In the hyper-paced world of digital marketing and analytics, marketers are often hard pressed to keep up with the constantly changing news of the day. Between planning, executing and optimizing campaigns who has time to dig through the news to find relevant industry updates?

Seeing that this is an issue for most of our clients, we often cut through the noise and deliver updates on the most impactful trends in digital marketing and analytics. Now we’ve decided to open these insights up to everyone by publishing a weekly roundup of the most important news.

Here’s what our team of digital marketing and analytics experts are keeping track of this week.

  1. Facebook Opens Up Brand Safety Partnerships: Facebook has long been in beta with brand safety vendors DoubleVerify and OpenSlate to help brands ensure their content is being represented responsibly. Last week, Facebook opened the program to all brands. This brings Facebook up to parity with most other publishers. However, it may also create an extra bit of trust that Facebook desperately needs at this point with both advertisers and consumers alike.
  2. Qlik Acquires CrunchBot for Conversation Analytics UI: There always seems to be news coming out regarding chatbots and natural language processing (NLP), regardless of how enthusiastic consumers actually are about the platforms. Qlik’s new acquisition of CrunchBot continues the trend of interesting news with a questionable amount of utility for end users. The acquisition is meant to create a platform where users can make analytics queries through chat/voice UI like Slack or Alexa. The concept is certainly more convenient for many users than using code like SQL to retrieve data. However, given the current accuracy with most chatbots and voice assistants, data queries seem like a tall task.
  3. Confluent Raises $125mm to Further Event Streaming: Real-time event processing vendor, Confluent, raised a staggering $125mm to further build out its platform. Event processing consists of tracking user actions in real-time and making them available for other systems to act on. For example, a user’s action may trigger an alert or an update to a predictive model. This investment highlights the importance not only of data itself, but also how quickly that data becomes available.
  4. Salesforce Bolsters Datorama’s CDP Capabilities: There was some exciting news in the world of Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) last year when CRM giant, Salesforce, purchased Datorama. It seems that Datorama has taken that investment and quickly reinvested it into enhanced features. Last week it was announced that users would now have access to a slew of new features around analytics and activation. We see CDPs as a marketer’s best tool yet to attain the coveted ‘single view of the customer’ so its exciting the see the space generally, and Datorama specifically, continue to evolve.

Those are the four pieces of news we are watching closely this week. Watch this space weekly as we’ll continue to keep you updated on digital marketing and analytics trends.


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On January 21st, 2019 the French data protection authority CNIL (the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés) announced a €50 million fine against Google for “lack of transparency, inadequate information and lack of valid consent regarding the ads personalization.”

Read the original release from CNIL in English here.

The fine stems from complaints originally submitted in May 2018 shortly after the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect. While not the first fine levied, it’s the largest to date and the first levelled against a major player like Google. The complaints came from two organizations – None Of Your Business (“NOYB”) – headed up by Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, and La Quadrature du Net (“LQDN”).

While Google famously “does not sell user data”, and eliminated what little data sharing it did before GPDR, brands who use Google to advertise should be paying attention to how they respond to this enforcement action.  €50 million is a drop in the proverbial bucket for Google, but it’s also clear that regulatory authorities will not give the duopoly a free pass.

And this action against Google may be the first of many fines to come. While CNIL started investigating the matter on June 1st  2018, their online inspections did not occur until September 2018, and the announcement of the fine came yesterday – the complaint this fine is based on was one of the very first ones submitted under GDPR. NYOB has since submitted several GDPR complaints, including last week against Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Spotify and YouTube. CNIL itself received 3,767 complaints from May 2018 to October 2018 alone.

One key question is – how quickly will Google and other big platforms move towards full and real compliance? Once Google does comply, and consumers do have a clear and informed choice along with the ability to control their own data, will targeted advertising capabilities be severely compromised or will Google adapt with new strategies?

Privacy is an opportunity for brands, publishers and platforms – not just a compliance burden.

It’s already clear that brands can and should use new privacy legislation as an opportunity to focus on developing transparency and trust with their customers. Consumers will exchange data with brands they trust for the right value exchange, and consumer comfort levels are much higher with direct brand relationships versus third-party data sharing.

