Claire Norburn, U.K. and Ireland Privacy Lead, Go to Market, and Adam Taylor, U.K. Privacy Lead, Google Marketing Platform, share their unique expertise and experience on some of the key privacy-related questions, issues, and expectations that all companies face today.
Advertising — and advertisers’ ability to reach their most relevant audiences — has evolved dramatically over the last hundred years. As John Wanamaker said at the turn of the 20th century: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.”
Today, this is quite different. No two ad experiences are the same. Marketers can personalise their campaigns at scale. And the ability to gain insights into audiences — the type Wanamaker could only have dreamed of — has been democratised for the masses.
One of the driving forces behind this shift is having data to help inform decision-making. It has led marketers today into a new challenge: how to bring all the benefits of data-driven marketing into a world that also puts data privacy first. The benefits of getting it right are clear. Research conducted by IPSOS suggests: that “users who feel in control of their personal data are three times more likely to react positively to advertising and twice as likely to find it relevant.”
It’s a challenge and an opportunity to create better marketing experiences for customers and businesses alike – it’s a two-way street. This article covers some of the key topics in preparing for a privacy-first world. It is informed by everything we’ve learned while helping clients overcome their own privacy challenges, with further insights drawn from Google marketing and industry experts.
What we mean by “data privacy”
When we talk about online data privacy for customers, we are talking about the ability of an individual to determine when, how, and to what extent their personal information is shared and used.
Why data privacy matters
As more people begin to manage their lives online, they have become increasingly interested in the ways their personal data is being used and managed. The risk is that negative privacy experiences can impact trust between customers and companies, and impair their ability to form a positive, sustainable relationship with them.
The key short-term data privacy challenges
In response to growing concerns over the way data is gathered and used, most mainstream browsers are phasing out third-party cookies. This means advertisers need to find new ways to engage with customers and measure success — ways that don’t rely on third-party data. It’s a challenge that’s compounded by the increasingly “messy”, non-linear purchase journeys that today’s customers make. From mobile shopping apps to social media aggregators, advertisers need to account for more touchstones than ever before as they try to bring customers closer to the products they’re interested in.
Take an approach to customer privacy that is proactive rather than reactive — responsible marketing should be seen as a growth opportunity.
How new privacy-preserving alternative technologies can help the industry move forward
People shouldn't feel they're being tracked across the web to enjoy the benefits that personalised advertising offers, and marketers shouldn't feel they need to follow their customers’ every move to deliver performance advantages. New privacy-preserving technologies are being developed to address this tension — the goal is to reduce reliance on cross-site and cross-app tracking, while also providing publishers and advertisers with the tools they need to help drive and measure their privacy-first marketing effectively.
You can keep up to date with the progress of the Privacy Sandbox — an industry-wide initiative bringing together many of these new technologies — and get additional insights from the Chrome Developer blog, where you can follow testing opportunities and the latest information.
Why being privacy-first, company-wide, is key
A number of C-level executives and business leaders shared their experiences of building privacy-first businesses – each bringing distinct ideas and strategies to the table: from developing the frameworks and common language that help everyone better understand privacy, to defining exactly who is accountable for privacy measures.
Also, inside Google marketing, we took a closer look at how our in-house marketers are adapting to a shifting privacy environment.
What’s clear: getting your privacy-first strategy right is a multi-year journey, and it takes more than just your marketing department to deliver it for it to be comprehensive, trustworthy, and effective. The C-suite should help define a strong privacy-centric culture, and bring it to life through your people and operations.
“Privacy is a subject matter that requires a lot of attention because it changes every day. You need people who are dedicated to constantly stay updated.”
— Ivana Bartoletti, Global Chief Privacy Officer, Wipro
How to hire the right privacy team
It’s crucial to have the right people filling privacy-centric roles in your organisation. For Ivana Bartoletti, global chief privacy officer at Wipro, it does not matter whether a candidate has a legal, security, data management, or other backgrounds entirely. What is most important is a candidate’s own relationship with privacy, and their drive to stay abreast of a topic that is changing almost daily. See here for more perspectives from business leaders on identifying candidates as you build out your privacy team.
Alternatively, if you’re not in the position to hire expertise in-house, you can work with accredited agencies. They also offer best-in-class solutions and the talent to help you prepare – hear from three U.K. agency leaders on where your privacy strategy needs to be by 2023.
How to exceed customer expectations with your privacy-first approach
Research published in 2021 between Google and Ipsos, a study with 7,200 Europeans, revealed that people are more likely to trust companies when they make it clear how they are using customer information and what they will offer in exchange. And when people are more likely to trust companies, marketers are more likely to see significant performance benefits.
From these findings, we developed a set of guiding principles to help marketers make their activities more meaningful, more memorable, and more manageable. The report champions proactive, privacy-first measures that help customers feel more in control, more willing to trust companies, and more willing to share their data with those companies. From here a much clearer picture of what impactful, privacy-first advertising looks like begins to emerge. One in which brands can engage their audiences, discover more about their customers and get the most complete picture of their campaign possible.
We hope these topics and tactics help you and your company with your own privacy-first journey — and maximise the opportunities it offers for advertisers.
Our overarching piece of advice: take an approach to customer privacy that is proactive rather than reactive. Deliver a feeling of control, build trust and forge mutually beneficial, sustainable relationships – and your business will continue to thrive.