More than two-thirds of marketers plan to use influencer marketing in 2021 due to these privacy changes. Brands are in an arms race mobilising their performance marketing with influencers and affiliates, and affirming their marketing platforms are powered by first party data.

Third party cookies are out, user privacy is in

The Apple privacy update introduces new IDFA (iOS Advertising Device ID) opt-in requirements, which now need users to provide explicit consent to allow third-party tracking in apps. Since very few people are likely to give this consent, the IDFA is essentially no longer a reliable identifier of users. When Apple releases the iOS 14.5 software update soon, user-level data collection will fundamentally change on iPhones. Users will have to Opt IN to allow data collection, whereas historically users have had to Opt OUT of data collection. Most advertising will be impacted less than social media advertising.

Similar to Apple’s focus on privacy, Google Chrome will phase out support for third party cookies in early 2022 affecting two main areas: audience targeting and measurement (conversion tracking). All ad types will be impacted in terms of measurement, and there is a possibility that reported conversions from your ads will decline, even with no change in actual conversions.

Display advertising on the web will be affected the most in terms of targeting, but ad platforms like Google are already working on minimising this effect by replacing user-level identifiers with aggregated cohort data powered by privacy-preserving API’s. Basically, Google will target groups of people based on machine learning as opposed to targeting individuals based on user- specific tracking.

Influencer and affiliate marketing built on first-party data

Third-party cookies have been becoming increasingly unreliable and are now at increasing risk of being blacklisted. Here’s the good news: if you’re already using first-party tracking to attribute affiliate sales, these updates won’t impact your brand.

Some performance marketing platforms don’t rely on third-party cookies, so if you use an influencer or affiliate marketing platform built on first-party tracking and measurement, you’re all set. The tracking technology should be privacy compliant, while creating best-in-class attribution for brand and performance marketers. All influencers and affiliates should remain private to the affiliate marketing program and each affiliate should receive their own performance dashboard with relevant information and KPI’s like conversion triggers, payment information, and brand creatives.

A first-party data approach to tracking should also be secure, and since it acts as a creator and processor of your program data, and not share any data with third parties without your approval. This gives you and your brand full control over your tracking data and performance marketing programs. With only 5% of US based users giving permission to track them, first party data is the most valuable data a brand can collect about its audience, enabled by first party data marketing platforms.