Even as companies like Apple are differentiating themselves on the basis of privacy, at the same time data-intensive advertising continues to increase in Europe. Strategies like direct buying from publishers that have developed consumer trust through privacy and excellent user experience are not only filling but exceeding any gap caused by the GDPR.

GDPR hasn’t caused the end of the digital advertising industry. The wave of privacy legislation we are experiencing now will have some losers and some winners – the big winners will be the brands, advertisers, publishers and platforms that seize this moment to change and innovate.


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Privacy and data protection regulations impact the work of every advertising, marketing and PR communications professional around the globe, and the focus on privacy by consumers and regulators continues to increase. W2O’s team is tracking the most important news and changes that directly influence our industry, including the latest on legislation, new privacy technology, enforcement actions, analysis and thought leadership in privacy and data protection.

Here’s the latest news we’re paying attention to right now. This week’s updates include updated ICO guidance on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), predictions for 2019 GDPR enforcement, and the California State Attorney General announcing public forums on the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has released new guidance specific to personal data

The guidance is intended to provide more details on the definitions of personal data, how pseudonymization and anonymization should be used, clarifications on online identifiers, further information on the meaning of “data which may relate to”, and several others points.

What this might mean for brands 

 The updated guidance does provide more clarification on some points, particularly for those data processors who use pseudonymization and anonymization as a method of compliance. Brands using these approaches when dealing with personal data should review the new guidance and take appropriate steps.

Observers predict 2019 GDPR enforcement will increase in momentum

With consumer complaints under GDPR increasing, including those from advocacy groups through the use of a collective redress mechanism in Article 80, analysts are predicting that 2019 will see a ramp up of enforcement and fines. France’s Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL) has already issued several warnings and fines, including a recent 250,000 Euro fine against Bouygues Telecom. Portugal’s supervisory authority also recently fined Centro Hospitalar Barreiro Montijo 400,000 euros.

What this might mean for brands 

While it appears regulators are giving most firms an opportunity to come into compliance, it is likely that the larger investigations which began in 2018 will reach their conclusions in 2019 and we will see more impactful actions by the data protection authorities. Regulators may also provide more clarity on the viability of consent mechanisms such as consent strings. Brands should pay close attention to these developments, and if they haven’t already done so – take action to become fully GDPR compliant.

California Attorney General announces public forums for CCPA

The California Attorney General announced six public forums across California on the CCPA, to provide “an initial opportunity for the public to participate…in the rulemaking process.” Hearings will take place during January and February, and written comments are also invited. Observers suggest that this early action may indicate that the attorney general intends to have rules for enforcement ready before the final July 1, 2020 deadline.

What this might mean for brands

Consumer rights group are already calling out what could in the future be considered violations of CCPA, including Google’s most recent Google+ security failure in November and Facebook’s sharing of private data. Brands who process the data of residents of California should be reviewing their data privacy protection programs now, as the legislation includes a 1-year lookback window and the attorney general may have regulations ready sooner rather than later.

* The opinions expressed in this post do not constitute or represent legal advice. No liability is accepted by the authors or W2O Group for any action taken or not taken based on the information or any associated communications.


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Analytics uplift organizations and brands. They provide a line of sight to things that otherwise cannot be seen. They provide a narrative that is better aligned with the marketplace because it reflects reality. Analytics balance arguments and raise assumptions. In 2019, leaders and managers face major challenges in steering their businesses to ensure growth and relevance. This business priority finds itself squarely in the performance target of communications and marketing executives.

For the healthcare industry, how should companies incorporate analytics into business advantage?

The key is recognizing analytics are just the engine that propel corporate change. The fuel is the insight that provides advantage. The data collection itself, while important, is only valuable when it’s mined for unique insights, behavior patterns, influencer ecosystems, opinion formation, process improvements, innovation trends, and information tendencies, etc. As healthcare leaders assess their strategic capability this year, there are four considerations that are meant to capture the Zen necessary to handle analysis and act on insights for enterprise excellence:

  1. What are you searching for? It might not be what you need. The great thing about analytics is uncovering new clues about the business and the market and important activities on education, unmet need, purchase, interest, engagement, advocacy, and information consumption. Honing your data accumulation approach to discover nuance in how you conduct business will raise the level of confidence and knowledge amongst your stakeholders.
  2. How many internal functions can be connected? Data and insights are the great equalizer inside organizations. They can also become a divisive force. Your analytics need to bring together multiple groups, providing a pathway to understanding and integrating planning and execution. Upfront discussions must involve a wide spectrum of key people with diverse responsibilities but a common goal to discern the relevance of the organization. As such, your analytics effort must capture a wide and deep range of data reflecting how and why stakeholders interact with the company to ensure a more consistent and sustainable result.
  3. What is the insight telling you not to do? The typical reaction to comprehending insights is to look at what the benefit is to the organization. However, viewing insights for what they signal not to do provides even more value in ending less effective practices.
  4. Can you create a different reality? Employing analytics to view aspects of the business currently driving differentiation, growth, costs reduction and innovation has the potential for an entirely new and different landscape. The insights from such analysis can generate better services, different infrastructures, new markets, greater engagement and optimal outcomes.

Analytics and the insights generated can be defined as Zen like because it keeps the organization in a constant state of becoming, learning, and sharing. Data drives the insights and the insights lead to deeper discovery into delivering for patients, physicians and healthcare stakeholders overall. As 2019 unfolds, organizations that commit to managing based on data, analysis, and insight improve the ability to connect in a more meaningful and relevant way and win in the marketplace increasing the business IQ exponentially.

Maybe it’s time to ask yourself, “What Don’t I Know?’

Jennifer


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Privacy and data protection regulations impact the work of every advertising, marketing and PR communications professional around the globe, and the focus on privacy by consumers and regulators continues to increase. W2O’s team is tracking the most important news and changes that directly influence our industry, including the latest on legislation, new privacy technology, enforcement actions, analysis and thought leadership in privacy and data protection.

Here’s the latest news we’re paying attention to right now. This week’s updates include a 60 Minutes news feature on GDPR, Dutch Regulators finding Microsoft GDPR violations, and new surveys indicating the rising importance of privacy protection for both consumers and marketers.

GDPR and the Marriott Mega-Breach

Last week Marriott revealed that a Starwood guest reservation system had been hacked in a breach going back to 2014, potentially exposing the personal data of 500 million people. It is not currently known ifMarriott reported the breach to EU data protection authorities within the 72hour maximum allowed by GDPR – but assuming that data of those based in the EUis included in the breach, Marriott could face a massive fine. That said, it is likely that any fine will depend on how quicklyMarriott acted and an investigation will likely take many months.

What this might mean for brands

Adding fuel to fire, this breach is already causing US senators to call for both data breach penalties and more robust privacy laws. Specific to GDPR, attention will be given specifically to “data protection by design” and “purpose and usage limitation” clauses. Expectations of data privacy will continue to rise, particularly for brands who hold very sensitive information such as passport data. Brands who hold personal data should expect further media and public attention, and be prepared with full data privacy programs.

Irish Data Protection Commissioner Investigates LinkedIn

A recent report published by Ireland’s Data ProtectionCommissioner (DPC) lists several investigations that have previously been widely known about, including Facebook and several others – and it also included an investigation that had not been previously reported detailingLinkedIn’s use of email addresses to target advertising. The DPC discovered that LinkedIn had obtained 18 million emails from non-members, and used these to advertise for new members on Facebook. The DPC indicated the complaint was ultimately resolved thanks to LinkedIn making several changes that stopped the use of the data in question – although it is not clear how LinkedIn obtained the email addresses.

It was also revealed in a resulting audit that LinkedIn was using algorithms to “suggest professional networks” for non-members in attempts to get more people to join. The DPC ordered LinkedIn to cease the “pre-compute” process and delete all personal data associated with it. Fines have not been issued, likely because the infractions mostly took place before GDPR came into effect.

What this might mean for brands

Brands should be conducting comprehensive audits of their data sources and uses as part of their overall GDPR programs. Particular attention is being paid by regulators to third party data usage for marketing, and documentation of the lawful basis of processing, and if needed consent, are key to ensuring compliance.

