TMW #032 | Pt 2 of Google’s cookieless future, the interoperability of marketing platforms, most visited Martech vendor websites

Mar 14, 2021

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This week is a little news heavy, there’s been heaps of funding rounds, IPOs, sell offs and new (and unexpected) product releases. I look at the fallout of Google’s announcement of discontinuing 3rd party tracking, and how the internet is still missing a lot of interoperability between data, platform and marketing tech.

👇 Here’s everything you’ve missed in marketing and tech this week.

🎤 New Podcast: Geoffrey Keating on the data inundation.

Back in TMW #028 the most clicked article was Segment’s CDP report, so I got in touch with the a great folks over at Segment to go a little deeper into the research and why brands are adopting CDPs faster than ever in response to the pandemic-wrought inundation of digital data. We talk about industry trends, the popularity of CDP integrations into advertising tools, Segment’s infrastructure that powered more than 1,000,000,000,000 API calls last November and the shift from channel to consumer centric data strategies.
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✍ Commentary

😯 Part 2. Google’s cookieless future - the fallout. Last week I touched on Google’s decision to end third party targeting along with discontinuing cookies in Chrome. The fallout has triggered waves of reactionary thought pieces on what this will do to the data-advertising market, but a few important perspectives have floated to the top. Google has spent 20 years slowly buying and building the infrastructure of the “free” web by offering “free” products in exchange for user data. In doing so they have become a central point of failure across so much of how the web operates. Can you imagine what the world would look like without things like Search, Chrome, Maps, Gmail, Docs, Youtube, Play, Android? For many in the developing world you can only buy Android phones and use Google’s software, because they had the market power and capital to put a phone in everyone’s hands. The slow and steadily internet land grab has led to this moment - Google’s focus on privacy.

Alongside Google’s announcement of ending third party tracking came the FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) which will constrain the data market instead of opening it up. FloCs are cohorts of customers you can target at an interest rated level through Google’s privacy sandbox. This means Google still collects data across the web, aggregates it, runs ML over the top of it to create segmentation and sell it back to the advertiser. This, in effect is saying “everyone, except for us, has to stop using third party cookies.” You could then argue that privacy in Google’s vernacular is really just a pretext to solidify the data dominance it already owns, and a reason to create a walled garden that changes data as a commodity advertisers can collect and use to a service you need to pay for.

In the centre of this is a deal Google has done with the everyday user, which is great for Google and leaves the customer only with “free” tools they will never be able to own themselves. In the mind of the majority of Google users, this has been a great deal, but research from Singular suggests that while Google is the most trusted brand when it comes to sharing personal data, about 2 in 5 consumers will allow Google to track them in iOS 14, it’s still 60% who won’t. 73% of consumers would rather pay for apps and control the data collected about their use.

It makes you wonder why you can’t buy a subscription for Google docs, it would be a disadvantage for Google to do so, because it can’t scale with data collection. But the end advertiser is becoming more suspicious of the quality of the goods, P&G, Uber, Ebay Chase, and many others have reported experiments whereby hundreds of millions of dollars can be saved annually by simply stopping paid advertising. Should users get a data dividend for their contribution to Google’s success? Will FLoC force more innovation to create market leading alternatives? Can brands survive without having to “rent” data from Google? Will Google get to eat the cake no one else is allowed to? All the answers are maybe, but one thing is for sure - a privacy first future is a Google first future. Oracle’s responses: Data Dividend, FLoC, advertising effectiveness, Apple IDFA survey.

🔄 Whatever happened to interoperability? The notion of interoperability was first proposed back in 2004 with the arrival of Web 2.0 which basically stated that the new kinds of internet apps like social media platforms, marketplaces, online stores and publications should have central to their proposition that they can operate and integrate with each other effortlessly. 15 years later, this has not been the case, social media apps have created operability within their own ecosystems (like Facebook’s aggregation of user data across FB, Insta and WA), but have you ever tried to port your Facebook friends to another app like Twitter? It’s impossible. Another example is Amazon’s 3rd party merchant offering - you get customer, but you’ll never get to know who they are. It appears that the larger the platform the less you get interoperability, creating more reliance to drive revenue in the market.

On the other end of internet operability is the miracle of the email address - one of the few digital identifiers that is portable across any platform and system on the web. This is why Shopify is such an important company to internet commerce and the equation of interoperability - Shopify is a platform that integrates with anything, and its merchants have full ownership over the data they collect end to end. Not an ecosystem but a substrate to enable more than 800k companies to create value on the internet. You can also argue that the unbundling of websites like Craigslist into apps like AirBNB, Upwork and Zip Recuiter creates more opportunities for interoperability, smaller apps means more integrations and more power back to the companies that run them. My prediction is that large platforms with little integration points and data portability create for themselves a trajectory of decreasing value and increasing spend overtime forcing competitive action in the marketplace. Every marketer has to deal with platforms in a digital economy, and the good news is the ones that empower brands to own their own data future are winning. Missing web interoperability. Platform vs Verticle.

