How to put privacy first and accelerate your business’s economic recovery

Matt Brittin / October 2020

The time we spend online has soared since the pandemic began, up 60% globally, and interest in online shopping grew 200% worldwide during the peak of the crisis. Digital tools have been a lifeline during lockdown for many businesses to connect with their customers, and they will be a catalyst for the comeback. With this growth comes an increasing demand for privacy from users. Searches for ‘online privacy’ have grown globally by more than 50% year over year when comparing April until June 2020 to the same time last year. As more people go online, protecting their privacy is critical.

Brands that continually earn user trust will thrive

Protecting people's privacy is not only the right thing to do, but it's essential in earning trust — from both consumers and employees. Involve your team and vendors in this work so that the partners you work with are also prioritising user privacy.

Consumers want privacy

The Interactive Advertising Bureau found that 79% of UK consumers in all age groups are more likely to buy from companies that they feel acted responsibly during the pandemic. This includes sharing timely, helpful information and prioritising customer privacy. Conversely, 48% of people globally have stopped buying or using a service from a company due to privacy concerns.

Privacy is good business

Data privacy is also important to your staff. In a recent study by the World Federation of Advertisers, 82% of senior executives said they would consider leaving their employer if they felt its data practices were unethical.

Investing in privacy pays off. More than 40% of organisations see benefits at least twice that of their privacy spend. Focusing on privacy is not just good ethics, it’s good business — and can’t be ignored.

Unlock privacy-first growth by linking your data sources

First-party data that your customers have given you permission to use is the best information to help you navigate the recovery in a privacy-first way. That’s because it is collected directly from consumers and there is full transparency between the individual and the business. You have the opportunity to demonstrate a fair value exchange between customer and company, and give people a choice about whether and how their data is used.

Earlier this year we launched research with Boston Consulting Group, which found that companies that are able to better organise their first-party data can double their incremental revenue from a single ad placement. This customer data is effective because you can analyse it and use the insights to offer more relevant products and services. Using automation to do this can help you keep your campaigns efficient, and responsive, while respecting people’s privacy and permissions.

Privacy-first growth marketing

Privacy-first business practices are proven to drive better results, which are critical for businesses trying to reopen and recover after what has been a turbulent time for most.

FonQ is an ecommerce furniture store in the Netherlands selling everything from sofas to BBQs. They had a smart setup for their digital marketing, but they also had a huge offline database of every item sold, and where they had shipped it.

They used this offline data for expensive, direct marketing like door-to-door mailings. It is harder for people to unsubscribe from this kind of marketing if they no longer want to receive it, making it less-privacy safe and potentially damaging trust.

In April this year, they used Google Cloud products (like BigQuery) to securely integrate their offline data with BigQuery, using encryption so that no client data was shared with Google. Having successfully added this first-party data to their Google Marketing Platform, they drove a 34% higher return on ad spend for FonQ and made their marketing more timely and relevant. Most importantly, it gave their customers control of their own data.

Companies that are able to link all of their first-party data sources can double their incremental revenue from a single ad placement

Get the guide

With people spending so much more time online, the future will be even more digital — and privacy will matter more than ever. We’ve gathered helpful best practices and examples of how to navigate today’s privacy landscape in two new guides, one for marketers and one for publishers. Within them you’ll uncover how to:

  1. Build direct relationships with your customers by offering them valuable services that enhance their experience, with a responsible use of data.
  2. Manage data and discover insights using automation and cloud technology so that you can predict outcomes and optimise revenue without compromising privacy.
  3. Secure people’s data and manage it responsibly by providing clear privacy policies and ensuring that you offer people transparency, choice, and control.

As digital acceleration continues, so do people’s privacy expectations. Putting privacy first prepares your business for recovery and sustainable growth.

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