Why privacy-first programmatic requires end-to-end expertise

The adtech industry is witnessing a seismic shift as more and more advertisers enter the fray, but with an ever-growing expectation of privacy.

Platforms that can hook up buyers and sellers and see the whole process through make everyone’s lives easier, argues Paul Farrow, Senior Product Manager at Xandr…

With the number of companies in the advertising space constantly increasing, so too has the need for user privacy. Whilst this is an important and necessary shift it means the interconnections between adtech players as well as the uses of personal data have become more complex. Couple this with privacy regulations becoming more convoluted and numerous, and the requirement for privacy expertise has never been clearer.

Within this shifting environment, end-to-end platforms have a clear advantage. Platforms which can connect buyer to seller directly are best positioned to leverage the shift towards user privacy and data security. They are the players that offer the ecosystem the peace of mind that their data stays within their control, so how can the advertising industry lean into these?

End-to-end platforms 

A variety of tools exists already for connecting advertiser demand with publisher pages. Publishers can employ a range of sell-side platforms [SSPs] to organise their inventory into particular ad ‘slots’ and deals, whereas advertisers can use demand-side platforms [DSPs] to organise their creatives and campaigns. SSPs and DSPs are typically single companies specialising in either the sell- or demand-side of the business. However, some end-to-end platforms have both SSPs and DSPs, which are able to communicate directly with one another with no need for any information going anywhere else.

By using an end-to-end platform publishers and advertisers can choose with whom they work and under what circumstances. This offers choice. Whilst there are certainly situations in which publishers and advertisers will want to utilise the supply and demand of the programmatic ecosystem; there will also be times when a more cautious approach is preferred. It is in offering buyers and sellers this choice that end-to-end platforms can excel. 

Expertise matters

Although user privacy in programmatic advertising has been viewed largely as a problem for publishers, that is simply not the case. Whilst it is true that publishers sit at the start of the programmatic chain, advertisers should be focused on what happens downstream. Moreover, advertisers have their own responsibility to ensure that the choices of their users are respected and that their data is protected.

This is where end-to-end platforms can help. These platforms have consultants who see both sides of the spectrum. They follow the entire trajectory of an ad; from request to render. They understand the practices and expectations of publishers around how the data of their users is and should be protected. They also understand the needs of advertisers striving to increase the return on their investments, whilst ensuring that the consumer is kept in full focus. Even though platform consultants are not responsible for the privacy choices of their clients, they have the knowledge to help guide the decision-making process.

Programmatic privacy principles

In some respects privacy challenges are at odds with competition. Privacy-conscious publishers are increasingly focused on first-party data and in-house data management practices. Advertisers, too, are encouraged to interface directly with their publisher partners, removing the need for the middle men. Although an end-to-end platform offers some clear advantages to players wanting to exert more control, the programmatic ecosystem has never been more important in supporting and developing the open internet.

Again, the emphasis should be on choice. Privacy regulations, guidelines, consumer feedback and technical frameworks. How they should be interpreted, implemented and integrated is entirely down to the ecosystem at large. That is why any end-to-end platform that wants to facilitate the privacy-first movement absolutely must incorporate choice into everything they do.