📈Chart Of The Week

Martech growth categories. What kind of martech companies are seeing the most growth in online traffic shares? Sign up here to get a link to the full version and the chart. You won't be disappointed.

📰 Latest Developments

It’s the 50th anniversary of email! Pour one out for the most stressful, annoying way to communicate professionally. It’s seems like no one is celebrate email’s 50th birthday. But you have to give it to this technology, it has endured over 5 decades as a central way in which brands communicate to customers and will likely endure for another 5 more. Link

Hopin the webinar platform launched March 2020, now valued at $5B. This is impressive. At the start of 2020 they were a team of 6, launched in early due to COVID, raised $40M in June and in November raised another $125M now worth $5B. Right place, right time, right tech, right message. Link

Facebook is yet to sign the new news media deal in Australia. Two weeks after a new deal was made, it looks like negotiations are still jammed holding news publishers of all shapes and sizes in limbo. Link

📚 Reading

Salesforce’s take on IWD - Female leadership is critical in tech. In the tech industry it’s estimated that in some places only 11% people working in IT, analysts or specialists are women. About 34% of the global workforce is represented by women. Salesforce weighs in on what they are doing to empower more women to work in tech. Link

The UX of Data. Here’s an interesting proposition - why don’t we design the systems and pathways that make data usable to a company instead of just focusing on collecting and cleaning it? It’s great that you’ve invested into a data lake to hold billions of rows of data, but does it create any value? Or does it just confuse stakeholders instead?  Link

Creativity and business agility. Adobe talks about the place of creativity in building an agile organisation. The ability to rapidly respond to changing customer needs comes from a constant dedication to curiosity and experimentation while being able to harness creativity across a business to solve tough problems. Link

🔢 Data & Insights

Do teens suffer from using tech?  New research to come out suggesting that there really isn’t a link between teenagers using digital technology and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. It’s not down to the fact that kids use tech, it’s rather the engagement cycles of social media that has a higher correlation with negative mental health. Link

1 year into the pandemic, how have our attitudes to tech changed? Some interesting research to come out of the NYTs on the ways in which people have changed their relationship to technology. Aside from the obvious ways like Zooming, there are a few surprises. Link

BNPL market set to double by 2024. Australia is the birthplace of Buy Now Pay Later, it’s also where it’s taking off. Currently 10% of all transactions use BNPL, 4 years from now that’s set to be 20%. I’m sure there are a few corollary companies not invented yet that could get in on the action, like BNPL aggregators. Link

💡 Ideas

Australia could be the next tech epicentre. I live in Melbourne, awarded the worlds most livable cities many years in a row. But there’s only a handful of globally successful tech companies founded here. Australia has all the conditions to be the most attractive places for tech companies to get planted (except for the internet connection). Link

Digital transformation? It’s a meaningless concept. A hilarious Twitter exchange between Simon Wardley and Mr. X on why digital transformation is an unhelpful concept to explain what’s going on with companies, the importance of just focusing on your user’s needs and more. Link

Minimum Viable Product. An analogy to explain what an MVP should be by using a 1947 Jeep Willys. Link

Dispo. A very new social app which is all about photo sharing in a new way. You can only take photos, and they will all be published at 9am the following day. No filters, no editing, no captions, just the digital version of a disposable camera. Link

Rank transformation and experimentation. This study into the sensitivity of experiment measurement by using historical data is phenomenal. Using as a test case it explores the relationship between measured sensitivity and statistical significance. Link

Google Chrome, 10X faster. Mighty app is trying to improve the Chrome experience. Link

✨ Weird and Wonderful

Microsoft sharepoint exchange servers are a massive liability. There’s evidence to suggest that every single sharepoint server in the world has malware. Link

Facebook is now testing Reels. Tiktok has 1B users, and got there in 4 years. Facebook is just copy and pasting its core features across their own apps. Not a great way to compete. Link

Robot Spas. How do you scale eyelash extension, spray tanning, eyebrow lifts and hair restorations? With robots of course. Link

Debranding. Burger King like almost every other global brand have removed everything that’s distinctive about their design to fall in with everyone else. It’s a bran-demic. Link

Stay Curious,

Make sense of marketing technology.

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Juan Mendoza

Juan Mendoza is an expert in researching global media, marketing, data, and technology trends. He is the CEO of The Martech Weekly, a media and research brand with subscribers in over 65 countries.

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