2021 will be a year full of opportunities and challenges for the martech industry. As discussed in this blog about ‘digital marketing’s 2021 curveballs’, increasing concerns about privacy and the use of third-party cookies have forced marketers and advertisers to re-think their strategies.

Over the last couple of years, the need for a more ‘responsible advertising’ industry has become clear and marketers now need to prepare for the phasing out of third-party data to keep delivering relevant content to consumers without access to individual identification.

The industry is still in the middle of complex discussions about the alternatives to cookies and is talking more and more about ‘signals’ rather than ‘data’. The first step for marketers and publishers is to implement a consent management platform. These solutions are not simple admin platforms to meet GDPR requirements anymore; they are an advertising tech tool for collecting user consent. As a result, this is a competitive industry that is expected to flourish in the coming years - the consent management market size is projected to grow from USD 317 million in 2020 to USD 765 million by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 19.3%.

A few companies stand out as market leaders in this area with some recent products announcements:

  • In November 2020, Quantcast announced the launch of Permisio, an expansion of Quantcast Choice, a Consent Management Platform (CMP) that combines transparency for consumers over how their data is processed and the ability to express preferences with authenticated identity for publishers. For consumers, it means there will be fewer privacy pop-ups once they have confirmed their choices so it allows a seamless experience on the websites and platforms they love. For publishers, an easy-to-use centralised privacy preferences portal makes their lives simpler when it comes to preference management so they can really focus on what matters to them. Big names such as Immediate Media, the publisher behind many of the BBC’s top websites, are already early adopters of this new solution.
  • Two months later, in January, OneTrust launched Vendorpedia™ Questionnaire Response Automation™, a solution to help organizations automatically answer incoming security, privacy, and due diligence questionnaires from their customers. This process is very time consuming and cumbersome for the companies but still crucial for CRM. With this new product, OneTrust positions itself as a strong business partner in the broader security and privacy landscape by offering a single dashboard that processes and answers all types of questionnaire.
  • The same month, TrustArc was chosen by Visier, a leader in people analytics and planning serving more than 5,000 customers and 75 countries, to implement their TRUSTe International Privacy Verification. This solution assesses if the organization-wide privacy compliance aligns with the global privacy standards and principles such as those established in the Privacy Shield Framework. Chris Babel, CEO at TrustArc said ‘"The privacy landscape continues to evolve on a daily basis. [..] Organizations with privacy programs that scale to meet the demands of new and changing regulations will help drive their business forward. External validations, such as the TRUSTe International Privacy Verification, show customers that the company in question has taken the steps necessary to secure ongoing data privacy.”

With the phase out of third party data, it will be crucial for companies and publishers to choose their CM platforms carefully. Although GDPR accelerated the implementation of these solutions in Europe, we can see this trend in the US as well, especially for publishers with valuable European traffic who want to be seen as privacy conscious. We can expect more product releases during H1 2021 that solve this challenge but the companies who will stand out will show how they can support marketers beyond a simple legal requirement. 2021 will be crucial for this sector and there is huge opportunity for these platforms to showcase the value of their technology in implementing responsible advertising.