• Marketing

Ethical Marketing: Leveraging Data Privacy to Improve Customer Experience and Brand – Part II


As discussed in Part I of this blog, leading edge companies are looking at the trends in data privacy and recognizing two things: 1) This trend is likely to continue and 2) while it presents challenges to the marketing ecosystem as it exists today, it also presents significant opportunity to design a new and better experience for current and prospective customers.

LiveRamp VP, Head of Innovation & New Business Rishabh Jain joined former Obama administration Acting Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce and WireWheel Founder Justin Antonipillai to discuss these issues for a webinar entitled Ethical Marketing: Where Trust and Personalization Intersect.

“Designing that experience is the thing we’re starting to hear brands and publishers ask for advice about” notes Rishabh.“They are seeking input regarding the best ways they can create and maintain a trusted relationship with the consumer. Many recognize too, that this is an opportunity to design an experience that puts trust and transparency at the center of all consumer interactions, not just those that are covered by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or California’s Consumer Privacy Rights Act (CPRA).”

Transparency and Trust and Disruption

Consider Apple’s the release of iOS 14. IOS 14 contains new privacy features. It mandates that app developers disclose what data the app collects and label specific information that could be used to track users across the web. “Opt out” will now be on an app by app basis.

Other iOS 14 privacy features include measures that prevent an app accessing the microphone or camera without the user’s knowledge. There is also a new location data option that allows the user to share “approximate location” rather than the current option of not sharing location at all or sharing the more precise location (Brandon, 2020). This last addition seems to be a response to the new category of “Sensitive Personal Data” (SPI) defined in the CPRA. “Precise geolocation data” is considered SPI.

This is a great example of Rishabh Jain’s missive: “if you show that you’re listening and you show that you’re listening sooner rather than later, [the consumer] will trust you more.” Is there a more trusted brand than the world’s first two-trillion-dollar company?

“My big takeaway, continues Jain, “from the CCPA, CPRA, Apple and other announcements is that it is pretty clear what consumer expectations are going to be moving forward. If you set up the interactions correctly today, you are more likely to maintain and gain the trust of your consumers in the future.”

As significant as this and other announcements have been, Google’s 2022 scheduled execution of the third-party cookie (Chrome will no longer accommodate them) is certainly the most disruptive to marketers, Ad Tech, and the highly effective strategy of retargeting.

The End of Third-Party Cookies: “Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship”

So what does this mean for marketers?

“Essentially, when I go from one website to another there is no consistency in ID” explains Jain. If, for example, “I’m on the Gap website, Gap knows who I am. When I’m on The New York Times website, [they] know who I am. “But to talk to each other, all of a sudden it becomes very difficult. So now you have question: how do I effectively market and what types of data sharing will happen once you get out of a third-party cookie world?”

“What we will start to see” continues Rishabh, “is more websites seeking a direct login or authentication from the consumer. The New York Times is a great example. When you go to their website today, they will very quickly ask you to login with your email. It’s an example of a publisher who is thinking ahead and trying to get a direct relationship with their consumer.”

Third-party cookies and the cross-context behavioral targeting it enables has never been a favorite of consumers. While comfortable with first-party cookies and appreciative of the enhanced experience it can offers when engaging a brand, third-party cookies are outside that relationship. This plays a role in why “the majority of consumers today know they are not in control of their data.” (Consumer Report, 2020).

This was not lost on the drafters of the CPRA. “The Act introduces a definition of “cross-context behavioral advertising” for the first time:

‘Cross-context behavioral advertising’ means the targeting of advertising to a consumer based on the consumer’s personal Information obtained from the consumer’s activity across businesses, distinctly-branded websites, applications, or services, other than the business, distinctly-branded website, application, or service with which the consumer intentionally Interacts. (Dr. Ryan, 2020).¹

As disruptive as this is, there is opportunity to improve customer relationships and reap the rewards. The same Consumer Report states that “evidence suggests that technology companies focused on privacy and security will see significant upside. The upside comes from higher regard for brand and higher willingness to pay (emphasis added).”

“Once you start sharing data based [on] direct consumer interaction…this is where the infrastructure you [lay] out early will help” says Rishabh. “You want to make sure that the consumer understands that on a first party basis (the website and the consumer) you are setting up a relationship [where] you can actually use their data with your downstream partners.” In short, it is a trusted relationship.

Future Proofing

Right now is the time to lay the foundation for these new direct relationships notes Rishabh. “The future doesn’t become less complex, unfortunately it becomes more complex.” Brands and publishers need to think about how they want to build this new infrastructure – in the right way – now.

Getting ahead of consumer data issues with the right infrastructure that accurately maintains permissions, respects privacy, and keeps consumer data secure, the more likely you can maintain and grow a customer base that trusts you.

There are proven, concrete steps to take to position well for the immediate future we know, and position for what we don’t. Justin offers the following advice:

  1. The earlier you start to establish direct trusted engagement with your consumers, with appropriate permissions and ability to show them all the information in a concise, clear way the better.
  2. This should include clarity and transparency in communicating how you plan to collect and use data. The sooner you create those interfaces, the better off you are.
  3. The infrastructure, solutions and workflows should be flexible and configurable to accommodate changes. You want an agile partner that can quickly adopt to change.
  4. You will want to partner with an expert in configurability and how to operationalize the consumer data continuum from initial interaction, to permissions handling, and when necessary, handling DSARs with the auditability necessary to comply with regulatory requirements.
  5. Your website should have core easily understood messaging that you can effectively manage their preferences (opt in or out or limitations in the use of their data) internally, and in data sharing environments.

Watch Now: Ethical Marketing: Where Trust and Personalization Intersect

[1] Dr Ryan contributed to the text of the CPRA