The common water cooler topic of a “cookieless future” and privacy restrictions in data enablement are causing headaches for organizations across the globe. It is clear that it is not just the shifting regulatory and technical landscape that need to be top of mind—more importantly is the changing consumer sentiment with respect to users and their data.
We see these expectation changes clearly in recent studies: “Two-thirds of customers say they will stop buying from companies that misuse their data” (Adobe & Advanis) and “81 percent of people say that the potential risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits” of that collection (Pew Research). Meanwhile, these same consumers have never expected more as it relates to personalization: “91 percent of internet users aged 16-74 say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them” (Ipsos/Google Global Trends Report). Organizations are left asking: how can we meet consumer expectations for personalization (which requires data from users) while at the same time meeting expectations as it relates to data privacy?
On June 21, 2022 InfoTrust and Google held the second annual Durability Summit, presenting topics and strategies organizations should be focusing on to address these concerns and transform to privacy-centric marketing organizations. The summit was organized into several sections with discussions related to each core pillar of privacy-centricity. Let’s dive into each session to highlight the main takeaways.
Session 1: Winning Customers’ Hearts with a Privacy-Centric Strategy
Presenters: Kevin Hartmann, Chief Analytics Evangelist, Google & Michael Loban, Chief Growth Officer, InfoTrust
In the opening keynote, Kevin and Michael discussed the need to prioritize and focus on relationships with consumers as the central strategy for data enablement in the new privacy-focused environment. Organizations must focus on meaningful relationships and remember that consumers are real people. As you work through digital data collection and usage, think about people as they behave in the real world—there is a real need for value exchange in the relationship and to take qualitative insights in conjunction with quantitative data analysis.
- The hallmark of great relationships is lifetime value. Use Customer Lifetime Value as the core metric to measure and improve your consumer relationships.
- Segment consumers based upon CLV and develop strategies for each segment. Think about how to ensure effective value exchange with your most valuable customers and develop ways to improve loyalty from lower value segments.
- CLV measurement doesn’t have to be perfect. Start with basic calculations to begin segmentation and improve sophistication over time. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of better.
- Remember that leaders focus on brand equity measures. Leverage social listening to understand brand emotion and sentiment. This can often be great feedback on the effectiveness of your value exchange.
- Great relationships lead to better first-party data, which is the foundation of all data practices moving forward. Work to improve first-party data capture and lean on machine learning and AI to derive useful insights from your owned datasets.
- As analysts, understand the ask behind the ask. As marketers and advertisers, come with the challenge or question you are trying to answer and let your analysts work through solution development. Be data led and don’t try to lead the data.
- The foundation of great relationships is trust. There are many brand-to-consumer interactions; each one is a 1-to-1 relationship. Keep this top of mind!
Session 2: Respect the Privacy of Users: Data & Compliance as the Central Engine
Presenters: Cassidy Sehgal-Kolbet, Chief Data Governance & Associate General Counsel, L’Oreal & Lucas Long, Director of Privacy Strategy, Tag Inspector
In the second session of the day, Cassidy and Lucas discussed the ways in which internal teams should be collaborating and approaching the theme of respect for users. With trust being the foundational component of all consumer relationships, it is more important than ever to instill privacy principles at all levels of data activities, from strategy through execution. Critical to this is the interplay between data and compliance teams. Ensuring this internal relationship is strong will be a key for organizations regardless of the regions within which they operate.
- Things have really changed! One needs to look at all activities through the consumer lens, which is a new concept for many organizations on the privacy and data front.
- The tables have turned in many respects with more recent U.S. legislation. U.S. laws have more protections than EU legislation as it relates to biometric data and profiling. It’s imperative to keep this in mind as we begin to get into more modeling and advanced use cases.
- Patchwork privacy in the United States is a huge operational burden. We must find common ground and define a more holistic approach as a foundation.
- Think more creatively about consent and disclosure to users about data usage! Give users meaningful choice in a way that they understand to grow trust and develop meaningful relationships.
- Nothing is more important than respecting the privacy preferences of users.
- Have honest conversations about risk management and the cost of compliance. Some traditional tactics, while still potentially possible, may not be worth the cost of compliance moving forward.
- Include privacy/compliance teams as early as possible in marketing and advertising strategy discussions. You’re all on the same team—co-create solutions that can be supported by all.
- Compliance and privacy teams are your friend! Everyone is working in the same direction to realize organizational success and deliver the best experience for our consumers.
