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No Cookies? More Privacy? Terms You Need to Know

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The landscape of the internet is evolving…especially for digital advertisers. With all the recent changes, publishers and advertisers are looking for better ways to collect and use data for advertising while acknowledging a user’s privacy.

But it’s a lot to take in…especially if you are a small to medium business owner with so much already on your plate. 

Here’s a handy resource to help you understand some of the terminology you may come across when learning to navigate these new laws, regulations, and policies. 

The Very Basics

Start with baby steps. Familiarize yourself with these few simple terms…they will pop up throughout this article.

Advertisers: Those willing to pay to place ads on a publisher’s online property.

Publisher: The owner of a website, app, or marketplace. In other words, YOU!

Users: Those visiting your website, app, or marketplace.

Data: Information collected by a website’s users such as browsing tendencies, purchase history, email addresses, recent searches, etc.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII): Data that can be used to identify a specific individual (IP address, SSN, email addresses, etc.)

Types of Data

Data comes in many forms. As we move forward, some types of data will be more valuable than others. Read on…

Zero-Party Data: Information consumers intentionally share with your business. Zero-party data can be obtained by surveys, registration forms, etc. This can be crucial data, because it’s what consumers and users are communicating directly to you. 

Second-Party Data: Information bought or obtained from another company’s first-party data. This can include a business, data management platforms, or a second-party data network. Second party data networks are expected to grow now that Google has eliminated third party cookies.

Third-Party Data: Browsing behavior information acquired by data aggregators. The info is then sold to agencies or publishers to reach a broader audience. 


Google wants third-party cookies gone. Do you know what that means? This will help…

Tracking Cookies: A small text file that saves user-specific data to understand an individual’s  preferences, such as login information.

3rd Party Cookies: A popular (and endangered) method of online advertising. Third party cookies are another domain added to a website with tags or code. This information then becomes accessible to any website that adds the third-party server’s code. For example, you search for a pair of shoes you want. Suddenly, you see ads for those shoes popping up when using apps or visiting other websites. Some users feel third party cookies violate their privacy.

Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC): Google’s response to eliminating third party cookies. Sometimes known as the Privacy Sandbox. This “privacy first” and “interest-based” method of collecting data will put an individual in various audiences–or cohorts. FLoC lets advertisers target these cohorts as opposed to an individual. This, theoretically, will allow some anonymity regarding the data Google collects.

Ways Ads are Bought, Sold, or Distributed

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes to get ads to users.  Here are some ways it happens.

Advertising network: Online platform acting as an intermediary between advertisers and publishers. Ad networks collect a publisher’s inventory and match it with an advertiser’s demand. These networks sort inventory into categories according to specific audience segments. 

Ad exchange: Online marketplace where publishers, advertisers, ad networks, etc. buy and sell advertising space–usually through real-time auctions. 

Ad server: Technology allowing the management and tracking of an internal promotion or ad on one’s website. Ad servers decide, in real-time, the best ad to show based on targeting, budgets, relevance, and revenue goals. Ad servers may be on the publisher or advertiser side.

Bidstream Data: Data passed with a bid request that originates from the publisher’s website or app. It includes basic details related to ad units like the IP address, URL, device type, and ad format. No Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is exchanged using bidstream.

Direct Advertising: Advertisers working directly with a publisher to purchase ad space on a website or app. The two parties negotiate price, ad placement, and the duration the ad is run.

Demand-side Platform (DSP): Software used to automate the purchase of advertising space by agencies or brands. A streamlined process to buy display, video, search, or mobile ads. 

Header Bidding: A process where different advertisers simultaneously participate in a digital auction to get ad space on your website. The auction happens with every page load and when an ad unit refreshes. 

Programmatic Advertising: Software used to purchase digital advertising. An automated process that makes it easier and quicker than using human negotiations, request for proposals (RFPs), or manual insertion orders.

Supply Side Platform (SSP): Software that publishers use to sell advertising space on their site or app.

Defining All Things Data

Data is the cornerstone of successful digital marketing. Data allows us to understand our customers, reach new prospects, determine if ad campaigns are working, and, ultimately, build our businesses. Let’s take a closer look at how data is stored, processed, and used. 

Data Clean Rooms: Locations where large companies–like Facebook or Google–store aggregated advertising data. Businesses use these rooms to better understand their advertising data. That being said, data clean rooms have strict privacy controls that prevent a business from collecting any customer-level data. 

Data-Management Platform (DMP): Collects data from several 1st, 2nd, and 3rd data party sources. This unifying platform organizes raw information that can be used for targeted advertising, content customization, and personalization.

Data Lake: Storage of a huge amount of structured, unstructured, or semi-structured data. Data is stored in its native format with no fixed limits. Since a data lake defines schema after data is stored, it allows for increased analytical performance and native integration. 

Data Marketplace: An online store or transactional location allowing the buying and selling of data. It’s an opportunity for businesses to expand on their internal data sets with others’ data. Cloud-based data marketplaces are becoming a popular way to match data consumers–like ad agencies and businesses–with appropriate data sellers.  

Data Warehouse: Storage of large amounts of data in files or folders–unlike a data lake that simply uses a large repository–for organization and the ability to use the data for strategic decisions.  

Identity Graph: A database that correlates the identifiers of an individual customer from a publisher’s ad platform, CRM, eCommerce software, and/or email marketing tool. 

Identity Resolution: The practice of creating a unified customer profile by using data from different sources. 

Lookalike Modeling: A process of identifying users similar to a publisher’s audience to increase the pool of targetable users.

Segment: Grouping potential new users based on shared characteristics determined from existing users. 

Universal ID: Framework for user identification based on the ability to accurately identify a user across multiple platforms and devices without duplication. 

User Profiles: Unique profiles made from the collection of data involving behavior patterns, interests, context, and intent. 

Privacy, Consent, and Compliance

Privacy laws like the GDPR and CCPA empower users to take an active role in how their personal data is being used. We, as business owners, need to proactively ensure users’ privacy rights are being met. Here’s some terms you may come across…

Customer Data Platform (CMP): A platform used by publishers for requesting, obtaining, and storing users’ consents. It also stores a list of preferred vendors and the reasons for collecting data. A user can set their consent status for individual or all vendors on a publisher’s site. 

IAB TCF 2.0 data: As a result of the GDPR, the Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) is an initiative developed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). It standardizes the process of getting user consent for the collection and use of personal data.

Data controller: Entity that controls the procedures and purposes of data usage. It dictates how and why data will be used by an organization and is responsible for the rights and privacy of the data’s subject.

Data processor: The third-party company that processes data provided by the data controller.   

Still Have Questions?

It’s a lot to take in. But the more you know, the better your online business will thrive throughout all these changes. 

If you’re looking at all these terms and feeling your eyes glaze over…it’s okay….

Afflatus Media has the answers. We’re rolling with the changes, discovering new solutions, and eager to help publishers and businesses who feel a little lost with third-party cookies gone and new privacy standards popping up.

Let us help your business navigate all these changes. Get started by sending us a message or specific question. We’ll get back to you within 24 hours and start the dialogue that’s going to help your business. 

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