Aussie consumers want more control over their online, personal data

April 14, 2021
Article

As UID 2.0 enters beta testing in Australia, a leading publisher offers insights into the benefits of the privacy-conscious identity solution

New research from Down Under finds that 8 in 10 Aussies do not feel in control of their online, personal data. The research — conducted by The Trade Desk and YouGov — shows that consumer anxiety is centered on the way their data is being collected. Furthermore, 7 out of 10 respondents say the information they get on how their data will be used is unclear.

These consumer concerns  — the highest in the Asia Pacific region — present a challenge and an opportunity for the ad industry to be more transparent about how that data will be used in the future, especially with the deprecation of third-party cookies. According to the research, 85 percent of consumers say they’re open to learning more about how their personal data gets used, with the majority saying they’re comfortable with their data being used for advertising when they’re in control of how it’s deployed.

This research reaffirms what many in the ad industry already recognize: the time is right for a more privacy-conscious identity solution that puts the consumer in the driver’s seat. “Today’s consumers don’t just hope for personalization from digital content, they expect it,” says Jonathan Mandel, the head of streaming sales and operations for Southern Cross Austereo (SCA), one of Australia’s leading media companies reaching more than 95 percent of the Australian population through its radio, television and digital assets.

In an exclusive interview with The Current, Mandel explains why the company signed up to Unified ID 2.0, an interoperable, open-source identity solution, which this week enters beta testing in Australia. Mandel says UID 2.0 could not come at a better time for the industry.

Why did the SCA sign on to UID 2.0?

At SCA we recently launched LiSTNR, a new curated audio app that gives audiences a single new destination for live radio, podcasts, music, and news. As a free app, LiSTNR is designed to give audiences a personalized audio experience and provide brands with world-class data-driven and contextually led audio advertising which relies on a deep understanding of audiences and a stable approach to identity across devices.

The imminent changes to cookies, layered with the recently announced iOS 14.5 updates to device ID collection, creates a critical situation for publishers and advertisers alike, directly limiting the ability to target and measure.

An industry solution like UID 2.0 is exciting and welcomed as it’s crucial to future-proofing not only our LiSTNR product but our industry as a whole, and further levels the playing field in digital advertising.

What is it about UID 2.0 that answers some of these privacy concerns?

Unified ID is attractive to publishers firstly as it’s an open-source and independent industry solution. This promotes collaboration and removes barriers for publishers and brands that can often arise in the programmatic space from creating multiple similar products.

Importantly it will increase transparency and control for consumers who are becoming increasingly more skeptical and conscious of the use of their data across the internet. UID surfaces a new level of control for the user and invites them into the conversation, while at the same time future proofs data-driven marketing, measurement, and attribution for brands and publishers which underpins the economics of content creation across the internet.

How critical is it that we seize this moment to build trust around new solutions like this one?

I think the upcoming change is likely to have a greater impact than most realize. Cookies and device IDs have been at the center of digital marketing for almost 20 years, they’re equivalent to the uniform worn by a sports team - they tell us who to pass the digital ball to!

At SCA we continuously invest in products & solutions that protect our ability to deliver powerful outcomes for brands and incredible experiences for audiences. So it’s critical to have a well-defined strategy for how you’re going to navigate one of the biggest changes to our industry. UID2.0 is an important part of that for us and our future with LiSTNR.

Ultimately, we expect a number of approaches to emerge as third-party cookies and other online identifiers erode. We have a looming deadline, so it’s encouraging to see the industry coming together to work on solutions like UID 2.0 that create a tangible path forward and we’re excited to support it.

In turn, how will this new common currency help drive better ad revenue for broadcasters and publishers?

For over a century, there’s been a mutual understanding between broadcasters, publishers & consumers that free content comes with a value exchange that is ultimately funded by brands. Advertisers pay publishers to deliver a meaningful message to consumers and drive business outcomes. The better we understand our audience the more effective we are in achieving that, and the more brands are willing to invest.

Today’s consumers don’t just hope for personalization from digital content, they expect it. Targeted & personalized advertising is central to maximizing the value of our inventory, and premium user experiences which enables us to keep investing in content that entertains people right around the country at a local & hyper-local level.

A recent study we commissioned in Australia suggested that 8 out of 10 consumers don’t feel in control of their online personal data. To what extent is this a call to action for broadcasters and publishers to find a better identity solution?

Unfortunately, I’m not entirely surprised by that figure. As an industry, we need to do a better job of educating the audience of the value exchange presented for targeted and personalized advertising. The critical component here is building trust in data privacy from premium and content providers.

Paramount to any future identity solution is greater transparency of the value exchange equation. What information is being collected? How will it be used for both personalized content AND advertising? The call to action is clear, education and accessible information will lead to progress.