Data Is King. So How Can Marketers Survive Privacy Reforms?

Data Is King. So How Can Marketers Survive Privacy Reforms?

Most marketers, agencies, and brands agree that data is king. Love it or hate it, there is no denying that data is a powerful tool for targeting consumers.

Yet the world of data is facing several seismic privacy changes that will have huge consequences for the entire advertising industry. Marketing teams around Australia are now having conversations about data privacy, trackability and the impact on consumers and advertising effectiveness alike.

The Key Privacy Changes Impacting Marketers

There are three key privacy challenges which are going to have the biggest impact on marketing teams in the new year, according to TRKKN Managing Director, Gavin Lockhart (Lead Image):

● Federal Changes: In February, the Australian government reviewed 116 proposed changes to the 1998 Privacy Act. The government are estimated to agree with 38 changes and are likely to ‘agreed in principle’ to the other 68, which will directly impact Australian businesses in 2024.

● Digital Platforms: Privacy legislation means the likes of Meta, Google, Amazon, and Salesforce which collect data in ways that aren’t always explicitly shown to a person online may need higher levels of consent around the consumer data they are collecting.

● This will impact the data they can pass on to advertisers, and thus, impact targeting and measurement. One of these changes that might impact advertisers is the introduction of “controllers” and “processers” of data, similar to what the European Union included in GDPR.

● Technology Vendors: Apple has introduced Safari Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) and Google Chrome is set to remove third party identifiers such as cookies. This means digital ads targeting and measurement will be heavily impacted next year, as these two browsers make up the majority of internet traffic activity across Australia.

All these changes, which focus on consumer consent, mean that having a first-party data strategy in place is more important than ever before. Not having one can have significant financial consequences for brands, Lockhart says.

For one TRKKN client, there was a risk of $5 million in sales not being attributed back to the appropriate channel that the team had been auditing. If marketers are using data to drive decisions on incorrect data they may start to lose trust in the medium and even pull back spend.

Shifting To the European Privacy Model

Born out of regulation-heavy Europe by two ex-Googlers, TRKKN is a digital analytics, ad technology, and cloud consultancy business that helps brands and agencies to implement first-party data strategies.

“We have a lot of learnings from our European counterparts, who have tackled significant data privacy changes previously,” Lockhart says.

TRKKN has “privacy baked into its DNA” with clients completing data audits and first-party assessments as part of our introductory methodology.

TRKKN supports brands “not just in terms of privacy, and how it will affect the way marketers communicate to their audiences, but also from a platform perspective, taking into account how platforms are changing the way they collect data, and the availability of that data.”

Tackling Blind Spots

The first step to implementing a first-part data strategy is identifying blind spots, Lockhart says.

“When there are blind spots in the path to conversion (from impression, to click, to sale) we identify parts of that journey that might be missing and use machine learning and AI to extrapolate the detail. But first we need to provide the right signals to inform the algorithms.”

One solution for sharing these signals is using server-based tag managers, which allows brands to set cookies and control cookies on a first-party basis.

Google Tag Manager Server Side (sGTM), for example, allows brands to set cookies from their server enrich with their first party signals, and allow platforms such as Google Campaign Manager to gain a more accurate view of Ads to Sales.

With Google and Meta both moving to API and first-party data signals for measurement and filling in those targeting blind spots, their solutions such as Google’s Enhanced Conversions and Metas Conversions API can be implemented quite seamlessly with sGTM.

Other solutions are as simple as asking customers whether their login or subscription information can be anonymously tracked to improve their own buying and advertising experiences to having elaborate 1st party data strategies provide value exchange to both the brand and the customer, Lockhart adds.

This could mean anonymously (using an ID not exposing any Personally Identifying Information) tracking habits to ensure they don’t have products they have already bought advertised to them, and only see relevant ads, with the benefits of also being able to measure the campaigns effectiveness that drove the impressions and clicks that resulted in the online or offline conversion.

‘Despite the demand by consumers for control over their data, more regulation being enforced and technology changes to how data is collected; consumers still expect relevant experiences and personalised ads when they interact with brands online.

“We’re in a privacy paradox, where privacy changes are being made with great intentions but may have severe impact on marketers. For example, consumers may be presented the same advertisement time and time again, which has no real relevance to them, or, they’ve already purchased the product being advertised.

“In my personal opinion, Government, advertising and technology leaders would significantly benefit from understanding each other’s worlds more, to make decisions that will provide consumers with relevant adverts whilst safely having their consent to use their data for marketing purposes.”

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