‘Consent String Fraud’ Worries Appear

Consent strings were first created by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Europe as a relatively easy method for tracking consent between various parts of the advertising technology ecosystem. These numeric strings act as a record of consent combined with vendor id numbers assigned by the IAB, and Google has their own version which is not interoperable with the IAB version. This record is then used by adtech to determine if personalized ads can be served or not with a simple 1/0,Yes/No verification.

Unfortunately, it’s relatively easy for vendors to either mistakenly or fraudulently change a 0 to a 1. Errors can and do occur when moving back and forth between the IAB and Google frameworks – which is a technical challenge to solve, and changing the value as part of an ad fraud scheme is also happening. It is currently unclear how regulatory authorities will react, and legitimate vendors are beginning to express their worries.

What this might mean for brands

With GDPR well established and California’s CCPA on the way, brands should be auditing their ad tech ecosystem to ensure their consent frameworks are compliant with all applicable legislation.


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This post was co-authored by Kevin Johnson, President of W2O marketeching 

“I keep saying that the sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians, and I’m not kidding.” — Hal Varian, Chief Economist, Google

Frankly, all of us at W2O are onboard with that observation.  It’s why we’ve hired more than 100 data scientists and analysts to help ensure that all our communications efforts are grounded in insights and analytics.  It is also why we had the pleasure of hosting PR colleagues as well as clients at our offices as part of the PR Council’s Executive Education series to discuss Harnessing an Analytics-Driven Approach to Fuel Optimal Targeting, Activation & Measurement.  The title captures the approach that is the core of who we are as an agency.

The fact is the abundance of data, and the progress and application of machine learning and AI, have allowed us as marketing and communication consultants to provide more tailored insights and in turn more customized strategic guidance to our clients on a real-time basis like never before. We now use data to identify specific audiences and those who have influence, the natural language these audiences use to communicate, the context in which they communicate in, and the channels where they most often get information and engage. At a time when companies are pushing the limits of innovation, fiercely competing for market share and working hard to grab customer attention in a distracted world, flipping the model to be truly audience-centric and one of influence vs., one-way communication is critical. Our session explored how data can be woven throughout the research, strategic and creative process and be applied to full omnichannel PESO activation.  Here are a few takeaways from our discussion

  • The age of data is here. Embrace it. Learn how to use it. Let it be your guide.
  • Findings are not insights. To get to actionable insights, you need the secret sauce that goes beyond the technology platform to include subject matter experts and strategists to analyze the data and a process that maps out a plan to move from data collection though insight generation.
  • Influencing the influencer is what PR has always been about. This explains why PR is at the center of the analytics revolution and how it has given communicators the ability to better target and measure than ever before.
  • Your corporate or brand story can be channel-agnostic. Data can help us to tailor content across paid, earned, shared and owned channels, including media buying and search, to maximize its impact.
  • Keywords are the first step in understanding what’s being said by your customers – but not the only step. Don’t stop at how keywords are being used.  Go beyond to look at how those influencers engage and behave through all their content … and can lead to new insights.
  • Data is everywhere – The key is bringing it all together for the most comprehensive picture.   Work in partnership with your other departments, data providers and agencies to pool as much data as you can and have access to in order to ensure you can have the most comprehensive view of a situation, audience or brand.  

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As a digital marketer responsible for planning, executing and optimizing campaigns you have a finite amount of “free” time. You are constantly trying to ensure that the objectives of your campaign are met, and you are delivering value to the business. Some days it probably feels like you have very little time to breathe, let alone think about the strategic direction of your organization.

So, when you see announcements or articles in the marketing trade press about news regarding digital analytics, marketing technology or advertising technology it’s likely impossible to keep up. Even more so because digital analytics and marketing technology are two of the fastest growing industries in marketing today. You probably would love to learn more about how these data and tools could be used to help further your business objectives, but there is simply no time.

That’s why our team of experts is releasing weekly recaps to keep you up to speed. Here’s what we’re watching this week.

