online privacy

Media Measurement in the Data Privacy Era

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The industry has had time to prepare for the deprecation of third-party cookies. What is more uncertain, though, is the broader future of data privacy and effective media measurement.

Marketers need to understand how to gather and leverage consumer data on the fly and according to protocol. Gartner forecasts increasing regulations will lead to more than one million organizations appointing a privacy officer by the end of 2022, a signal that now is the time to get serious about media measurement in the privacy era.

Let’s explore some simple tips to revamp media measurement strategies based on data privacy best practices.

Procure valuable first-party data

We are living in a new era — one in which sentiments and buying behaviors are changing across nearly every industry vertical. With that, it is critical for marketers to be harnessing first-party data.

But it goes beyond just gathering the data. First-party data has no real value to marketers if they don’t know how to put it to use. Marketers must also invest in understanding how to actually use the data to inform strategy.

Brands have relied on market research to better inform their strategies for years, and now it can serve as an excellent source of first-party data. Through research technology, or ResTech, marketers can ethically collect first-party data that allows them to pinpoint shifting sentiments and capture how their target demographic is feeling at any given moment. Additionally, the direct relationship with the individual naturally enables those providing information to give permission for their data to be collected and for brands to describe how the data will be used. 

When third-party cookies aren’t an option anymore, sourcing and integrating first-party data sets will be vital to a successful and compliant marketing strategy. Brands that do not capture, track, and analyze actionable customer data intelligence effectively are operating in a vacuum and will likely alienate their target audiences over time.

Use direct integrations to reduce reliance on third-party identifiers

This is the most critical piece of advice. Now is the time for brand marketers to consider building a system of direct, first-party integrations for media measurement. This can be accomplished by working with a variety of ad platforms and media companies as partners to understand how data is being exchanged.

Direct, server-to-server integrations enable more complete, accurate, and controlled data, which helps brands deliver an improved, privacy-first experience for consumers. Signals indicating consent and subsequent withdrawals of consent should be passed by and among all parties in the ecosystem, given that server-to-server integrations are necessarily technology based. Then, each party in the ecosystem, including advertisers and agencies, publishers, and adtech participants, should take action on those signals received.

No brand can establish its role in this new privacy-forward era alone. Smart brands will form a network of trusted partnerships with other marketers and media platforms. This circle of trust will ultimately lead to deeper data insights while also ensuring an added layer of data compliance through privacy regulations, opt-outs, and delete requests. 

The future of data privacy and the shift to first-party data solutions feels long overdue; it can also feel frustrating. But it doesn’t have to feel that way. Try to view the shift as an opportunity to build trust rather than as an unwelcome obstacle. Once we get this right, the benefits for brands and customers alike will be clear. 

Pauline Wen is General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer at Lucid.