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Episode 003: Is Your Data Safe on the Web? Cookies Are Going Away.


EP 3: Is Your Data Safe On The Web? w/ Bryant Garvin

Firetoss Marketing Podcast

Listen to the rest of our episodes on your favorite platform. Check them out on our podcast page.

Today on the podcast, we’re going to talk with Bryant Garvin, about the death of third party cookies from your browser and data privacy. Here we go. Not just your average podcast. It’s the slightly above average podcast, brought to you by your favorite marketing team at Firetoss. Here it is, your true source for all things digital marketing, the Firetoss Marketing Podcast.

Tony: Thank you for joining us for the Firetoss Marketing Podcast. I am so excited about our guest today. Today this episode is co-hosted by Toby Eborn. He is our Senior Vice President of Business Development. My name is Tony Passey. I am the CEO of Firetoss, and we are joined by a very special guest. And Toby, I’m gonna let you go ahead and introduce this guest.

Toby: Yeah, absolutely. Super excited for today’s episode! Our guest today is a personal friend of mine, met him several years ago. I think our wives met initially and in another state. We lived in another state and we got to be friends there and then he moved here and I moved here, and then it’s a beautiful relationship there or something. Okay, but, so, Bryant Garvin is with us today. Super excited to have him. For those of you who don’t know anything about Bryant, he’s been listed by LinkedIn as a top 25 biggest PPC influencer. He served in positions as the director of advertising for Purple Mattress Company. We’re in Utah, so a lot of people know what that is. But nationally, that’s a huge brand. He’s worked for a company called Pattern. He worked for another agency, Chamber Media, worked in consulting with those guys. Most recently he’s been the CMO at Groov Life, which makes amazing silicone rings and cool belts; has been a contributing author for Search Engine Journal for about the past nine years, and really is just a guy who has mastered his industry in paid media. So Bryant, welcome.

Bryant: Thank you for that introduction, Toby. I’m excited to be here with you guys.

Tony: Awesome! Great. So Bryant, the topic that we want to talk about today is… We want to get into cookies and tracking and some of the changes. And if you think about it, you know, we’ve kind of had this internet running full-fledged for about 20 years and it’s been a little bit of the Wild West and there’s been all these evolution. Especially if you’re a marketing guy, you know the day Facebook started doing advertising just changed everything. And then that started to normalize and some of the regulations and rules started to come in and now Facebook’s made a lot of changes. Which is like a whole nother episode on some of the things they’ve done the last 12 months. But in this evolution, there’s a lot of discussions around privacy and as I’ve watched the news, and I’ve looked at things, I’ve noticed that Google has gotten their hand slapped because of some privacy violations. Facebook has had their hand slapped because of privacy violations and almost every other major brand has overstepped because they, the advertiser, the platform… they have this huge need to know everything about us. And part of it are people just like us, that are placing advertising every day. We want to profile, we want everything to be, you know, as customized for that user. So just for starters, where are we in this lifecycle of privacy and protection and the user?

Bryant: Honestly, so if we go way back, I think about when I first was starting to get into advertising, and some of you that have been around the internet long enough, obviously not the, you know, Gen Z guys right now, whatever… Do any of you remember those banner ads that would come up on websites like Yahoo or MSN, where it was like, slap the cockroach? Where you were literally just trying to like, it was a game essentially in a banner ad. That was like targeting, and it just showed up everywhere, and you’d end up hitting it and then it would take you to this thing to win something, right? Like, that was advertising back then and they got so freaking annoying. So freaking annoying, right? And then you started like, Okay, well, people that go to this website can do this. So these types of people are over here, demographic type of data. Maybe like, what kind of articles they might read, things like that and then as we started getting into search, right? Like, search was just this massive amount of data that we could pull in, where we could literally like: oh, somebody wants to know, “what type of topical ointment is best for this rash that I have on my knee,” right?