  1. Instagram Attempts to Get Ahead of Inauthentic Activity: Instagram is releasing a new machine learning algorithm that hunts down accounts using third party services connected to inauthentic behavior. Inauthentic (fraudulent) behavior in the form of fake likes, shares, etc. is hardly unique to Instagram. However, Instagram’s simplified user experience has quickly gained popularity as other legacy social platform have gotten noisier. To preserve that experience, Instagram is not only releasing an algorithm to clean up behavior, but also publicizing it.
  2. Claritas Combines Segmentation with Attribution by Acquiring Barometric: Connecting the marketing funnel into a single platform has always been the desire for marketers. In today’s crowded tech landscape, vendors who used to specialize in one area of marketing are feeling more pressure to expand their offerings. So, it should be no surprise that segmentation and targeting vendor, Claritas, recently acquired attribution vendor, Barometric, to combine activation and measurement. With all deals like these, the synergy looks great on paper, but the devil is in the integration. We’ll be keeping a keen eye to see how Claritas progresses.
  3. Marketers Prioritize Integrations when Picking Platforms: Speaking of integrations, MarTech Today reported that marketers are consistently prioritizing integration with existing platforms when evaluating new vendors. This makes sense – what’s the value of a new vendor if they do not work with your existing technology? We see a lot of clients take this to mean that their options are limited to big cloud vendors, like Salesforce or Oracle, if they want an integrated stack. However, many smaller vendors have done a great job opening their platforms and connecting with others. At W2O we often help clients connect many different vendors to construct a full marketing stack.
  4. Ad ID Consortium Continue Momentum: As I’ve written about before, the Ad ID Consortium is on a mission to create better cross-platform identity resolution. This is especially important as cookie syncs become less and less effective. Getting all of these platforms to work together has not been easy; as a result, we’ve seen a number of public shakeups. However, the consortium just recently released news that a new proof of concept has been completed. Marketers will continue to stay optimistic as positive as news like this continues to slowly roll out. However, it seems the Ad ID Consortium is far from operational.

Those are the four pieces of news we are watching closely this week. Watch this space weekly as we’ll continue to keep you updated on digital analytics and marketing technology trends.


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The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in May of this year, and it has ushered in a new era of data privacy – granting consumers in Europe a whole new set of enforceable rights around their personal data, including the right to object, the right to be informed how their data will be used, the right to request a copy of their data, and the right to be forgotten (ie. right to erasure).

In the lead up to GDPR day, marketers and ad tech companies who rely on personal data were having nightmares. Never before have individuals had the absolute right to stop their personal data from being used for direct marketing, and never before have companies faced such huge fines for non-compliance – The main issue for companies that sell third-party data is that many have a difficult time meeting the notification, consent, opt-out and erasure requirements, and GDPR places the onus on the business using the data to verify that any third-party data processing is compliant.

Indeed, data brokers and ad-tech firms have become targets of GDPR. Oracle, Equifax, Acxiom, Quantcast, Criteo and Tapad have all recently received complaints. These complaints along with new responsibilities being on placed on businesses have combined to generate fears that digital advertising might grind to a halt. Rather than an overall slowdown though, there has actually been increasing digital advertising sales in the EU. That increase in digital advertising sales in the EU hasn’t been a universal increase, however. Advertisers are spending more money, but they are spending more money with the big three – Google, Facebook and Amazon.

What’s happening? Because of their size, because they are technically walled-gardens, and because consumers will not give up their Gmail and Facebook accounts so easily, marketers are assuming that by consolidating their ad spends with the giants they can remain in close contact with their audience(s), while doing so in a compliant way. These same marketers, like the New York Times’ Meredith Kopit Levien, are noting that any member of the big three (in her case, Google) provides services that historically required three or four advertising technology companies to do so before. GDPR is/was not an opportunity to shutter our marketing organizations and go home. It is/was an opportunity to drive scale, efficiency, and ensure we truly understand our audiences and how they behave.

