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Privacy considerations for online advertising: a stakeholder’s perspective to programmatic advertising

Dylan A. Cooper (Martin V. Smith School of Business and Economics, California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, California, USA)
Taylan Yalcin (Martin V. Smith School of Business and Economics, California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, California, USA)
Cristina Nistor (Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University, Orange, California, USA)
Matthew Macrini (Martin V. Smith School of Business and Economics, California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, California, USA)
Ekin Pehlivan (Martin V. Smith School of Business and Economics, California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, California, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 26 January 2022

Issue publication date: 7 February 2023

2907

Abstract

Purpose

Privacy considerations have become a topic with increasing interest from academics, industry leaders and regulators. In response to consumers’ privacy concerns, Google announced in 2020 that Chrome would stop supporting third-party cookies in the near future. At the same time, advertising technology companies are developing alternative solutions for online targeting and consumer privacy controls. This paper aims to explore privacy considerations related to online tracking and targeting methods used for programmatic advertising (i.e. third-party cookies, Privacy Sandbox, Unified ID 2.0) for a variety of stakeholders: consumers, AdTech platforms, advertisers and publishers.

Design/methodology/approach

This study analyzes the topic of internet user privacy concerns, through a multi-pronged approach: industry conversations to collect information, a comprehensive review of trade publications and extensive empirical analysis. This study uses two methods to collect data on consumer preferences for privacy controls: a survey of a representative sample of US consumers and field data from conversations on web-forums created by tech professionals.

Findings

The results suggest that there are four main segments in the US internet user population. The first segment, consisting of 26% of internet users, is driven by a strong preference for relevant ads and includes consumers who accept the premises of both Privacy Sandbox and Unified ID (UID) 2.0. The second segment (26%) includes consumers who are ambivalent about both sets of premises. The third segment (34%) is driven by a need for relevant ads and a strong desire to prevent advertisers from aggressively collecting data, with consumers who accept the premises of Privacy Sandbox but reject the premises of UID 2.0. The fourth segment (15% of consumers) rejected both sets of premises about privacy control. Text analysis results suggest that the conversation around UID 2.0 is still nascent. Google Sandbox associations seem nominally positive, with sarcasm being an important factor in the sentiment analysis results.

Originality/value

The value of this paper lies in its multi-method examination of online privacy concerns in light of the recent regulatory legislation (i.e. General Data Protection Regulation and California Consumer Privacy Act) and changes for third-party cookies in browsers such as Firefox, Safari and Chrome. Two alternatives proposed to replace third-party cookies (Privacy Sandbox and Unified ID 2.0) are in the proposal and prototype stage. The elimination of third-party cookies will affect stakeholders, including different types of players in the AdTech industry and internet users. This paper analyzes how two alternative proposals for privacy control align with the interests of several stakeholders.

Keywords

Citation

Cooper, D.A., Yalcin, T., Nistor, C., Macrini, M. and Pehlivan, E. (2023), "Privacy considerations for online advertising: a stakeholder’s perspective to programmatic advertising", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 40 No. 2, pp. 235-247. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-04-2021-4577

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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