online privacy

Expert Roundup: How Will Privacy Define the Near Term? Part I

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As Covid-19 took over the collective mindset of the past year, several previously prominent topics shifted to the back burner. But now that there’s a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, those previously resonant topics are re-emerging.

At the top of that list is privacy. 2019 and pre-pandemic 2020 were rocked by the tidal wave of privacy reform around digital advertising and data collection. And now that privacy is roaring back (though it never really went away), we’ve devoted March’s editorial theme to the topic.

As part of that thematic coverage, we’re back once again with a roundup of expert voices. What are practitioners and innovators in our community doing and saying about privacy? 

Starting with Part I, here are the insights we were able to gather from the community.

Street Fight’s March Theme: Pursuing Privacy


Kevin Dean, COO, Infutor, on Email’s Role in a Privacy-Compliant Future

Several market forces are colliding to make the privacy landscape as complicated as it has ever been. Third-party cookie targeting is being eliminated, privacy legislation is on the rise, and consumers want more control over how businesses use their data while still expecting targeted marketing. Virginia is the latest state to issue legislative guidance for increased consumer data privacy, and more than 10 other states are working on their own variety.

For marketers, these changes mean ensuring they have access to privacy-compliant data and the right technologies to properly link said data while protecting personally identifiable information (PII). Whether it’s privacy-compliant cross-platform identifiers or clean rooms and sandboxes that let marketers exchange data via privacy-compliant tokens, marketers have to ensure they are well versed in the latest tactics.

Many of these privacy developments point to an increasing reliance on email as a single point of truth to resolve consumer identities — that is if you can resolve for each consumer’s multiple and dormant emails and match them to one consumer profile. Also, email is a known and widely accepted identifier that many consumers are willing to extend to self-register and that brands can anonymize in a digital environment for privacy compliance. 

For these reasons, expect email’s prominence to surge, especially as marketers lean into privacy-first data collaboration to extend their identity resources. Given these changes, identity resolution will be critical to helping marketers responsibly expand their outbound reach and deliver the real-time personalization that today’s consumers value and expect… all while
remaining compliant within the new privacy landscape.

Blaine Britten, VP of Data Solutions, Stirista, on First-Party Tactics and Principles

Consumers are tired of feeling stalked while browsing the web. That has driven privacy legislation including GDPR, CCPA, and now VCDPA. With Google’s plan to sunset third-party cookies, and Apple’s restriction of tracking consumer data usage, the entire advertising industry is scrambling to find a suitable workaround.

While there are many solutions that will emerge, the collective industry must be mindful of the reason why we are in this situation. Consumers expect a better user experience. But, similar to a cold call or email campaign, a consumer must see some value exchanged in order for them to
engage. The entire industry – from brands and agencies to data companies of all shapes and sizes – need to be responsible stewards in the protection and transparency of how they use identity data.

Just because we have consumer data, we don’t have to use it all. For brands and their agency partners, be strategic in how you gather data and why you are gathering it. If it is to provide a better experience, good. If it is to give you another way to annoy your once very loyal customers, very bad. Customers aren’t impressed by how much data a brand has on them; it’s the way marketers use that information to provide a quality experience that matters.

Analyzing patterns in a user’s behavior based on the first-party data collected and tailoring personalized outreach based on those patterns in a non-creepy way can create a wonderful value exchange between the consumer and brand. And this marketing best practice will only grow in importance as consumer data controls and privacy legislation increase.

Nick Yang, Senior Expertise & Innovation Manager, fifty-five, on the shift to aggregated targeting

There’s been ample discussion around the “death of cookies” and what this means for marketing. As 2022 gets closer and proposed restrictions around third-party cookies on Google Chrome kick in, brands are now asking if and how they’ll be able to activate and measure personalized marketing.

As we move into the next year, measurement will be less impacted due to its primary reliance on first-party cookies. This means that core analytics capabilities (click-through measurement, analytics metrics like bounce rate, time on site, data import for CRM ingestion, etc.) will not be affected by environments where third-party cookies are more restricted. Rather, what will be impacted are things like view-through measurement, multi-touch attribution analysis and reporting, and any audience insights around demographic or affinity audiences. Things might get tricky on the activation side however, which is leading to many brands shifting focus to contextual targeting.

Target ads will still be a possibility moving forward. Several solutions are already being developed and put into practice. Google’s Privacy Sandbox — including FloCs and FLEDGE (which aim to enable prospecting and retargeting activations without the usage of third-party cookies) — are being watched keenly by the entire ad world.  If you’re in the market for a non-Google solution, various initiatives such as the Unified ID Solution 2.0, LiveIntent, and ID5 offer up alternatives to a post-cookie world. However, they come with their own limitations.

Stay tuned for Part II next week.