The question is how? How can you drive efficiencies, scale and audience insights like what Meredith Kopit Levien is articulating in that article? We think there are at least five ways:

  1. Review your traditional segmentation model: How old are the insights you have on your audience(s)? Do you know what they like to do outside of buying your product, being a patient or searching for information on the latest cloud solution? Do you have a plan to proactively collect data on your audience(s) in a compliant way? One of the largely unspoken, yet incredibly important components of GDPR is that it has forced marketers to (finally) put the audience first. Without knowing who they truly are, there is no way your organization can put them first
  2. Review your customer journey: When was the last time you refreshed your customer journey? Was it several years ago as you created new channels in the wake of the social media explosion? Was it a couple of years ago when you launched a new product? Chances are good it’s out of date, which means you are wasting a considerable amount of money developing content and distributing it in places where your audiences are not.
  3. Review your current channel mix: You could certainly do this as part of the customer journey analysis, but it’s critical to understand where you are spending your marketing dollars, whether or not those channels are reaching the desired target audience(s) and whether or not the content is right for that particular channel. Importantly, does your current channel mix maximize your opportunity to deliver a return (ROI) to the business?
  4. Developing a first party data strategy: The latest CMO Survey from Deloitte, Duke University and the AMA shows that marketers will be relying a lot less on third party data over the coming years. It’s likely that’s a result of data privacy legislation, but regardless of the cause it’s important to consider how first party data collection will be done in a compliant way. Will you drive people to your website? Do you have a plan to capture email addresses (compliantly) in 2019? Without a clear first party data strategy – how you’ll collect it, where you’ll collect it from, how you’ll store it, how you’ll remain compliant, and how you’ll use it – chances are good your marketing program will be flying blind in 2019.
  5. Conducting a marketing technology assessment: When was the last time you took a hard look at your marketing technology stack to see whether it was efficient (you didn’t have duplication of capabilities), it drove scale and/or delivering you audience insights? The latest marketing technology landscape from Scott Brinker has over 6,000 tools on it (6,829 to be exact) so we understand if it’s impossible to keep up. Still, though, data privacy legislation like GDPR (or even CCPA) should force a proactive discussion about the tools you are currently using to execute marketing programs.

The end of the year is a great time to explore the above items in an attempt to ensure your marketing programs are as successful as possible in the coming year. The data privacy trend isn’t going to stop, so it’s time to recognize it as an opportunity and get into the game!

This blog was co-authored by Dan Linton, Managing Director of Analytics at W2O.


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As a digital marketer responsible for planning, executing and optimizing campaigns you have a finite amount of “free” time. You are constantly trying to ensure that the objectives of your campaign are met, and you are delivering value to the business. Some days it probably feels like you have very little time to breathe, let alone think about the strategic direction of your organization.

So, when you see announcements or articles in the marketing trade press about news regarding digital analytics, marketing technology or advertising technology it’s likely impossible to keep up. Even more so because digital analytics and marketing technology are two of the fastest growing industries in marketing today. You probably would love to learn more about how these data and tools could be used to help further your business objectives, but there is simply no time.

That’s why our team of experts is releasing weekly recaps to keep you up to speed. Here’s what we’re watching this week.

  1. Zendesk Open Source CRM: Because Salesforce has become the dominate CRM player, many marketers gloss over other vendors that could meet their needs. Each CRM is set up to serve different types of customers. That’s why it’s surprising that Zendesk is taking on Salesforce right in their wheelhouse, the enterprise open source CRM platform. The biggest differentiator for Zendesk is their ability to connect their existing expertise in service with the sales side of an organization.
  2. SAP Acquires Qualtrics: Cloud software company, SAP has been just as aggressive in acquiring new software as a service (SaaS) vendors as it’s cloud behemoth peers. Last week SAP showed no signs of slowing down as they scooped up research and survey tool, Qualtrics. The biggest surprise was the massive price tag at $8bn in cash. This acquisition shows two things 1) cloud vendors are doubling down on growth through acquisition and we can expect more consolidation to come and 2) in a world with disappearing cookies and tightening data restrictions, insight into consumer behavior and preferences is become more valuable than ever.
  3. Screen6 Launches idSync and Ditches Cookies: Cross-device identity graph provider, Screen6, announced a new product it has named idSync. idSync is meant to identify users across multiple platforms, include over-the-top TV. This follows a strong trend in the industry to move away from cookie syncing and build identity-graphs that can track consenting users via other means. At W2O we are seeing these identity-graphs popping up all over the place. However, they are not all created equal so it’s important to do a thorough evaluation before choosing a vendor.

Those are the three pieces of news we are watching closely this week. Watch this space weekly as we’ll continue to keep you updated on digital analytics and marketing technology trends.


If you’re interested in learning about W2O, check out our About and Analytics pages.

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