Last week, the CNIL made adjustments to the guidelines published in July 2019 on the use of cookies and other trackers. While these changes did not come as a surprise to digital advertising players, they did indicate that they had within 6 months to comply. The end of third-party cookies on Chrome is only a few months away, are ad-tech players finally ready for the big transition?

Transparency of Consent

More than two years after the implementation of the GDPR, which has made consent pop-ups spike up on the vast majority of websites, the observation is overwhelming. 88% of these banners intended to collect the consent of Internet users to monitor their online activity do not respect the minimum conditions of the legal framework while design tricks encouraging Internet users to accept the placement of cookies are multiplying. In its latest recommendations, the CNIL was very clear: continuing to browse a website can no longer be considered as a valid expression of user consent, the publisher must provide clear information on the nature of the targeting (personalized advertising, geo-localized advertising, content personalization or information sharing with social networks), and refusing third-party cookies should be as simple as accepting them. Good news for users. On the other hand, these recommendations could have a real impact on the quality and accuracy of ad targeting, and the performance of the industry.

A Renewed Challenge for Digital Advertising Players

In a context where consumers are increasingly concerned about the use of their personal data, it is likely that once all players follow these recommendations, publishers will see an inevitable drop in consent rates. This will in turn impact the value of monetized audiences and therefore on advertising revenues. This very plausible prediction raises the question: do we need third-party cookies for the market to function? Whatever the players’ response is, it is necessary for the industry to look now for a different type of data that is not dependent on third-party cookies (which are disappearing) or on user data to target Internet users and personalize messages.

Semantic data: an alternative to third-party data?

The industry is getting ready to implement a major transformation of its ecosystem. However, solutions do exist and are already in place. Among them, semantic data, the most viable one, allows a transition from user-based logic to hyper-contextualization logic thanks to the analysis of the editorial context, the web page’s meaning, and the sentiments associated with the content. Thus, semantic targeting makes it possible to be freed from the personal data of Internet users by displaying a personalized advertising message in line with the content read in real time by the user. Besides providing the Internet user with a message consistent with its distribution context, semantic targeting also makes it possible to maintain a high level of media performance and to enhance the value of publishers’ advertising inventories. If this transformation takes place, it will also represent a huge opportunity to regain control of the ecosystem and gradually get rid of the walled gardens’ data on which the market has become dependent.