Like, pretty damn targeted, right? And with that, as the technology increased, and we were using web browsers, they started like… Well, how do we track people that come to our site, so that we start giving them a more personalized experience? Because that’s really where cookies started. Then obviously, with all the money that came in with advertising, because all of these companies that we use for free today, is because somebody is paying them something. Well, that’s because of the ads that you’re being served and the more targeted the ad is, the more awesome the opportunity is to actually make some money on the other side, right? And so the more targeted that is, the better it is for advertisers. But also, as consumers, for the most part, we actually started liking the fact that we were getting ads that were a little bit more personalized, that were a little bit more relevant. It wasn’t just random, weird stuff all over the internet anymore. I was like, “oh, yeah, I actually do like, gray sweatpants in winter,” because I’m that dude, right? Whatever, but like, that’s that. We actually started liking that and then it got to a point where we started actually getting creeped out by how good the ads were, right?

And then there’s all of these concerns, when there’s hacks and other things like that, with all the data that’s sitting there. That is consumers, I think we feel like it’s shifted too far the other direction in some ways. And let’s be honest, it also really got outside of government regulation in a lot of places and government doesn’t like to have things that they can’t control very well. So I think that’s another piece of that puzzle there. But really, a lot of it’s consumer driven at this point in time. And so as the consumers keep raising their hand and being like, “yeah, I just talked to my friend yesterday about this thing and somehow I randomly got an ad today on Facebook, that creeps me the eff out.”

Tony: Oh, we very, and I don’t even mind saying this on the air because it was a very isolated situation where something freaky, like straight up freaky… I’ve sat in some of these talks at like a PubCon or Clicks Live, where you get that conspiracy theorist up there that says, “look, we ran a test in the forest in an air gapped cottage, and we were able to prove that the Roku is listening to everything…” Anyway, so I’ve been in like four or five of these talks where you’re just like, “okay, dude, you’re a little too overboard.” But about a year ago, I was sitting in my woodshop and, one of my passions is woodworking, and I have this, you know, this climate controlled dream space for anybody who’s a woodworker. And in my woodshop, I have this computer where I look at YouTube videos of other Woodworkers. And so I’ve got a couple of big monitors and so it’s kind of a ridiculous setup inside of a woodshop. Well, I’m just sitting there hanging out, and I’m watching some YouTube videos, and I’m talking to someone on the phone. Now, this is in Salt Lake City, Utah. I’m talking to someone on the phone in Las Vegas, Nevada, that has never done an ounce of woodworking in their life.

Like this is the exact opposite type of person. But as I’m talking to him, and he’s on speakerphone, on his landline. He has Instagram open on his cell phone and all of the sudden Instagram, on his Instagram, flips to woodworking ads. No, seriously and he started screenshotting and sending it to me that he’s like, “this is not right. There is no way this just happened.” And it’s because I’m listening to YouTube. I’m talking about “oh, yeah, I’m building this cutting board right now and then I’m working on this table” and we’re talking about all this woodworking. And all of a sudden, for the next three days, his entire Instagram sponsored ads in his feed are all woodworking related. And if you know, if I was in one of my classes at the university, and a student raised their hand and said, “is Instagram listening to me?” I’d probably say no until that exact moment, and I was like, “Okay, that is super undeniable.” Here’s someone that has no context for woodworking. And so I think most of us have had some freaky experience like that. Where, you know, we’re on a laptop, we’re browsing it, the battery dies, we jump on our girlfriend’s computer, and all of a sudden are showing ads for what we were looking at on our computer. We, as advertisers, know how the data is getting tied together. But I think enough consumers have had enough scary situations that we’re all a little bit freaked out by okay, exactly how much of our data is out there? And who has it? And what can they really do with it?

Bryant: Yeah, and I mean, let’s just be blunt. I don’t know about you guys. But I am very rarely without the phone in my pocket. It is like an extension of my life. Like, so it goes everywhere with me. From the bathroom, to the bedroom, to the kitchen, to work, to the gym, to whatever, right? So like, if there is any device in the world that knows more about me than I probably wish it ever would, or the people and the apps that are attached to it, it would be the phone, right? So like, yeah, it starts getting really scary like, well, if they listen to that, what else did they listen to? And are they recording this somewhere? Is it being stored somewhere? Or are they just process… Like, I get it. And so as consumers, I think we’re the ones that are pushing it more towards the privacy side of things and it’s disrupting the ecosystem that’s been… that’s existed for at least a decade, right? Like smartphones have been around for at least a decade and the ecosystem of Facebook and Google and YouTube and all these other play platforms. Like the algorithms that were built in there for advertisers are all built on all of this data. And so everything is definitely changing and I think it’ll continue to change and there’ll probably come a point in time where we actually get sick and tired of getting ads that we don’t really want to anymore, and are like, “Okay, what’s the trade off?” Like, how can we get stuff that’s somewhat relevant to us? And actually discover new things? Because some of the stuff I’m like, “oh, that’s really cool. I would have never thought to go look for that.” But that actually really interests me and I’m glad I got that ad, right? Like, what’s that balance between trading out privacy and relevancy, right? Like, those are the two flip, those are the two sides of the balance.

