A privacy reset is under way that will upend the way data is used in digital advertising. But advertisers aren’t alone in facing these changes and don’t need to wait to take control of their data and their future.
We have long worked under a centralized system where identity allowed us to understand who users are—and a lot of detail about their preferences—as they browse the web. These IDs are passed around from advertiser to advertiser, and there’s much data that sits within those IDs, raising the alarm among regulators due to heightened concerns around consumer privacy.
Of course, as an industry, we’ve come to agree that this is no longer an acceptable way to do business. The commoditization of user data left consumers feeling more like the product than the customer, and the last thing any legitimate marketer wants to be accused of is exploiting its customer base. Advertisers don’t need to track everything someone does online to serve them advertising. Instead, a new ecosystem puts privacy at the heart of the advertising enterprise and respects a user’s browsing behavior within individual environments.
The question for many brands remains, how do we adapt to this new world?
We are moving toward a decentralized system where the privacy reset will favor those with a one-to-one relationship, protecting the connection between publishers, advertisers and the end-user where that end-user understands how their personal data is used and by whom. This connection allows the publisher or advertiser to utilize this first-party data without the need for any ID workarounds—and safeguards their businesses against volatile changes occurring in the industry.
It enables publishers to serve ads against those who visit their websites without giving any identity to third parties to pass IDs around the internet. This is good news for everyone. Why? Because crucially, this new reality enables publishers and advertisers to build trust with consumers who have demonstrated they will stop doing business with a brand if they feel their data is not being respected.
There are legal and ethical ramifications of continuing to engage in bad data practices for advertisers. Publishers, too, need to be equipped to understand users without identifying them, protect the advertisers’ first-party data, and build a sustainable, privacy-compliant construct for moving forward.
The most important thing is to come to terms with the fact that this new, privacy-centric world is inevitable.
Much has been made of Google’s recent announcement that it would delay third-party cookie deprecation until the end of 2023, but it’s done little to slow the privacy juggernaut disrupting our business.
There’s much chaos in the market and many unknowns regarding privacy. Big tech companies make privacy-related announcements, often every week. That is confusing, and it causes tremendous discomfort for advertisers. A recent Forrester survey of 105 advertisers in the U.K. and the U.S. found that just 23% of marketers have laid down a formal strategy for adopting publishers’ first-party data to fuel their marketing strategies. That is why it is essential that brands test with trusted partners—publishers and technology—that allow them to safely onboard and activate their first-party data. It’s a solution that advertisers don’t need to wait for; publishers have been focused on their cookieless strategies and solutions since Apple removed third-party cookies in Safari.
How do they do that without compromising data? How can they forge direct relationships with publishers? Those brands working with media agency partners have a leg up when it comes to these considerations. The agencies understand the publisher landscape and know which publishers are most strategic for advertisers to work with. With that knowledge, they can make recommendations about which advertisers they should be building long-term partnerships with.
The other thing that advertisers need to test is the inner workings of their first-party data: assessing how much data they have, where it’s housed and how it gets accessed and deployed. Once the due diligence around these questions gets sorted, testing out all that data is essential toward understanding the capabilities it presents.
It bears remembering how we arrived at this juncture in the first place. A couple of decades ago, a media buyer got a brief from a client, and the buyer phoned the media owner and agreed to the parameters for the advertising, then money was exchanged. That’s how digital media worked—then.
But this is now. And now, there are multiple partners connected to every transaction, and those transactions happen in milliseconds. Instead of focusing on the user experience, those users, and their data, have been sold off. The gap between advertisers and publishers has grown wider with every third party that has been able to access and harvest that data. Privacy is not going away, and any business that ignores user privacy will not be sustainable, let alone survive. Don’t rely on third parties to magic a solution to your challenges. Safeguard your value by protecting your first-party data and building direct relationships with other first-party data owners. In doing so, you protect your consumer and revenue.
Permutive hosted an event, “The Great Privacy Reset,” on July 14. To watch on demand, click here.