Carbon DMP | Things that mattered in tech from January 2020

If publishers & marketers weren’t already facing a number of huge challenges in the decade ahead – including trust, transparency and brand safety, and how these impact monetisation – the impending ‘cookiepocolypse’ further adds to their list, but it’s also a huge opportunity.  As well as Google’s 3rd party cookie announcement, January 2020 saw the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) go live, a number of predictions for both the new year & the new decade, and the weird & wonderful from CES, among other things.

Privacy legislation – CCPA now live

CCPA went live on 1st January – a similar policy to Europe’s GDPR and potential blueprint for the rest of the US.  Recently there have been calls for delayed enforcement of CCPA to give businesses more time to comply (beyond the 1st July enforcement data) with rules yet to be completely finalised.  The move would also give more time to educate users on the benefits of not opting-out.

Here’s a really insightful article on The Future of Data Privacy Legislation (Neel Lukka,, covering key themes of data privacy, how publishers can prepare (including a shift to first party solutions), and a nice summary of CCPA and GDPR.


GDPR and CCPA have proved valuable catalysts in cleaning up the world of digital data, and in combination with Google’s announcement of condemning 3rd party cookies by 2022 it could promote a more ethical and valuable ad market for everyone.  For publishers the challenge is adapting & protecting their business models, whilst advertisers can reach customers effectively in brand safe environments, and customers get a great user experience.

The announcement itself hasn’t really came as a surprise, given the launch of Google’s privacy sandbox, though the timeline itself perhaps is.  Starting in February, Google is also implementing its SameSite rules update to limit cross-site tracking, almost kicking off the 2 year demise of 3rd party cookies.  Over the next 2 years expect to see Google work closely with advertisers and publishers to develop their ad offerings – after all that is largely what their business is based on.  The main focus will now be placed on 1st party solutions.

New Opportunities from 1st Party & Contextual Solutions

Ultimately, the move from Google to scrap 3rd party cookies from its Chrome browser – which accounts for ~65% of the market – could help with the challenges facing digital by refocusing the industry on quality 1st party solutions, helping to grow revenue we can control.  Focusing on 1st party cookies can promote quality data, control, more addressable audiences and revenue for publishers.  It’s a move that further validates Carbon’s own 1st party cookie solution supplemented with local storage and browser cache segmentation solutions, and our ability to compliantly and efficiently target through real time audience availability.

We expect to see a range of new first party solutions & monetisation products – including our own – that can take advantage of the high quality data, as well as alternative new (old) targeting options such as contextual ads.

Contextual Ad example

Contextual advertising has become even more important as it enables a level of targeting that is both brand safe and identifies potentially relevant inventory for ads based on keywords or other context signals.  Machine learning and AI are powering today’s leading contextual intelligence solutions, making them smarter, more actionable, more brand suitable, and more measurable.

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Challenges elsewhere – The ICO

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK’s data protection authority, is continuing to warn the industry to do better to comply with policy like GDPR, or feel its ‘full power’.  In the early part of January IAB released a response to ICO’s RTB concerns with a number of actions around data security, minimisation and retention, as well as guidance on the content taxonomy, special category data and cookies.

Other key highlights

CES 2020: Privacy and the new IoT

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) always brings out the wild & wonderful new tech, as well as overarching trends to stay aware of.  The uncommon presence of Apple at this year’s event was slightly surprising, though it was no surprise they weren’t pushing products, instead they were pushing their principles around privacy.  Ironically some Google research poked holes in Apple’s ITP suggesting a number of flaws in it.  The final line in Google’s research report was interesting – “We [Google] look forward to collaborating with Apple on future security and privacy improvements to the web”.

An interesting nod to consumer electronics over the next decade is this article discussing the Intelligence of Things.  This new IoT is an extension of the Internet of Things where widespread artificial intelligence (AI), and faster internet speeds from 5G will transform how everyone leverages tech.

Gaming: Growing monetisation opportunities

Gaming is another area of huge growth, bringing massive opportunities for publishers and marketers.  Whether its mobile games – which consumers spent $210m on Christmas alone (an 8% YoY rise) according to Sensor Tower – PC or console; the whole gaming market hit $120.1bn in 2019 (up 3% YoY).  From rewarded video ads, interstitial ads and banner ads to the opportunities for gaming websites to better monetise their growing gamer audiences, and the growing state of eSports, gaming is a growing key area for media.

Gaming (as well as music/audio) has been mentioned in a few places as drivers of programmatic ads too.  Younger audiences, for instance, spend less time on social and more time gaming, which opens up programmatic opportunities such as dynamic placings as well as more innovation in the space.


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