Toby: Well, that brings me to an interesting question, because where there’s a lot of discussion right now about certain browsers have discontinued use of third party cookies. But let’s talk about for just a second, what’s the difference there? Because I think we need to distinguish on behalf of consumers and personal marketers like guys that are at home, trying to grow their own homegrown businesses, entrepreneurs. What’s the difference between a third party cookie and a first party cookie, because they’re both there?

Bryant: They’re really big and not to confuse people like cookies, or pretty much only exist inside of web browsers like Safari, Chrome, you know, Firefox, Opera, Microsoft Edge, which is Chromium based now, like all of those things, right? Whereas like your apps, like a Facebook app, or an Instagram app, or other things like that, that’s a whole different set of tracking technology. So we’ll just talk about cookies, but cookies, first party cookies. Like I’m going to say,, and I’m looking for hotels, okay? Now Expedia is going to drop some cookies on my computer, right? They’re not chocolate chip, or macadamia nut, but they’re basically little tiny text files that are telling me, oh, this person, on this device, this browser, these types of things, went to this page and search for travel to San Diego between these dates and they like these kinds of hotels, and it’s just dropping little tiny text files. So that if I come back to the website later, they’ll be like, hey, are you still looking for travel to San Diego between these dates and these types of hotels? I’m like, oh, yeah, cool and I’ll be able to continue doing that instead of starting over, right? More personalized experience.

A third party cookie is you’re out that website, you’re doing those things in the background, they have a bunch of code installed on the site essentially, that they are dropping a pixel, say, from a pixel or a cookie, pixel and cookie are interchangeable when you’re an advertiser, right? That’s Google, or Facebook saying, hey, this person was looking for travel to San Diego between these dates and these types of hotels. So then later a day two, three a week later, whatever, all of a sudden, I’ll get an ad on Facebook and say, Hey, still looking for travel to San Diego between, you know, march 13th and 24th? I’ll be like, yeah, I am and be able to continue that service, right? So, third party is other people. First party would be the actual website or the entity you’re currently interacting with, right? Does that make sense?

Toby: Yeah, and when you go third party, you’re no longer able to just get Expedia. They are no longer able to just access that on a third party site, they then can take that data and monetize it to other companies, correct?

Bryant: Yeah, potentially. So, the third party, though it’s not Expedia, is giving away so much. It’s more used on behalf of Expedia with say, Facebook or something like that. So Facebook or Google could potentially take that data and say, Hey, these people are looking for travel to San Diego, or looking for travel even during this timeframe, right, maybe more anonymized than specific and serve ads to other competitors potentially of Expedia saying, hey, travel here, or hey, maybe it’s not even to competitors. Maybe it’s to restaurants in the area in San Diego, like, hey, check out the top 10 restaurants that people are loving in spring in San Diego, right?

Tony: So, for years, when we’ve been doing a higher value SEO project, we’re running a campaign, we’re trying to increase traffic and we’re really trying to understand demographics. As an SEO project, one of the first things that we do is we set up the Facebook advertising account. We generate a Facebook audience profiling pixel, and we drop it onto the site because Google Analytics will tell us some things about the users coming to the site. But who knows more about us than Facebook. I mean, probably our cell phones know more about us, but Facebook has a lot of information through Instagram and Facebook, they know who we know, they know what we like, they know what we’re into. They’ve been, you know, monitoring our behaviors and so we’re able to pull a lot of audience data from Facebook. So, essentially, with third party cookies and pixels going away, we’re not going to have access to that which is going to be hugely detrimental to Facebook because one of the most basic advertising actions in my opinion is profiling the audience on your website who comes to your website who is already a client, and likes your website and monitoring the traffic and the conversions, and then being able to take that anonymized data about your demographics and your audience over to Facebook and start doing advertising against it and so, what do you think happens with this, Bryant? Does this all completely go away or is there another methodology that gets used?

