on non-endemic publishers, growth in search and social channels, and progress in emerging channels like connected TV. In many ways this could be perceived as taking a step backwards in digital media, but that is not necessarily the case. We will be leveraging strategies that have long proven themselves, such as endemic advertising and contextual relevancy, speaking to the power of aligning with audiences in the right mindset. We will be able to leverage search and social data to build more sophisticated campaigns structured to deliver ads alongside content likely to be more desired by our audiences. Measurement may shift to performance based, and scale may not be as important of a metric. This will make way for cost per performance driven ad buying structures, focusing on quality not quantity.

The advertising industry will likewise continue to evolve, with increased importance placed on first-party data and logged in environments. The IAB Tech Lab is already in the early stages of proposing a universal framework that would allow publishers to utilize their logged in audiences for the purpose of programmatic audience buying. This framework envisions publishers passing in hashed user logins, or emails, into the bid stream. Buyers can then use their Demand-Side Platform to upload and target a CRM list on these publisher sites. This proposed mechanism is similar to current Facebook Custom Audiences and Twitter Tailored Audiences CRM targeting offerings. And as mentioned above, Google has also proposed a new “Privacy Sandbox,” a blank canvas meant to foster brainstorming and development of browser APIs that could potentially replace third party cookies in the future.

While these changes are significant, we think they will have a positive effect on our industry—and expect that privacy choices will be better protected in the absence of third-party cookie targeting. This will result in more straightforward privacy choices for patients and HCPs alike and allow for more efficient compliance with legislative frameworks like CCPA.

WPP has created a global task force with technical leads from various parts of the business to collaborate with Google on solutions / feedback / use case requirements. We are also collaborating with WPP on all privacy-related changes that may affect our clients.