“The future of the open internet will be through personalized advertising”, Matt Brittin (Google)


We are still battling a global pandemic, the cost of living is rising, the climate crisis is here and we are witnessing the horror of war in Ukraine. In this uncertain and complex environment, access to reliable information is essential. Today, nearly 95% of the European population is connected and can access many online sources.

Advertising has largely enabled this, funding the growth of the newspapers and magazines we read, the radio stations we listen to, the television programs we watch and of course the internet. Today, this financing model is the subject of much debate. The question of respect for privacy is particularly at the heart of the questions. Indeed, a growing number of Internet users find advertising too intrusive. Regulators are also rightly demanding that the internet be more privacy-friendly. Some detractors are even demanding an outright ban on personalized advertising.

Should the Internet be more responsible? The answer is yes. But giving up on an open, ad-supported internet would be a mistake. It is indeed online advertising that must change, in order to be safer for Internet users, more efficient for the media and more effective for businesses.

Advertising can be more privacy-friendly

Building a world without third-party cookies forces us to rethink the technology on which much of the advertising system is based, while innovating to better protect everyone’s privacy. It is a challenge, but it is possible. Such solutions may exist. Some already exist. For example, Google is testing many options via Privacy Sandbox. New technologies make it possible to display relevant advertisements without following Internet users from one site to another. We are working with the entire advertising industry to move in the right direction. Our course remains the same: to phase out third-party cookies by mid-2024.

This is a major development for the whole sector. But it is part of a principle of reality: when a brand respects the privacy of users, its advertisements are more efficient. This is the observation we have made following an Ipsos study conducted among 20,000 Europeans. This survey provides us with two major results. On the one hand, the advertising industry is rewarded when it respects users’ privacy. On the other hand, he cannot afford to do otherwise.

Three-quarters of respondents say they prefer buying from brands that give them more control over their data. Nearly half say they are willing to switch brands for this reason. On the other hand, as soon as a brand makes a mistake, the results are final. In terms of loss of trust, the impact of a bad experience related to privacy breaches is similar to that of personal data theft. Negative experiences are enough to drive customers to other brands. Once the damage is done, it becomes almost impossible to return to the initial situation.

The results speak for themselves: privacy-friendly advertising is effective advertising. Changing models is no longer an option, but a necessity.

Internet users want an Internet that relies on advertising

Shifting to a more responsible advertising-based internet is not only crucial for successful ad performance, it’s vital for the internet of tomorrow. Some would like to completely ban personalized advertising and only use contextual advertising. However, this model alone will not be enough to fund the open internet we all want. Estimates indicate that if personalized advertising were to disappear overnight, open web users, including the media, would be deprived of the equivalent of $32 billion to $39 billion. However, having access to reliable information has never been more important.

Others believe that all services should be chargeable. The Internet would then become a luxury product, effectively excluding billions of people. This is also why Netflix, the pioneer of the subscription model, has decided to introduce a new offer with advertising, for users wanting to spend less. These alternative models are not only far from perfect, but they are also underappreciated. A study conducted by IAB Europe indicated that 75% of Europeans would opt for the current version of iInternet, compared to a version without targeted advertising, but which would force them to pay to access websites, content and applications. .

We are living in a watershed moment for online advertising and the future of the internet. Without user trust, tomorrow’s internet is at stake. We need to embrace change and build an advertising-based internet fit for the future. An internet capable of providing quality information, respectful of privacy and relying on trusted brands. We are mobilized to support this transition.

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