Bryant: Honestly, I don’t think it’s going to completely go away. Let’s just be blunt, there are billions and billions and hundreds of billions of dollars trapped inside of these advertising ecosystems, and massive companies that people literally depend on day to day to interact with their grandma or their cousin or work, right? Whether that be Facebook, Google, whatever that is and so I don’t think it’s going to completely go away. I think it’s going to have to change how it’s done and it’s not going to be as granular or as specific as it was in the past and we’re already seeing this with what’s happened with iOS privacy changes for apps with iOS 14.5, and the impact that’s had on the algorithms for Facebook and other app based platforms. This will definitely impact even more those that are using it from a web based perspective, right, where they’re picking up most of that data. One of the things when you’re talking about tracking stuff, with Facebook, it was even more, it’s not just what you’re doing on Facebook, and who you’re connected to there and what you’re interacting with. But probably 60-75% of our websites have a Facebook pixel on it if there’s a bunch of people going there. So they could also track you across every single website that you visited, and know you’re visiting these types of websites, you’re purchasing these types of products. So, if I all of a sudden started buying pots and pans, let’s just say, right from my kitchen, I may actually start getting ads for other kitchen appliances, right? Or if I bought a mattress, I might start getting ads for sheets, or whatever it may be and so they’re starting to see that data and that’s going to start disappearing at that level. So it’s all going to be first party actually coming from those websites and then it’s how do you actually use that data.

Tony: And there’s several ecosystems that kind of boast that same ability because they’re not transferring and I want to be super clear for people that are listening. They’re not transferring what we call PII, Personally Identifiable Information, like just because you visit a website doesn’t mean that they’re telling the advertiser, your name, your phone number, your email address, but it is anonymized data saying, okay, you have a group of people that are in this age band in this interest band, you know, they’re in this income level and so there’s a lot of other platforms outside of even Facebook and Instagram. I know Adobe’s marketing, experience marketing cloud. They’ve, for a long time, been able to share data anonymously across their huge customers and Adobe works with a large percentage of the Fortune 500. So you’re talking a lot of traffic, a large percentage of the total traffic, and they’re capturing all of this information from E-Commerce Store to E-Commerce Store to website and then they’re able to share that back and forth across their customers and that was one of the biggest values of jumping into the Adobe ecosystem. But I’m wondering, is that going to become more difficult for them to share because maybe it’s a first party cookie, but it’s still being shared on the back end? I don’t know if I totally understand the mechanics of how they would do…

Bryant: And honestly, like getting into the technical stuff is beyond me, at this level, right, like really getting into that. But let’s just say that humans, we are really good at figuring out problems, especially if there’s a big enough incentive and so will it be exactly the same as it’s always been known? It’s changing, it’s literally changing. Will it have a negative impact? In the short term, absolutely. Long term? I’m not 100% sure, because there are all of these companies that are going to be impacted by this and consumers are going to be impacted by this and eventually, they’re going to again, like I said, be willing to give up some privacy for that convenience, or that relevancy and the companies that are doing this, again, 10s and 10s of billions of dollars every single month, hundreds of billions of dollars a year going through these companies that are providing this relevancy through this data. So, they’re going to have to figure out something.

It will not be as clear or as easy as what we’ve got today, right? But there’s something there like, even to the point where Facebook now isn’t relying on a cookie on your browser, or Google isn’t relying on a cookie on your device anymore. They’re actually taking that anonymized data. It’s being hashed, like basically, like, think crypto codes, like from back in the wars, right? Like nobody can unscramble it unless they have the code. They’re actually passing that data from the server, like you go to the website, that server that is serving up that data is now directly passing it to the server over at Facebook, or Google or Google Analytics or whatever. So, it’s not even having to read the cookies on the browser anymore. So, they’re already starting to bypass these things and again, it’s not as granular, it’s not as detailed information, but it’s there.

