Last week Amazon announced partnerships in shopping with both Meta and Snap. Essentially, this sends a clear signal that Meta and Snap will not be having any of their own ambitions to be in the business of commerce, instead partner with Amazon. Not sure, this is an exclusive deal, but I would like to believe it is not. App tracking limitations and the related permissions and consent are now becoming the norm, first with Apple and then with Chrome, thanks to the tightening of regulations on privacy. So, unless and until you are super app, inability to transmit consent across multiple enterprises is a very big friction in performance marketing.
With this partnership, Meta users will get a “Sponsored Ad Pop Up” asking consumers to give explicit consent to link their App with Amazon to get up to date pricing and delivery information, see more relevant advertising and get better check out experiences. Amazon will share with Meta, whether you are Prime member or not, so that they can offer other Prime exclusive features.
This is not a session based consent. This is a “commerce only” button, which Meta can show on their advertisements from merchants on products eligible for Prime shipping. Amazon will not share specific shopping actions like purchases, product views and searches on Amazon’ stores, neither will Amazon share any personally identifiable information, which will all be gated through Prime subscription only.
Innovations of this kind are very rare, particularly when two larger enterprises who are under constant scrutiny from regulators on privacy, are coming together to share data in a compliant manner. Amazon seems to have cracked this framework to be able to sign another such partnership with Snap as well. This sets the stage for a scaled up social commerce with more applications on our phone circumventing the App tracking limitations in iOS and Android. This is a marriage of convenience, with a specific focus on commerce, but now can be extended to various other services across mobility, commerce, banking, insurance and a whole host of utilities.
Amazon has made their intent very clear to be the leader in social commerce without becoming a social media network. And social media networks like Meta and Snap have realised too, that commerce comes with a fulfilment responsibility, which they will not be able to live up to. Which is why innovations like these are very important and crucial. This sets the stage for new collaboration benchmarks. Most of the super apps today are not specialists in all the services they are trying to bundle together. More so, the deep insights, specialist apps can offer in the form consumer behaviour and attitudes just cannot be bargained for in a super app.
What Amazon has done with these deals is to make other specialist apps to think hard about who could be their collaboration partners. This sets the stage for something between the app and the super app. A consortium agreement between multiple super specialist companies to share their data in a compliant manner to offer a suite of utilities. Not just in social commerce. But on a whole host of utilities across retail, media, sports, gaming, entertainment, banking, insurance, finance and education. Tokenisation technologies offers such neutral and independent services for a consortium. A utility layer, that offers collaboration capabilities for enterprises to share their data for a specific purpose in a privacy compliant manner.
Innovation like this opens up new opportunities for normal “Specialist Apps” to strike deals like this for specific services. For example, a car company can replicate the similar construct with an insurance company were specific information can be shared for certain identified purposes only, for which explicit consent is secured in perpetuity. The point to be noted is “in perpetuity”. This is not a session based consent. This is a data sharing deal between two enterprises, as a bipartite agreement. If more than two enterprises want to strike a deal like this, ownership of managing such transactions cannot be with any one of them, one that will need an independent and neutral entity.
Between an app and a super app, there could be an invisible collaboration layer that enables multiple apps to share data in a privacy compliant manner, circumventing the app tracking limitations in the form long term data sharing deals. Emerging industries like gaming is likely to take this route. Legacy long tail apps will need to think hard about their survival. Collaboration is the only option.
Gowthaman Ragothaman is a 30-year media, advertising and marketing professional and CEO of Aqilliz, a blockchain solutions company for the marketing industry.