The role of CMPs in today’s changing AdTech privacy landscape

Nov 18, 2021
Adtech Thought Leadership

Around the world, companies are having to respond to emerging privacy regulations by changing the way they collect and process consumer data. California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and, more recently, China’s Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) are just some of the regulations that have led to the need for more stringent consent practices.

While these changes are a significant step in addressing growing privacy concerns, they do introduce several new challenges for companies, impacting their digital advertising endeavors across channels. Here in Canada, the passing of Quebec’s private sector privacy law (Bill-64), which has most provisions coming into force in September 2023, indicates the need to consider regional-specific changes to consent and transparency practices. Failure to comply with these privacy laws can lead to hefty fines and can have a reputational impact.

How can organizations navigate these changes to consent and transparency requirements and ensure they’re being compliant?

That’s where the Consent Management Platform (CMP) comes in. CMPs are growing in popularity, as they deliver a solution for centralized consent management as well as allowing consumers visibility and control over how their data is used. From the user’s perspective, the CMP is displayed as a consent banner or pop-up clearly explaining the purposes for collecting and tracking his or her online behavior and activity (mainly through cookies). Users are offered the option of consenting or objecting consent for each purpose, and setting consent statuses for the affiliated adtech vendors listed within the CMP. Users who do not consent would then be shown less relevant ads (contextual ads as opposed to personalized ones).

CMPs that are registered with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) would benefit from a trusted framework which includes a centralized list of adtech vendors and the sharing of vendor consents from the CMP with all third parties. This helps ensure accountability and transparency across the full advertising supply chain.

From the company’s perspective, the CMP is a tool integrated within the larger technology ecosystem that serves to receive and store the consent data (often it will be considered the “source of truth” for consent data), and push it to other systems such as a CDP or to a database for broader accessibility.

How can organizations know whether a CMP is right for them?

Organizations that leverage website visitor data for content or ad personalization, remarketing, analytics or behavioural segmentation will want to consider using a CMP. Other common practices that merit the consideration of a CMP include: automated decision making based on behavioural data, and the sharing of website visitor data with third parties.

How can organizations select the right CMP for them?

As with any platform investment, there are many factors to examine. An assessment of business needs and requirements is of course necessary before determining which solution is the right one. Among the key questions to consider are:

  • Is an existing vendor product the way to go, or would a solution developed in-house suffice?
  • What cost and turnaround time are involved in implementing the solution?
  • How well does the platform integrate with the existing technology ecosystem?
  • Does the platform conform to high industry practices and standards (e.g. is it compliant with the IAB’s Transparency Consent Framework (TCF)?
  • Does the platform offer the functionality and configurability (e.g. mobile support, A/B testing, real-time reporting and dashboards, multi-language support, geo-specific consent configuration) required to meet business needs?
  • Does the platform maintain an audit trail across every collection point and action, including who consented, what they consented to, when, and how the consent was provided?

It’s also wise to select a platform that offers scalability. Often, CMPs carry a suite of other modules that can fulfill a current need of the business or support growing needs. A popular example of one such capability is marketing preference management, which lets organizations collect zero-party data on consumer contact preferences. Allowing consumers to choose which channels they wish to be contacted by, how often they wish to be contacted, and what content interests them most (e.g. promotional vs newsletter), lets companies send communications in more personalized, relevant ways. This improves consumer engagement and decreases opt-out rates.

When all is said and done, CMPs enable compliance, and provide reassurance and peace of mind in a world that is ever evolving in its demands for increased privacy. If rolled out with the consumer in mind, CMPs can create more positive user experiences, a sense of trust, and better brand likeability, benefiting everyone involved.


This blog is part of the CMA Adtech Committee’s Bi-Monthly Blog Series.

Have an adtech-related question you want answered in an upcoming blog? Drop us a line.

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Lina Ashkar

Personalization Platform and Enablement Lead Cineplex




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