This post explains how publishers can make use of their legally obtained consent and their own insight to increase the value of the recommendations they get from Strossle. We believe this is a much better approach to privacy and the use of data than Google's privacy sandbox, and that it alleviates the concerns on this subject as voiced by the European Newspaper Publishers Association (ENPA)
The foundation of Strossle business model is that we create value through contextual targeting. A lot of our energy goes into making this foundation as high and robust as we can. This applies to technology development, marketing, sales, self service integrations and so on.
No matter how good we are at our job, there is always the possibility to do better.
We believe publishers are in the best position to build relationships based on trust with their readers. We believe readers will likely give them consent to use data to deliver and improve their services and that the publisher needs to control this process on their own real estate. The strategy of traditional adtech (and Google) is to have access to publishers user data and build profiles across multiple properties. That approach is at the core of digital advertising’s negative externalities and precisely what we in Strossle work to avoid. Instead, we propose that publishers hold and guard the user data (PII) while only providing data to partners like Strossle to be used “on the fly” i.e. for a specific purpose, and without access to store or process further. This will limit the risk of data breaches and unwarranted distribution, while sustaining a valuable and meaningful position in the ecosystem for publishers in the long run.
How Context drives value for publishers
For a given pageview, Strossle will already know about the context of the article, say content about cars, on a mobile terminal and an approximate location. Without further information, we will recommend content based on these data points to maximise value for the publisher. If however the publisher in addition shares information derived from the reading history or stored interest profile, for example that the reader is also interested in Business and Finance, that information will be used by Strossle to further increase the probability of a valuable outcome. The data will impact the editorial and commercial recommendations alike, but remains stored and controlled by the publisher in their own data management platform.
The problem with creating interest profiles, from a privacy and data point of view, is not necessarily the conclusion or insight in and of itself, but that the way you build that profile represents a consumer history that can act as a fingerprint to identify said consumer and that “bots” are stalking users across all properties they consume. With the approach we suggest, readers and publishers can build a relationship where the reader trust the publisher to use their data and the insight in a sensible way - much like we trust them to serve us timely, relevant and factual information we need as citizens. We already trust the media to be a cornerstone in our democracies and so we should be able to also trust them to handle our user data with the respect and integrity it deserves.
To make it absolutely clear that Strossle is privacy safe, we are only able to receive and utilize information about interest and intent, not demographic or Personally Identifiable Information (PII) data of any kind and no retargeting data, obviously.
The future is arching towards increased digital Privacy
Legislation and technologies propell us towards a more privacy safe future. On this journey, Strossle will steadily improve the ability to leverage interest and context to further increase value creation for our publisher partners.
This partnership incentivises publishers to make available insight that we can utilise for the common good. It enhances the user experience for readers through more relevant and engaging recommendations be they editorial or commercial. It increases the value of the publisher's content and the outcomes for our advertisers. As a networked platform Strossle learns how interest expressed through standardised taxonomy can supplement and increase the value of context to increase reader engagement and advertisers outcomes without relating to PII at all.
If you are a publisher, getting started with Enhanced context is reasonably straightforward. We can receive a suitable subset of the data specified in IABs Audience Taxonomy and they can be applied on both site and page level depending on your preference and capabilities.
In Strossle, we have a long term ambition to fix what we feel is broken in the ad ecosystem. This is one initiative, and by offering tangible value based on non-PII data, we hope to help move the ecosystem in the right direction. The media is after all the 4th estate and we all need it to act the part.
Please get in touch if you want to know more!