Michael Block is chief operating officer at digital marketing agency Wpromote. Here he shares how Wpromote and its clients are navigating the new privacy landscape together.
It’s no secret that user data privacy concerns coupled with ongoing ad regulations have seismically shifted our advertising landscape, with even more profound changes still to come. In this environment, strong agency-client partnerships are more important than ever, as brands increasingly turn to their service partners to develop privacy-centric strategies while sustaining results.
Over the past year, privacy has evolved from a looming, abstract concept to a present-day imperative, and, not unlike the last decade’s “pivot to mobile,” it has forced many brands to seriously reevaluate their strategies. Then, as they do now, advertisers recognized the magnitude of a major swerve in the marketing landscape and raced to adapt. This shift represents an opportunity for agencies to step up, leverage insights from their diverse rosters of clients, and provide direction to advertisers hungry for answers. It’s critical for brands and agencies to partner now to thoughtfully build for the future and avoid a desperate sprint to the finish line.
At Wpromote, our privacy journey has been decidedly nonlinear, taking us through many trials, errors, and, eventually, successes. Our discovery process has helped us, together with our clients, recognize the magnitude of the shift underway and prioritize solutions that will help mitigate potential future data loss or diminishing performance, while respecting the rights of users.
We looked to our own experiences to put together three powerful principles that can help strengthen agency-client relationships and sustain performance outcomes during this period of transformation.
Realign your team structure
The biggest challenge for our clients is understanding how privacy shifts will impact their businesses. We’ve even seen some skepticism that these shifts should be prioritized at all. In our own privacy journey, we found that a small, anodyne change in organizational structure had a profound effect. At the beginning of this year, we designated a senior leader to oversee our agencywide privacy efforts, ensuring our clients and account teams would stay up to speed on the latest industry changes and prioritize implementation of privacy-preserving solutions.
It’s important to recognize that these solutions aren’t one-and-done. Agencies need to support their clients through continuing education that keeps pace with new developments. Picking the right solutions can feel daunting for clients, and it’s easy to get lost in the jargon. By delivering personalized trainings, workshops, and guides, we help our clients understand what’s changing in the industry and which solutions are currently available and relevant to their goals. At the same time, we’re building trust and empowering brands to adapt their road maps effectively, and developing long-term strategies to meet the moment.
Implement early and test often
Educating clients on the latest changes has led to swift adoption of privacy solutions. For instance, our client Taft, a direct-to-consumer men’s footwear brand, was eager to implement privacy-safe solutions early on. They understood that the quicker they moved, the better their data and, therefore, performance would be. Lindsey Sullivan, Taft’s VP of marketing and commerce, said, “Testing is scary because there’s no guaranteed return, but if you’re not testing early, you’re going to be left behind.”
Because of this open-minded approach, Taft established a robust measurement foundation early in 2022. The brand saw a 6% uplift in conversion data soon after implementing Google’s enhanced conversions for web and ensuring complete tagging across all properties. Thanks to their prioritization of these privacy-safe solutions, Taft has better insight into their customers’ journeys and a single source of truth for marketing decisions.
Once a strong tagging infrastructure and privacy-safe measurement are in place, Google’s automated solutions can unlock better results from your campaigns. When less user data is available, automation helps to fill in measurement gaps by intelligently combining your first-party data with other available signals. We’ve observed these improvements directly with clients that have adopted Performance Max campaigns, which launched this year.
It’s time to work together to fortify our measurement, educate each other, and embrace privacy-preserving solutions.
One of these clients was Helzberg Diamonds, the more than 100-year-old jewelry retailer. Helzberg partnered with Wpromote to lead the brand’s digital transformation after the pandemic sent jewelry customers and a spate of digital-first jewelry brands to the online marketplace.
To stand out from the competition, Helzberg now focuses on maximizing performance across all channels and relies on Google’s automation tools to drive growth for the business. The brand quickly realized that the success of this push was highly dependent on the strength of its measurement strategy. By incorporating offline sales signals into Google’s Smart Bidding algorithm, the team has a complete view of performance across channels and is now investing in Performance Max. As third-party cookies are phased out, we’re confident that clients who embrace automation and invest in privacy-centric measurement, like Helzberg, will continue to deliver on performance goals and be well-positioned for future growth.
The agency-client relationship is critical for navigating the evolving data privacy landscape, both because the shift to privacy resists “one size fits all” solutions and because we are in this for the long haul. As the old proverb goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Now is the time for agencies and clients to work hand-in-hand to fortify measurement, continue to learn, and embrace privacy-preserving solutions that prepare them for a successful holiday season and beyond.
Check out The Privacy Imperative for more information on how agencies can guide their clients.