Tony: Right! So, there’s enough dollars at risk, enough dollars on the line, enough advertisers that need to sell product, enough platforms that need to collect advertising dollars, that there’s going to inevitably be a workaround.

Bryant: Yeah, I mean, there’s trillions of dollars of commerce that are being driven by these things. So, when you get a big enough why behind something, you’ll figure it out.

Tony: Sure. So, that kind of leads us into you know, there was the move that Firefox and Safari made, and Safari, from what I understand just completely blocked third party cookies and that was catastrophic for some advertisers and Google Chrome announced, hey, we’re going to do the same thing and then very quickly, they recanted and said, well, we’re gonna do the same thing in a couple of years and so right now we’re looking at a 2023 date for blocking third party cookies from Google Chrome. Why do you think it is that they’re delaying on their side? Do you think it has to do with figuring out a workaround or why do you think that they do it?

Bryant: I think there’s some hope. There’s probably some workaround stuff that they’re working on. But there’s also probably a little bit of hope, because there’s some uncertainty as to how this is really going to impact these ecosystems, right? And just because you do one thing doesn’t mean that you can’t change your mind to do something else. I mean, clearly, we’re seeing that right now, right? They’ve always been okay, now they’re not. So like, maybe in a year or two, maybe it will be okay, again, to have a little bit of third party data, right? So like, I think Google’s kind of waiting it out. But at the same time, their whole entire business is built on advertising data, to the point that. Like what you search for could potentially impact which ads you get on YouTube, right? And so if there’s some type of third party blocking of data there, they may not be able to provide the best user experience from a consumer standpoint and give you the best ads. But also, from the advertisers perspective, they’re not going to be able to demand as much per ad, because it’s not going to be as efficient in the return that it’s giving you and so I think they’re playing that game, they’re kind of balancing that scale out there and trying to figure out some of those things, right?

Like, this whole server to server thing is a very brand new thing that’s really just started to be talked about and implemented over the last couple of last year or so really, in the ecosystem. So I think they’re trying to wait and see how that stuff impacts that. I think they’re already doing some of those things and I think they’re wanting to see on the back end, potentially, okay, this is the number of users that we got using Chrome. This is the data we’re currently getting through third party cookies. Let’s start implementing some of these other potential workarounds and let’s see how well the targeting works up lines up works, efficiencies, whatever it is, using that data before we just completely kill it. Firefox has no incentive to do anything, right? Safari, though owned by Apple, actually does have some incentive, because they’re essentially trying to build out on the back end of their own advertising ID ecosystem, right? That they will then try again, no saying for sure, but probably trying to force companies like Facebook, Google and YouTube and all these other platforms to leverage in some way and they get some type of royalty off of it.

Tony: Well, there’s way too much money, you know, and that is kind of the theme of our conversation is that, you know, money is driving this data conversation.

Bryant: Oh, absolutely.

Tony: There’s this magnanimous approach that we’re going to protect everybody, we’re going to do no harm. But ultimately, we’ve got to pay bills, we’ve got to make money, we’ve got to increase value to the shareholder and there’s just way too much money in data transfer and, you know, providing accurate real time data to a variety of sources and so if you think about the evolution of data, so the post office is always known where all of us live, right? Everybody, as soon as you move somewhere, you got to get your mail. So we update the post office and a lot of that data from what I understand flows into a company called Axiom, which is a huge data aggregator and so the moment that you update your post office data, it gets replicated across the data ecosystem and there’s huge customers that have these replicated databases, that the moment you update with a post office, it gets sent to a guy and sent to a guy and moments later, there’ll be a major brand like, you know, back in the day, Sears. Sears always knew everything about everybody in America because they had all these data relationships where they could collect and then when we moved past our address being the big way to advertise to us, you know, direct mail, used to literally dominate demographics, profiling and being able to, you know, directly contact somebody and now we move into this internet age every one of us, like you mentioned before, is carrying around a device and a lot of us have multiple devices. We have maybe a tablet, we have a smartphone, we have a laptop, maybe we have a desktop. I mean, some of us have a lot of technology and so from what I understand, there’s more than just cookies that can track us. We actually have serial codes, MAC addresses. We have actual IDs tied to these devices. So, is that still in place? Is there anything that changes any of that?

