Google Passes Privacy & Legal Hot Potato to Publishers

In Q1 2024, Google is launching support for programmatic bidding on inventory eligible for Limited ads. This new serving mode will allow for contextual programmatic demand when publishers are serving Limited Ads, and enables demand from Google Demand, Authorized Buyers, Open Bidders, & SDK Bidding.

Google Ad Manager Team

This sounds like a great new product feature right?


Go on… read the entire thing:

Upon examining this announcement, I’m concerned about the implications for GDPR compliance. The use of invalid traffic detection-only cookies and local storage without explicit user consent raises red flags as GDPR places a significant emphasis on transparency, user consent, and the lawful processing of personal data.

The conditions under which programmatic demand is enabled seem to be framed carefully. While Google suggests publishers consult with their legal teams, it’s imperative to have a thorough understanding of how this feature aligns with a company’s own privacy policy and legal posturing.

My 2 cents?

The requirement for publishers to determine for themselves whether user consent is necessary indicates that it is fraught with privacy issues that Google can’t win, and have decided to punt the issue downstream.

Beau Ross