As part of GDPR, companies based outside Europe can be hit with enormous fines if they track and analyze EU visitors to their website. In other words, say your company resides in New York, but that company has European visitors and customers, or collects their data. If that’s the case, they can be penalized to the tune of tens of millions in fines if they don’t disclose their data collection and obtain the user’s consent.
Understandably, American companies want to avoid huge fines, which is why US users are seeing more and more of these permission boxes.
The boxes are designed to offer users more control over their data, as the EU law was put into place to protect all data belonging to EU citizens and residents. The confusion within the US market exists because the country doesn’t have similar laws to protect the privacy of its citizens.
In February 2022, Saryu Nayyar wrote a piece for Forbes that asks if it’s time for a US version of GDPR. Nayyar wrote that the point of such a law would be “gaining explicit consent for collecting data and deleting data if consent is withdrawn.” That sounds like an awesome idea, but after consulting Montulli, the privacy plot thickens.
Personally, I find it impossible to separate cookies and privacy online. I asked Montulli if it’s true that everything on the internet stays on the internet.
“No,” he says. That’s because information on the internet is detached from your current online presence. The purpose of the cookie is to allow a website to know when the same browser returns. The cookie may contain additional pieces of information. “But the predominant use of it is to pass an ID to your browser as an identifier,” he says.
“Therefore, they can see that this is the same browser that was here a few seconds ago or even a few months ago. But, once the cookie is cleared, there’s no longer any attachment to you.”
The lack of transparency about how cookies work and who manages the data collected from them is a big part of the problem. When you visit a primary website that has hired a third-party ad-tracking network, your browser can get a third-party cookie without your knowledge. “The lack of transparency means that another cookie by another website has added embedded content, without your knowledge.”
Montulli says that if you clear your browser’s cookies frequently there’s no longer any attachment to you and your personal data, at least for that first-party website. “When you return to that website after clearing your cookies, or even if you have a new set of cookies, there’s no association between your browser and the browser that connected to that site several months ago with that old cookie.”
To test the hypothesis, I tried managing and blocking cookies on random sites. I completely ignored the permission box on any that asked me to accept cookies. The majority of those sites allowed me access anyway. Only a few sites blocked me because I ignored the permissions box. In those cases, the only decision I had to make was whether to trust the site. Since I did not actually need to read any content from those sites, I simply moved on. Bottom line, it doesn’t hurt to select the cookies you want to accept and those you want to block. Just be prepared to do it every time you visit, or every time you clear your cookies, which you should probably get used to doing regularly.
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Confessions of an in-house creative strategist on feeling unfulfilled, difficulty in returning to agencies as the ‘pay is less’
The war for talent between agencies and brands’ in-house agencies has cooled. Even so, for adland talent who’ve made the move in-house, some say they are looking to go back to agencies after feeling creatively stifled. It’s not the easiest strategy to execute.
In the latest edition of our Confessions series, in which we trade anonymity for candor, we hear from an in-house creative strategist about their experience, why they want to go agency-side now and how pay is keeping them from doing so.
This conversation has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
What’s the in-house experience like?
I’ve been in-house for about a year. It’s very one-sided. The difference between agency and in-house is that with agencies, there [are] a lot of opinions and ideas [outside of the brand message] that go into creative. With in-house, you have the brand’s message and all creative is reflective of the brand’s message. With in-house, regardless of trends in the market, it’s a lot of ‘we’re going to stick to this one way of doing things’ mentality. It’s a lot of opinions about what the creative should be based on what it has been before. It makes it hard to introduce something fresh. It makes it hard to hire or be a new hire. If you’re not actually going to adhere to advice from new hires, what’s the point in getting new people? Are you just bringing people on board for a second opinion? That’s what it feels like.
Sounds like you don’t have the creative control you desire.
It feels like more of a second opinion role than to get something to manage or control. [Where I am now] it feels like we’re leaning more into what [our strategy] used to be than thinking about what we could be. That’s a big issue with in-house. With agencies, like I said, there’s a lot more trial and error. With in-house, a lot more of this is what we’re doing, these are the funds we have and this is what has worked in the past. In reality, a lot of what worked in the past, when you put it back into the market, it’s not going to work anymore.
Why do you think it’s more challenging to get to a new creative strategy in-house?
With agencies, you have multiple perspectives. You’re working on multiple brands. You can see something working for another brand and talk to your client about it. You can pivot. You have the background and perspective to [pitch that pivot]. When you’re in-house, you only have the knowledge of your brand and what’s working for you.
Are you looking to go back to agencies?
Personally, I am looking to go from in-house to agency but I get paid a lot more being in-house than what I’ve been offered at agencies. I’ve been in interviews with agencies where they’re telling me that I’ll be learning [programs I already know how to use] so that’s why the pay is less than what it should be. There are agencies I’ve interviewed with who ask me to move to New York for less than what I make now and make that work. [With inflation,] there’s no reason why salaries aren’t also increasing.
So you’d like to make the jump creatively but it’s hard when the compensation isn’t up to what in-house offers?
It’s hard. I’ve been lowballed, too. They’ll post a salary for a position, go through the interviews and then offer less than what’s listed on the salary description. What was the point of putting the salary range there? I feel like people are putting salary ranges on job descriptions just to attract people with the experience that they are looking for but by the time they make the offer, it’s not what they said it would be. It’s offensive.
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