Bryant: I’m not really honestly, I mean, that’s your device has specific IDs attached to it, right? And those IDs are unchangeable, literally, it’s like this is that device. There’s not another one that has all of the same exact data around it that has iOS 15.0.1, whatever installed that has this many gigabytes of memory that has, you know, all of that is an iOS iPhone, or an iPhone 13 Plus, right? Like, and has this MAC address, or has this right, so like that, Id is like a fingerprint, right? And that fingerprint is specific to that device and that user really, because on your phone, I don’t know about you, yes, my kids will hop on to certain things on my phone. But it’s my phone, right? It’s not the Family Computer anymore, that was set up in an office and everybody went and used it and it was all kind of all mixed and jumbled. That device is my device and most of the stuff that’s going on that device is my information, my data, that type of thing and so that’s another way that companies are actually tapping into things is through what they call fingerprinting, which is all device ID based cyber-stuff like they can see not even through a cookie because they’re actually serving the stuff. Oh, because they’ve got to display the website in a certain way, right? And so they know that you are actually using Chrome on an Apple device, that’s an iOS iPhone 13 Plus with this installed and so they can start piecing this data together and doing some fingerprinting stuff.

Tony: Well, that goes beyond the browser that goes into the native apps on your phone. You know, if I download Tik Tok, and I set up a Tik Tok account, in that process, I’m giving Tik Tok access to my phone and they will know my device ID. They will know a lot of user information and with a lot of these apps. They have GPS enabled while you’re using the app. So they even know where I go and what I do and they’re really in my understanding, correct me if I’m wrong, but there really isn’t legislation out there that allows them to backdoor that data into the ecosystem as well.

Bryant: No, of course, I mean, they can use anything that’s available to them, right? Like, Apple, just cut off a lot of that information, because you used to be able to if you had Facebook installed, and then you went out to the web browser, you could track your people across those other things as well, and then bring that data back into the app. Now, unless you’ve explicitly opted in to allow those apps to do that. They only get the data that’s in the app, essentially and they can’t take it on the back end and marry it up because you have an ID on Facebook. You also have an Apple advertising ID that is attached to your apps and so like they could take that data and marry that up and then because you’re logged in on Facebook, on your browser, they could actually see which websites you are going to match that backup to your app ID and your Facebook user ID and so they’re like making this profile essentially and normally, they’re not just like one to one information. Usually it’s like 1000s of people that they’re clumping together and that’s where you say anonymous. It’s not like truly anonymized right on the back end somewhere. It’s all kind of connected. But they’re never just doing like, this is an ad for Bryant Garvin and I’m going to make sure Bryant Garvin knows it’s an ad for Bryant Garvin, because I’m gonna even use his name or whatever it is, right? Like, that just doesn’t happen.

Tony: Did you imagine if there’s like a dark room somewhere in the world and there’s this poor overworked guy that’s just manually placing all of Bryant’s ads? And all that does, it just chases Bryant, as fast as Bryant can surf the web? It is a lot of machine learning and a lot of AI….

Bryant: And they’ve already started to train and move that direction to anonymize some of the data because they knew that there was going to be backlash eventually, right? Like as a user, as an advertiser, I can pixel, I can upload some data into Facebook as an example, and create an audience profile of people that are there, right? That isn’t cookie based. It’s all hashed data is what they call it. So it’s all encrypted data that they’re then taking what the encrypted data is on their side, and throwing it up there, right? And they’re like, Oh, this is this user, but that it’s not like even just down to that user then it’s like, okay, you have to have at least 1000 or 2000 of these users, for us to take any of that data and go extrapolate it and say this is kind of what your users are like.

Toby: Do you think that there is the need for an overarching, regulated way to do this kind of advertising to collect the data to share it? And do you think that’s even possible? Or do you think ultimately, we end up just finding enough workarounds that we’re right back to the Wild West it’s just done in a different way?

