Fingerprinting Needs To Die; Why We Are Bullish On The Open Web; Tasty Beverages At Cannes
This is the FirstPartyCapital weekly newsletter. It covers news and updates about the FirstPartyCapital fund and its portfolio companies.
This edition of the FirstPartyCapital newsletter is a little later than usual - so apologies to our avid 1700+ subscribers It’s been a crazy week of investing (more on that soon) and event preparation for ATS London and Cannes. Thanks for your patience, readers. And here is your roundup…
Fingerprinting just delaying the inevitable for the industry
There was intense speculation this week that Apple might make a move against the practice of “fingerprinting”. It did not happen in the end.
Tracking and profiling users via unconsented signals remains a go-to for ad tech. In his recent post Eric Seufert discusses this issue and why it’s effectively still a free-for-all for ad tech companies:
My sense at the time was that Apple sent an unambiguous message to the mobile ad tech category that fingerprinting would not be tolerated once ATT was rolled out. But because much of the ad tech ecosystem faced an existential threat with ATT, those companies had no choice but to continue the practice of fingerprinting, and Apple faced a “you can’t fire all of us” dilemma. This is all to say: as a policy stipulation, and without a direct mechanism for prevention beyond threats, ATT’s prohibition of fingerprinting is almost impossible to enforce.
Ultimately, fingerprinting is in the exit lounge. Apple is producitising heavily around user privacy. A lot of these new features are paid-for but they will become standard, extending protection across apps and the web. Ad tech cannot win here.
This will not only affect fingerprinting but also the “id” ecosystem. Use of encrypted email and IP addresses will undoubtedly be impacted next, restricting scale and effectiveness.
The future of targeting and measurement will have to focus on customised and privacy-first approaches. IDs may be part of that mix - but it is definitely not the panacea. As we keep saying, the old world is dead. Let’s accept it and start innovating properly.
FirstPartyCapital: Exceptionally Bullish On The Open Web
Our Managing Partner, Rich Ashton, penned a piece for the recently released ExchangeWire Industry Review (EIR) - a yearly ad tech trends report that collates insights and analysis from the smartest insiders.
You can download it for free (no email required) here: https://www.exchangewire.com/industry-review/exchangewire-industry-review-2022-moving-away-legacy-infrastructure/.
A lot of industry observers and bodies are very downcast about the future of the open web, continuously sounding the alarm about an imminent meltdown.
Rich presents our contrary view in the EIR. In his contribution he outlines how a combination of innovation and progressive thinking can make ad monetisation and user privacy compatible:
This is not to say that FirstPartyCapital is not optimistic about the future of the “open web”. We believe that this transition to a privacy-first environment will unleash a wave of innovation in ad tech.
We also see industry bodies playing a key role in helping architect this new future. The IAB Tech Lab, for instance, has done some fine work around the release of SDA (seller defined audience). We believe this will act as a framework for standardising publisher contextual data.
So, where does FirstPartyCapital see this open web innovation coming from? We see four key areas for the open web: clean rooms; attention-based measurement; privacy and first party data; and creative technology.
We Are Hosting A Cannes Drinks Meet-Up - Come Join Us
FirstPartyCapital will be hosting a MadTech gathering in Cannes on Wednesday, June 22 between 4pm and 6pm. All are welcome to join us for a few Cannes afternoon beverages.
You can sign up here to join the FPC team: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/firstpartycapital-drinks-cannes-lions-tickets-362992890507
We intend to do more network events globally over the coming months so our LPs, portfolio companies and the wider MadTech community can network and engage. Keep an eye out for updates in the coming weeks, including soon-to-be-announced get-togethers in London, Singapore and Dubai.
We are looking forward to Cannes, and hope to see some of you during the week.
Have a good week, readers.