Earlier this month, Google signalled that it has surrendered a key front in the war being waged by Apple and others in the name of user privacy and security.

Unsurprisingly, given that this information is the lifeblood of its advertising business, it is committing to a period of two years with lots of income-statement covering caveats.

In theory, this is a win for consumers. It can't really be argued that removing weaponised data from the hands of increasingly intrusive, unequally regulated, marketing superpowers is at face value a bad thing.

But like the introduction of GDPR in Europe, the way this particular retreat plays out may have some significant collateral damage impacting marketers, media owners and oddly further consolidating power in the hands of established platforms.

Here are the winners and losers of these changes:



Anything that protects consumers from exploitation is a good thing, but a large part of the functionality and frictionless expected from our digital products is derived from the gathering of relevant data and behaviour.

Facebook, Amazon and Google

These platforms will be able to increase the amount they charge marketers to access their logged in, permissioned walled gardens in social, commerce and search. Other channels that have sizeable user data/registered consumers will have a marginally stronger hand, but not nearly as strong as the platforms.

Adtech/Martech vendors

The change will positively effect vendors that are clamouring to design, market and sell the latest technology suite and attendant three-letter acronym. 


Without tracking and granular analytics, marketers will be forced to review their strategies, increasingly focusing on building top-funnel acquisition and brand building rather than aggressive remarketing and follow-me everywhere ads.

CRM and owned audiences

Registrations and utilising every single available data stream will become, quite rightly, the norm. Direct communication, bypassing the platforms, will become the single largest potential for marketers in an anonymous world.


Media owners

This is those in particular who relied on user data to package and sell their readers in Google and Facebooks marketplace. Unless there is a concerted effort to form login, partnerships providing a scaled audience the media owners will again be forced to accept lower prices.


Despite the long lead time it has given itself, the business is under significant regulatory pressure with competition complaints about market dominance being registered across the world. This is going to be a tricky time for them and could lead to some messy commercial outcomes.

Digital analytics

The software is going to see a large drop in accuracy and granularity. For years, business owners have relied on the insights provided by user data and behavioural tracking, but in an anonymous world, this changes and we can expect to see a lot more 'sample' data than the granularity we have come to expect.

Overall, these changes are overdue. The pendulum in digital marketing and user experience has swung all the way from creepy to contextually relevant; this is the impact of the broader market pushing back. We should enjoy while it lasts before the pendulum swings back again as it inevitably will.

For more information, visit www.dydx.digital.