As the world crumbles around us (lol, thanks 2020), the internet is going through significant changes on all fronts as well. Between algorithm updates, emerging privacy laws, and Google’s recent announcement that browser cookies and mobile identifiers will soon be a thing of the past, there’s a lot going on. With such foundational technology as browser cookies exiting, marketers have questioned how personalized marketing will continue to survive. And what’s more, there aren’t new or upcoming standards set in place, or even outlined, for marketers to plan to adhere to upon the final demise of cookies. What’s come from all of this is a sort-of stakeholder race to establish digital media standards around those advertising practices that are falling by the wayside so that marketing personalization can be preserved.
Bill Tucker Group Executive Vice President of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), had an apt, yet slightly foreboding, analogy of the situation that marketers are currently finding themselves in:
“In the ancient story of the Tower of Babel, the city collapsed because its inhabitants lost the ability to speak a common language. The digital advertising industry faces a comparable challenge around addressability today, as recent changes announced by operating systems, browsers, and other technologies, if implemented, will significantly impact the traditional marketplace language of cookies and mobile IDs.”
The Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media
But all is not lost! Thanks to the combined efforts of advertising trade bodies, brands, publishers, agencies, and technology firms there’s a new initiative on the block—Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media, or PRAM. Its sole goal is to establish new digital media standards to safeguard advertisers while respecting the user’s privacy. PRAM will utilize four working groups to properly and effectively address these issues: Business Practices; Technical Standards; Privacy, Policy and Legal Considerations; and Communications and Education.
Unsurprisingly, some of the greatest minds and teams in advertising are building PRAM from the bottom up. As reported in Marketing Dive:
“Bill Tucker of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) will serve as executive director of PRAM, which also features trade bodies the 4A’s, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the IAB Tech Lab, the Network Advertising Initiative and the World Federation of Advertisers. Brand-side members include Ford, General Motors, IBM, Procter & Gamble and Unilever, while agency representation includes IPG’s UM and Publicis Media. NBCUniversal is the only publisher named in the group, while Adobe, LiveRamp, MediaMath and The Trade Desk make up its technology supporters.”
An initial draft of PRAM’s principles reveals a fastidious focus on user benefits while still supporting the advertisers’ success.
- Consumer privacy should remain a foundational pillar of the solution by providing consumers with meaningful transparency and controls, giving the marketplace the tools to understand consumer preferences and the ability to abide by those preferences.
- Consumers should have access to diverse and competitive content offerings, supported by their choices to engage with digital advertising in exchange for content and services.
- Business operations, including ad targeting, ad delivery, frequency capping, campaign management, analytics, cross-channel deployment, optimization, and attribution should be sufficiently supported and improved upon through better technological and policy standards for all critical use cases.
- Solutions should be standardized and interoperable for consumers and businesses across browsers, devices, and platforms, subject to applicable privacy laws and guidelines and to the extent it is reasonably technically feasible, efficient, effective, and improved over existing technology.
- All browsers, devices, and platforms should allow equal access, free from unreasonable interference, to the new solutions.
- Companies that utilize the resulting solutions should follow industry and legal privacy standards, with strong accountability and enforcement for those that violate the standards.
Though the groundwork has been laid, PRAM’s vision and mission will still rely on “broad support and adoption” to succeed in the industry. PRAM is proof that consumer privacy and targeted ads surviving in a still-ad-supported internet is not as crazy a reality as once thought.
For more information on PRAM, or to get involved, you can get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.