The privacy landscape across APAC is changing, driven largely by people’s increasing concerns about how their information is collected and used online. Regulatory developments are also shaping the evolution, and online platforms are responding, in turn, with policy changes. These shifts are impacting how publishers and app developers monetize their content by selling ads, raising the question of whether they are responding quickly enough.
What we’ve found in a recent study with Deloitte, which surveyed some 90 publishers and app developers across 14 markets, is that those who invest in first-party data and are privacy ready before their peers can enjoy first-mover benefits such as customer trust, and see growth in users and ad sales.
Our study examines why some publishers view the privacy changes as an opportunity to differentiate, and why others are still taking a wait-and-see approach. We also examine how they can make the best of evolving privacy changes early on. The key: rethinking APAC’s privacy evolution as an opportunity for them to build customer trust and grow their business.
Privacy’s push and pull on APAC’s advertising ecosystem
Privacy changes occurring globally are already placing pressure on the way publishers in APAC collect and use people’s information. These changes include the phasing out of third-party cookies on some browsers, the introduction of data-sharing opt-ins on platforms, and changes to mobile ad IDs. Indeed, 70% of those surveyed said their ad revenues have been impacted by these factors, with more than a third reporting a drop of at least 25%.1
Nevertheless, APAC publishers are optimistic, on the whole, about the future of privacy and advertising; more than two-thirds of those surveyed view these privacy changes as either long overdue or coming at the right time in APAC. Close to 70% of respondents also maintain that even as privacy regulations increase and mature in the region, and possibly affect ad revenue, digital advertising will remain at least as attractive a monetization approach as it is today.2
Still, some publishers are choosing a wait-and-see approach toward privacy readiness. The reasons vary based on each player’s willingness to embrace first-party data privacy solutions, and their ability to invest ahead of the curve. But common themes include concerns about committing to a way forward amid uncertainty, a lack of regulatory impetus in local markets, and finding the right talent and resources to deliver results.
However, given that being privacy ready in APAC is not a matter of “if” but “when,” publishers who invest in privacy now could enjoy first-mover benefits, including growth in customer trust and ad sales. Investing now also helps them get ready to seize business opportunities that present themselves as privacy changes take shape in the region.
The journey toward privacy readiness can take years, so publishers should act now
The transformation will require commitment, but embracing it is a wise choice, especially when publishers rethink privacy readiness as an opportunity to build customer trust and grow their business. With this shift in mindset, they can find the momentum they need to get started on their privacy journey.
Rethink privacy readiness as an opportunity to build customer trust
Safeguarding consumer privacy is a way for publishers to gain customer trust and to grow and retain users. This can be done by being transparent and clear about why they are seeking consent from users to share their information and, importantly, providing them with compelling value in exchange.
A leading Indonesian game developer, for instance, used consented first-party data to gain a deeper understanding of its users and improve customer loyalty.
In exchange for cashless in-game currency, it asked users to share information about their gaming habits, and their views on topics beyond gaming to get a better sense of their lifestyles and preferences.
The game developer also sought users’ feedback on product updates and new features before launches to meet the needs of its core audience, make them feel valued, and develop a lasting relationship.
Rethink privacy readiness as an opportunity to connect with advertisers
Another way for publishers to embrace privacy readiness is to view it as a way to grow their business with advertisers. Indeed, with the ongoing shift from third-party cookies to privacy-safe alternatives, publishers have to find new privacy-safe ad sales solutions to connect their audiences with advertisers.
There are many privacy-safe ad sales solutions and tools for publishers to choose from, including encrypted first-party identifiers that increase the amount of data available to ad buyers, and signals that publishers can use to self-declare the site content and audiences that they've defined. The choice will depend on each player’s needs and context, and a strategic approach would be to focus on a few key ad solutions and optimize them fully.
The ongoing evolution of the privacy landscape across APAC presents a critical opportunity for publishers to adopt solutions that will prepare them for a privacy-centric era, while mitigating any possible revenue loss. And with the journey toward privacy readiness expected to take five years or more, publishers need to act now to avoid being left behind.