Key Points

  • Why is this important? Stricter data privacy regulations and the demise of third-party cookies pose significant challenges to online audience identification and targeted advertising.
  • How greatly does data privacy impact digital advertising? New, more strict privacy regulations are causing a shift towards contextual advertising, making ROI measurement increasingly complex and raising a greater risk of ad waste.
  • What are some unique solutions? Despite the challenges, new opportunities are arising, particularly with consent management, data segmentation, and hashed email solutions.

Welcome to the world of digital advertising, where data security is the talk of the town and privacy laws are the new sheriff, bringing the Wild West of personal information to order.


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In the new digital gold rush, brands could merrily pan the river with the help of third-party cookies, plucking out gleaming nuggets of user data. Now, those cookies have crumbled, and brands are left squinting at the river, wondering how they'll find their gold.

The shifting environment is certainly a cause for concern — but not one without opportunity.

Advertisers, publishers, and tech providers alike are about to dive headfirst into this new era of data privacy in digital advertising. 

From the challenges presented by COPPA regulations and state-by-state privacy laws to the future of audience targeting, we're here to give you the lay of the land.

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Understanding Data Privacy Regulations

Buckle up, millennials. To understand modern data privacy regulations, we need to take a quick trip back to the late 90s.

While many people were eyeballing the coming millennium with either excitement or Y2K fervor, a piece of legislation intended to protect children online, specifically those aged 13 and under, was laying the groundwork for the future of data privacy laws.

We’re talking about the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, also known as COPPA. 

This piece of legislation was monumental in protecting children online — particularly their personal data. Sites primarily catering to audiences aged 13 and under must ensure compliance with the rules of COPPA, refraining from collecting any data or personally identifiable information (PII).

But COPPA was just the beginning. COPPA 2.0 shifts the age bracket up to 18 years.

This, of course, brings a whole new set of challenges to the world of digital advertising, one of which is how to verify parental consent for the masses, which, as we know, isn’t exactly scalable.

Watch "The Arrival of COPPA 2.0 & Threats to Online Advertising" below to learn more about COPPA 2.0. 



COPPA is just one piece of legislation in a web of interweaving data privacy regulation. Other notable ones include:

For small to medium-sized businesses, ensuring compliance with every single data privacy law can feel like spinning plates. 

Global scaling doesn't make things any easier. Different data protection laws in different regions can be a daunting hurdle for any business trying to spread its wings globally. 

There’s also the elephant in the room: the public’s perception of data privacy.

Misconceptions about how publishers and app developers handle private, personal data can lead to all kinds of issues:

  • Targeting inaccuracies
  • Wasted ad spend
  • Ineffective ad campaigns

…All of which are an advertiser's nightmare.

With all the complexity around data privacy regulations and a sour taste in the mouths of your average Internet user, how does this environment affect digital advertising?

The Impact on Digital Advertising

Digital advertising is going through a seismic shift.

The tightening grip of data privacy regulations, especially with the advent of COPPA 2.0, means that our digital world looks more and more like a vast, COPPA-fied terrain.

When the hammer finally strikes, we’ll see a surge in contextual advertising — ads that target the content of the page, not the user’s personal information.

Moreover, agencies and holding companies that have poured millions, if not billions, into developing complex data strategies will find themselves on shaky ground. These upcoming data privacy laws throw a wrench into their well-oiled advertising machinery, and the threat of wasted ads looms large.

Add to that the impending demise of cookies. In a world where cookies are quickly becoming crumbles of the past, tracking conversions and attributions is like squeezing water from a stone.

The direct, neat ties between ads and sales are getting fuzzier, complicating the measurement of ad effectiveness. With difficulties in attribution marketing, return on investment (ROI) might just take a nosedive.

This paradigm shift in digital advertising is inevitable, so buckle up.

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Finding Opportunities Among Data-Driven Challenges

Okay, enough of the doom and gloom. It’s time for the solutions. 

As the industry navigates the turbulence of every data privacy regulation, each innovative Tony Stark-type in the room is hyper-focused on finding innovative, safe, yet influential, and easy ways to connect with their target audience.

It’s time to reimagine our strategies and look far beyond the age-old cookie dependencies. 

Here are a few key ways that’s happening:

  • Consent management: Businesses must comply with privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA, but there's more to it than just ticking off legal boxes. By managing consent effectively, you can capture user data (with their permission, of course), leading to well-targeted campaigns and big paydays from advertisers.
  • Industry data segmentation: Some ad tech providers, like Playwire, offer custom pre-built segments crafted from valuable, exclusive first-party data. These help campaigns generate out-of-this-world results.
  • Hashed email: Email hashing is an innovative solution to the audience identification problem. It takes individual email addresses and turns them into a secure 32-digit encrypted code, allowing publishers to track users across platforms and channels without sacrificing their privacy. Check out Playwire’s Hashed Email API and what makes it so unique.

When you can effectively manage consent and have more control over data collection, you strengthen the relationship between brands and their audiences. Thus, all these tools and strategies present key opportunities to unlock growth in this new era of data privacy.

Mastering Data Privacy for Digital Advertising

The world of digital advertising changes constantly. While this current era of shifting data privacy regulations is certainly one reshaping how both publishers and advertisers must navigate the digital ecosystem, it’s not the end — far from it.

In this new landscape, it's critical to ally with an ad tech platform that not only foresees these changes but adapts swiftly to safeguard your revenue streams. Yes, we’re talking about someone like Playwire.

To further explore how to amplify your ad revenue, even in a world without cookies and evolving data privacy laws, get in touch with our team of experienced ad tech professionals. Connect with the team today.

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