Consumers have finally had enough of having their every move tracked online. Third-party cookies are now inherently viewed with suspicion. And in a bid to regain trust, digital advertising is evolving.
But adapting to the new privacy-centric landscape is a daunting prospect for many marketers.
We joined digital marketing agency Mediaworks to discuss the impending changes, why they should be viewed as an opportunity, and what agencies should be doing right now to help their clients.
How We Got Here
Whilst Apple and Google’s announcements have generated renewed interest in online privacy, the reality is these changes have been coming for quite some time.
Consider the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Or the privacy storm following the introduction of GDPR. Or the countless data breaches in recent years.
As a result, user data and privacy is far more prominent in the public consciousness. Consumers are regaining control of how big tech, internet providers, and social media platforms use their data. The entire digital industry is shifting the way it operates. And that means digital marketing needs to change and adapt too.
The Challenge For Marketers
Third-party cookies made the internet ultra-personal, allowing companies to track browsing behavior and harvest all sorts of information to generate consumer insights that can be sold to the highest bidder. The digital landscape is now moving away from this model. But users still expect a great (i.e. relevant and helpful) online experience. And to provide that, marketers need data.
So what can we do?
“There has to be a price paid for privacy-centricity…to find that equilibrium between having online privacy and being able to provide a great online experience,” as our CMO, Pete Rawlinson put it.
First-party data. And if you’re expecting customers to hand that over, you better be sure you’re providing value in return. People now know and understand their data is valuable. And they aren’t going to hand it over without an incentive.
Why First-Party Data Is So Important
First-party data is not a new concept. It’s been around a while. But there was no real need to focus on it when all marketers had ubiquitous access to reams of third-party data.
As Pete explains, “Relying on third-party data resulted in a lack of focus on the customer.”
Now, marketers need to take the initiative. “This (move towards first-party data) gives marketers new opportunities to really understand their customers and what they want,” Pete concludes.
Or as David Norris of Mediaworks put it, “It’s a move away from transactional marketing”.
What Should Marketers Be Doing to Help Their Clients?
Rachel McGuigan, Head of Insights and Innovation at Mediaworks, outlined the best place to start. “Understand what consent you have (within your first-party data). Lots may have opted out of being marketed to, so there’s a bit of data-cleansing to do first” she said.
Next consider data minimisation. George Singleton, Solution Engineer at Lunio said “Is the data you have relevant? And is there a use case for it?”. If not, then it doesn’t make sense to keep it.
Ben Homer of Mediaworks also encourages marketers to check usability across internet providers to establish what portion of customers come from each one. “Assessing this in advance will help to make sure any drop-offs aren’t too big” he said.
Lastly, figure out new ways to get first-party data. “Introduce interactives on your website. Start conversations on social media. Run competitions. Build personalization features on your website where people can tailor preferences,” said Rachel.
Here’s a brief summary of some key points from the webinar:
- “Take action now. Don’t wait for Chrome to disable third-party cookies before you do anything. Make the most of ‘early-mover advantage’”.
- “Use contextual targeting.”
- “Have a plan – and a back-up plan.”
- “Utilize your first-party data.”
You can also download our report “Advertising in a Privacy-First World” here.