In a recent Streaming Innovations webinar, Stefan Oude Wesselink from Opt Out Advertising provided a unique solution to a growing problem in the digital advertising industry – how to serve ads to users who opt out of cookie tracking.

The Challenge of Cookie Walls

Traditional cookie consent mechanisms often pose challenges for publishers seeking to monetize their ad inventory. In his presentation, Stefan demonstrated the challenges by using the example of the Ultimate Guitar app. Like many others, the app presents users with a cookie wall upon entry. Thus, forcing a binary choice between agreeing or exploring more options.

Clicking on “more options” on Ultimate Guitar’s cookie wall revealed a staggering list of over 600 parties. To all of them, users unknowingly consent to when clicking “accept all.” This vast network of data gathering is the lifeblood of the digital advertising ecosystem.

Cookie wall

However, for the 10% to 20% of users who reject cookies, the browsing experience on Ultimate Guitar becomes devoid of ads. This is a missed opportunity for revenue, and herein lies the core mission of Opt Out Advertising – enabling publishers to monetize the inventory of users who opt out of being tracked.

The Current Ecosystem

Highlighting research from the ISBA, Stefan Wesselink revealed the inefficiencies in the current advertising ecosystem. ISBA conducted comprehensive research on the UK advertising ecosystem, examining advertisers, publishers, agencies, DSPs, SSPs, and various technology parties. The findings revealed a financial imbalance in the system, as publishers receive only half (51%) of advertiser spend on average. And what’s more interesting, 15% of ad spend are referred to as “unknown delta”,  indicating a portion of the advertiser spend that could not be tracked within the chain.

Research from ISBA on the UK advertising ecosystem

New privacy regulations will force greater transparency and accountability. When people’s personal data can’t be exploited freely, the ecosystem will have to become more efficient.

Forces Driving Privacy

Stefan outlined the three major forces driving a privacy-first world:

  • User Awareness: As users become more conscious of their online privacy, they are making deliberate choices about consenting to tracking.
  • Regulatory Governance: The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and ePrivacy legislation are tightening the reins on online privacy, making adherence to privacy standards imperative.
  • Industry Technology Changes: With Google phasing out third-party cookies and Apple taking steps to limit tracking, the industry is adapting to a new era where privacy considerations are paramount.

Privacy as the New Industry Standard

We are moving towards the privacy-first world

Drawing a parallel to the industrial age’s focus on product safety, Oude Wesselink emphasized that privacy is becoming as crucial in the digital age. As seatbelts and airbags became industry standards, privacy considerations are on the path to becoming integral to the advertising ecosystem.

Opt Out Advertising’s Solution

Opt Out Advertising provides a solution for brands and agencies to reach privacy-conscious audiences in a fully compliant way without relying on cookies or other tracking methods.

Rather than serving personalized or targeted ads, Opt Out Advertising focuses on contextually relevant ads based on the content of the page. Their proprietary tool scans article text, subtitles, URLs, and other contextual signals to understand what a page or video is about. 

privacy-first world, advertising solution

This tool ensures that ads are placed in suitable contexts while respecting user preferences and excluding inappropriate content. This maintains user privacy while still connecting them with useful advertising.

Privacy-Focused Advancement

Opt Out Advertising’s commitment to privacy-friendly advertising took a significant leap forward with the recent migration of their hosting infrastructure to the European GDPR-compliant Jet-Stream Cloud, the winner of the Dutch Privacy Awards 2024. Media cloud not only ensures compliance with privacy regulations but also introduces an enhanced video player, the Privacy Player Pro.

Privacy Player Pro: Shielding User Data

Privacy Player is designed without any trackers, ensuring that no data is transmitted to third parties. This proactive measure shields your audience from any potential sharing of personal data.  Opt Out Advertising leverages the player’s built-in API to exert complete control over the ad’s lifecycle. The API allows Opt Out Advertising to monitor crucial aspects such as whether the ad is being loaded, watched, paused when scrolled beyond visibility, the window’s activity status, and verification of ad completion.

Contextual Video Advertising with Privacy at the Core

Besides, Privacy Player Pro is the first commercially available media player to offer contextual video advertising. By exclusively providing advertisers with anonymized data and contextual information on streamed content, we ensure a harmonious balance between revenue generation and safeguarding viewer’s privacy. But we went further and developed Jet-Stream AI context generation for video ads. It automatically analyses each video content and generates tIAB category suggestions, keywords, and summaries. All in a 100% privacy-friendly way.

Impactful Collaboration for Privacy and Revenue

The positive impact of the collaboration between Opt Out Advertising and Jet-Stream is evident in the successful implementation of innovative advertising service by all Dutch regional broadcasters. This partnership not only resulted in higher ad revenues for publishers but also guaranteed the privacy of their audiences.

Are You Ready for the Privacy-First World?

It is clear – it’s time for the industry to place privacy as a top priority. The tide is turning toward a contextually-targeted advertising model. So act now to align your digital campaigns with this rapidly emerging privacy-first standard.