~things that matter~

Category: Digital Experience

Blindly Trust Your CMP (Consent Management Platform)?

Bombarded your website visitor with annoying pop-ups asking to accept cookies? And you thought the consent management platform (CMP) was doing great?

Things were almost always the same, every time I got involved in a CMP vs. Adobe Experience Cloud situation.

Though the CMPs do a great job helping websites manage the collection and storage of user data by obtaining and storing user consent, I would not bet on (just) them. Especially when it comes to compliance and consequences.

Most often your CMP vendor helps present a pop-up or banner asking users to agree to the site’s privacy policy, cookie policy etc with an option to go granular in terms of selecting what cookies would be okay and what would not. And, as you might know, the preferences are usually stored in a cookie for future visits.
Would you trust that cookie? Or even the JavaScript that pops up the banner? Depends.

Client-side tech is prone to accidents and environmental factors. Whether mentioned in Murphy’s Laws or not, client-side tech does fail. And so do the banners, cookies and whatnot.
To top this up, there are “intelligent”, “automatic” features by various vendors that claim to detect and block network calls to endpoints until (the above) consent is granted for the respective categories. What you might not have noticed is that their documentation also says the tech is not foolproof (i.e prone to failures).

I am writing all this because we had been solving these problems all this time. Techniques employed by some CMPs fail to understand certain types of trackers and fail to detect certain network calls being made. In fact, when pointed out, a CMP rep. himself explained why their detection techniques were “dumb”. And did I tell the auto-categorization by the CMPs is something you must manually review? You should.

In short, your website may still be collecting data without consent or sharing user data with third parties. What you can or cannot (or shouldn’t) do is often subjective, and best handled by business goals and security guidelines. However, assuming consent granted until your CMP says otherwise, or leaving the responsibility fully with the CMP can end up being painful (and expensive).

What do we do, you may ask. “allow none” as a default behavior for trackers may be a safe approach. Then let the CMPs evaluate what can be allowed based on consent. For Adobe Experience Cloud products, as an added layer, you may want to explore the consent/privacy options with the Visitor API.

Long Live the DMPs

I wish I could say that.

Traditionally DMPs have depended on 3rd-party cookies. And the phaseout of such cookies has almost crippled, if not killed, the products. Approaches will still evolve and remain relevant – may not be in their current shapes and forms.

Let’s take the example of Adobe Audience Manager (or AAM as we fondly call it). Just like most other DMPs, AAM relies (ed) on a 3rd-party cookie set on demdex.net. And the loss of that cookie indeed takes away a large chunk of capabilities around it.

As 3rd-party cookie support has dropped drastically, and the deadline from Google/Chrome is fast approaching, what will a DMP do?

1st Party Data: That is, your (business owner’s) own data. DMPs are mature enough in leveraging first-party data that you know about your visitors/users. If you are aware of Adobe Experience Platform (AEP, the CDP) you would already know how much we all long for quality first-party data. In fact, that fine line between CDPs and DMPs is getting blurrier as we speak.

Walled Gardens: Using just your own first-party data will not justify why you had invested in the DMP in the first place. Probably this will give rise to options where other publishers are willing to share their own first-party information via the DMP. However, this appears to be far lower than what you would have done with a data marketplace without the current (and future) restrictions.

Things such as AI-driven lookalike modelling will still be able to deliver value. I will not be surprised to see Audience Marketplaces flourish with collaboration and sharing between organizations, greater than ever before.

Having said this, I am equally anxious as you may be, to see how the future unfolds.

Protected: Target On Top

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Protected: Do you audit your TMS (Tag Management System)?

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Some Adobe Analytics magic in PDFs

[Update: 2020-04-04: We now have a productized solution via a client-side PDF rendering engine, DCViewSDK. I have removed the technical details of the custom solution from here.]

Back in South Africa, our customer wondered how some companies claimed to be “magically” tracking what you did inside a PDF document. And they asked why hadn’t Adobe Analytics got something similar; especially Adobe being the PDF pioneer.

The company was interested to understand the consumption of their clients’ PDF brochures and targeting those who reviewed the stock price (page).

Now, ever wondered how it might feel to be able to understand what content inside that beautiful pdf brochure people are looking at?

  • Send a personalized message to a potential customer who read about a new offering in the brochure.
  • Figure out if a piece of info out there may make more sense at a prominent location on the website real estate rather than buried deep within a voluminous pdf.
  • Or even for the designer, is there a piece of content that forced users to zoom in?

The Problem

You are not alone. PDF Analytics or document analytics in a broader sense had been a path rarely traveled. There were not a whole lot of options for accessing a URL or data collection over the internet. That kind of restricted Analytics efforts on downloaded documents.

The Solution

However, as most browsers are now capable of rendering PDF documents, the question becomes simpler. How do we add Adobe Analytics client-side technologies into the content that’s already sitting there, in the browser, in plain HTML?
The answer is a JavaScript-based PDF parsing and rendering engine. Once the PDF document is rendered in the browser and you get access to the DOM, you can very easily deploy Adobe Analytics and the Launch Tag Management Solution. With minimal coding, you can capture the page number and interactions therein: zoom, search, select, copy text, and print to name a few.

The initial solution leveraged a good 3rd-party library for rendering PDFs. However, a lot has changed after that, and we now have a great rendering engine called the View SDK from Adobe. Adobe Analytics integration comes pre-built.
At this point, I would rather suggest you review the widely available documentation and public posts (including this one I wrote) on the topic.

PDF Analytics may soon become the new norm. The great thing is that it can be done in a Non-Destructive way. The plugin is easy to deploy and manage! Please, try it today!

Deepak Ranjan Kar