Bryant: So, there’s a couple different questions there. I think the first thing is the internet in and of itself is already a distributed system in some ways, right? There’s not just one central repository where everything exists. There is servers all over the world, in countries that have very different laws, right? Like the laws over in the European Union are very different than the laws of the United States, which are very different than, say, the laws in Japan or Shanghai, or Shanghai China, right? And so to regulate it and enforce a universal thing, I think is next to impossible first off. Secondly, even in, say, the United States, I think that’s really hard to do, because, again, you’ve got trillions of dollars potentially, tied up in this ecosystem and so there’s a lot of things at play and let’s just be blunt politicians are, if nothing, very self preservatory. So, they are always finding the balance between making sure that their consumers, the contingents are happy and the people that are funding their campaigns and making sure they get into office are happy, right? So there’s always going to be a razor wire there as well, that I think is it will move back and forth, as the consumer conversation moves back and forth. I do think like I said, they’re always going to be testing and trying to figure out new things. Again, there’s just too much at stake for us to just be like, yeah, cool. All right.

We can’t do that anymore and no, bother trying, like, we’ll just go back to smash the cockroach ads, right? Like, nobody wants to do that. So I definitely think that there will be something there. I do think there’s potential and I know, it’s the hype of everything right now. But like, in some ways, instead of cookies, or JavaScript pixels, or things like that, like, could some of what goes on the web, and to being more like crypto based, right? Because it’s a distributed system, that it’s truly the system that’s verifying everything, not one entity, like a Google or a Facebook or even an Apple, right, because as much as company like Apple is saying, oh, Google and Facebook have way too much power. Apple literally knows every single picture I’ve ever taken or received, and every single text message, and Facebook message and site that I visited and, and, and, and, right. Plus all the Metadata where those pictures were taken, what time of day, who was in there, the facial profile, right? Like, that’s a lot of freaking data sitting there too, right? The thing is, they’re not using it yet. So like, and that’s the balance, right? These companies, again, there’s a lot of money there and there’s a bunch of PR going on there too, right to try and sway consumer interests in what’s best for consumers. So, I think is like the conversations become more open as people start looking at regulation is okay but really, it also causes problems, right? We’ll see regulation, of course, because that’s what government does. That’s why it exists. But I don’t think you’ll ever be able to just completely get rid of all of this. We’ll find some way to make it work.

Toby: Yeah, and I think from the consumer standpoint, people will realize, after a while, depending on how impactful these changes are. They will realize kind as we’ve talked about, that they prefer ads that are custom built for you as an audience, because I don’t want to see ads for something ridiculous that I have no interest in and as an advertiser, I don’t want to pay for those ads. I want to show my advertising to people who want my product and as a consumer, I want to see ads for things that I’m interested in and so people will get tired of advertising a lot faster, the more regulated it becomes.

Bryant: I agree, 100%. It’ll drive up the cost of goods because people aren’t going to just stop advertising because they still have to run companies, pay bills, pay employees, sell products, whatever, right? But if it costs more for them to do that, then it’s going to show up in the cost of goods that you’re getting at the door, right? Like, it’s one of the parts of the supply chain. Nobody talks about, right? Supply chains all oh, yeah, the fabric or the electronics or the metal or the workers actually building the product, but advertising, marketing, all of that is a part of the supply chain of supply and demand and if it cost more to actually get a customer to buy the product, they’re eventually going to have to pass those costs on to consumers. So there’s going to be balance along the way somewhere.

Tony: So, this isn’t the end of the data conversation in our lifetimes with the internet. It’s evolving. It’s growing and seems to kind of come up every couple of years where we get real freaked out by something, and we talk about the next evolution so third party cookies going away. Yes, it’ll make some changes for a few people for a brief amount of time. But then it’s going to be a continual evolution of continual growth and I’m sure that we’re going to be back here in a couple of years talking about the next big change to data and privacy and how we advertise.

Bryant: At the end of the day, you got to stop thinking about it being Facebook advertising, or Google advertising, or YouTube or Tik Tok or Pinterest or whatever the hell it is and you’ve got to get back to some of the basics of what true marketing and advertising is, right? Like, it’s a really good product, really good, creative, and a really good way to get that creative and product out in front of people.

Tony: Thank you so much for joining Toby and I, we really appreciate you taking your time to jump on the Bonfire Marketing Podcast, and we’re super excited to talk to you again in the future. So, best of luck to you and super appreciate your insights.

Toby: Thanks Bryant.

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