New Privacy Controls are Changing the Digital Advertising Landscape

Melody Wendt

Digital media privacy controls affecting hotels

How will this affect your hotel’s digital media strategy? 

By: Scott Falconer, EVP Media Solutions, Hospitality, Amadeus

Before we dive in, be sure to visit our ultimate guide to hotel marketing to access an all-encompassing rundown of hotel marketing trends, data points, and insights.

Recent announcements from Google and Apple surrounding data collection and user tracking have caught the attention of the media world. For more than a decade, advertisers have been relying on cookies and other web tracking methods for targeting, retargeting, and display advertising.

However, new efforts to control the collection of data by websites and applications, while welcomed by privacy campaigners, have challenged some of the fundamentals of online advertising and opened opportunities to define new approaches for targeted advertising. So, moving forward, how will digital advertisers continue to create powerful, personalized ads based on user’s interests? To understand the impact, let’s examine how we got here.

As both hoteliers and consumers increasingly adopt digital technology as part of everyday transactions, they are also recognizing the importance of being transparent about the data collected and ensuring that data is adequately protected to meet consumers’ expectations. At the same time, new global regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the US, are imposing transparency and data security standards to be met and have the ability to levy large fines on those who do not comply.

Fortunately, with change comes innovation, and companies like Amadeus are already pursuing new methods to replace tracking cookies without sacrificing highly targeted advertising campaigns to engage customers.

Clarifying: First-Party vs. Third-Party Cookies

Cookies are effectively files of data stored on users’ browsers when they visit a site which identify them and provide useful insights into search queries, browser history, and shopping patterns. The main difference between first-party cookies and third-party cookies is that the former is directly generated by the website visited by the user and viewed only by the group that owns that website. Third-party cookies are generated by a party other than the website the user is currently visiting, such as news or shopping sites, and stored in the browser to follow online behavior across the internet that can be used in analytics and advertising campaigns. The third-party cookie is what we expect to see less in the future due to privacy concerns.

Impending Paradigm Shifts in Web Tracking

The new privacy-related trends are making companies all over the world change their tracking mechanisms. Apple’s Safari was the first browser to enable third-party cookie blocking back in 2015 and is continuously making progress in this area with new releases. Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) was the first of the new releases. It limits tracking while still enabling websites to function normally and purges the data after 30 days. Apple is also releasing its next iOS 14.5 update for the iPhone, which will enable users to opt out of being tracked through apps. This may impact digital advertising for iOS users. Apple is also requesting advertisers to verify web domains with associated businesses. While this is an Apple change, it will impact the way advertisers create campaigns on apps like Facebook and Instagram. Amadeus is addressing this change by updating existing media campaigns ahead of the new iOS release.

Google recently announced that it will block third-party cookies as a default in its Chrome browser in 2022. To do so, it will substitute the current tracking technology from its Privacy Sandbox. This change will create a new way to reach people with relevant ads while keeping a person’s web history private, thanks – in great part – to an advanced tracking technology called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC).

What this Means for Online Advertising

We recognize there will be some changes to the way digital marketing has historically operated including:

  • Limitations in using niche targeting methods based on browser history behavior.
  • More options to opt out of sharing information online.
  • Restrictions on device identifiers to reach consumers.
  • Fewer opportunities for “retargeting” — advertising that follows your audience throughout their web experiences.

What Amadeus is Doing

At Amadeus, we are constantly innovating to match our technology solutions with evolving industry standards and market or consumer trends.   We recognized these market challenges emerging early and have been working closely with our partners and their engineering teams to find alternatives to continue to build innovative and high-performance media campaigns for our clients.

There is no single solution that has been accepted by the digital industry to reduce dependency on third-party cookies, but just like all marketing strategies, multiple initiatives together will make future digital advertising campaigns whole. As part of our evolving digital advertising initiatives, our media team is working to achieve the following, while complying with regulatory requirements and data privacy legislation:

  • Collaborate with our premier partners to be at the forefront of adopting the best solutions in the changing ecosystem like Google Privacy Sandbox, FLoC, and FLEDGE.
  • Build more contextual targeting solutions like ad placements on websites with relevant niche content, such as luxury travel blogs, to be able to reach the right audiences through first-party data insights.
  • Transition existing media campaigns to be compliant with new device operating system updates like the iOS 14.5 ahead of launch, in conjunction with our key partners.
  • Help our customers maximize campaign performance by utilizing other Amadeus products like the Guest Management Solutions (GMS), for premier data management, campaign targeting, and audience modeling. GMS is first-party data that guests are opting into, which can be integrated into a hotel’s online media strategy.
  • Ensure digital media campaigns are adjusted to durable tagging methodologies using universal tags to follow touchpoints across the online journey.
  • Implement universal identity solutions, Mobile Advertising IDs, and first-party identifiers to create a multi-identity Segmentation Engine that keeps up current advertising activities.

What Does This Mean for 2021 Digital Media Campaigns?

Firstly, it is important to note that the changes on Google Chrome for third-party cookies will not happen until 2022, so they will not have any impact on campaigns running in 2021.

Apple’s iOS 14.5 actions, however, will happen soon and we are taking the necessary actions to minimize disruptions to app advertising campaigns. With the help of the Facebook team, we are assisting clients in verifying their domain on Facebook and implementing any technical changes that may be needed to be compliant with this new update.

Secure and Transparent Solutions

At Amadeus, it is of the utmost importance that we provide secure solutions that enable our customers to comply with evolving market requirements while at the same time providing the best performance-focused media strategies that will be crucial to succeeding in the evolving online ad ecosystem. Amadeus will continue to follow privacy by design and by default principles in shaping the next generation of media solutions for our hotel customers. We value the trust our clients have put in us to guide them through this evolving landscape and our relationships with digital platforms will help us further support our hotel partners around the globe.

Stay tuned: As important changes in this area occur, we will keep you updated. Click here to learn more about Amadeus Media solutions.