Session 3: The Move From Client-Side to Server-Side Data Distribution with sGTM
Presenters: Adam Fer, Product Manager, Google & Tyler Blatt, Lead Analytics Engineer, InfoTrust
The third session of the summit started the discussion around “first-party ownership of first-party data”. While much has been made about the importance of first-party data in the new privacy-centric environment, not enough has been discussed about the best architecture to manage the collection and processing of that data. With technical restrictions on the rise and a real need for control to ensure compliance policies are adhered to, server-side data distribution is a core need for organizations to transition to. Adam and Tyler discussed many of the shortcomings of traditional client-side tag management and how server-side Google Tag Manager (GTM) can help alleviate a lot of these issues to set your organization up for success.
- Key challenges with client-side tag management
- Control and governance
- First-party data ownership
- Ability to react to the future of advertising
- Governance at-scale
- Managing piggybacking
- Site speed and performance
- Server-side tag management is built for the cloud. It allows the routing of data from all of your digital touchpoints to a central, company-owned server before forwarding the data to Google or any other third party.
- By managing the entire distribution process with sGTM, you are able to assert control over exactly what data is sent to which partner—significantly reducing compliance risk.
- Server-side data distribution allows you to stream interaction and (compliantly collected) user data directly to an owned datawarehouse like BigQuery to power advanced analysis and activation.
- Data enrichment during the process of collection and distribution unlocks many advanced use cases for integration and ensures data quality.
- Server-side tag management is the way of the privacy-centric future. It’s important to start now to begin pilots and define the ideal architecture for your data pipelines in the future.
Session 4: GA4 as a Critical Place to Begin Your First-Party Data Strategy
Presenters: Courtney Fenstermaker, D2C Team Lead, InfoTrust & Brad Prenger, Director of Partnerships, InfoTrust
In the fourth session of the day, we continued diving into the theme of “first-party ownership of first-party data” and the importance of first-party interaction data to guide strategic decisions. As fewer signals and behavioral data is available from third-party providers, the information able to be collected from owned and operated digital properties takes center stage. A great way to collect and make use of this data is with Google Analytics 4 (GA4). The new iteration of Google Analytics provides many privacy-first features and a new data model to help enable modeling and more advanced downstream use cases. Courtney and Brad discussed the approaches you should take to get the most from this rich data source.
- Types of data in the new environment:
- Third-party data – Behavioral, interest-based, and demographic data that is collected by an external source; sometimes anonymized or aggregated
- Will be less available due to technical changes and privacy regulations
- Second-party data – Behavioral data collected which is another company’s first-party data and shared directly with you
- Usage will likely depend on industry and sharing is limited to interactions between trusted partners
- First-party data – Data about your consumers gathered and owned by your organization; can enrich user identity or create personalized customer experience
- Should the be primary focus of data collection as it is the most privacy-centric and durable
- Zero-party data – Subset of first-party data focused on data your customer explicitly chooses to provide to your organization to add value to your relationship
- Provides an opportunity to create greater touchpoints with your most loyal and engaged consumers
- Third-party data – Behavioral, interest-based, and demographic data that is collected by an external source; sometimes anonymized or aggregated
- Collecting first-party data is not enough—you must be able to activate and derive insights.
- Not all first-party data is collected in a compliant way. Understand regulations and limitations you may have.
- T-ETL-T approach to getting started with GA4:
- Tag – Deploy GA4 across all digital properties
- Extract – Move your UA data ASAP to an owned data warehouse to preserve historical data
- Transform – Translate the most important metrics from UA to GA4 to ensure your KPIs will be measured
- Load – Import the important metrics chosen to dashboards to begin migration from the UA interface
- Train – Educate internal stakeholders to ensure your team is prepared to successfully transition to GA4
Session 5: Strategies for Privacy-First Measurement and Activation
Presenters: Lisa Tanzosh, Ads Privacy Specialist, Google & Michael Loban, Chief Growth Officer, InfoTrust
Transitioning from the topics of first-party data collection, in this session Lisa and Michael discussed various strategies and technologies available for measurement and activation of your data. The reality of the new environment is that there are less directly observable signals available in the data. Without third-party cookies, traditional means of audience creation are likewise upended. Due to these factors, competitive advantage is now predicated on the ability to better collect first-party data, use advanced modeling to fill observable data gaps, and best leverage new privacy preserving technologies. There is unfortunately no silver bullet that will be available. It is time to focus on the fundamentals, test and learn as solutions become available, and place machine learning at the center of insight generation.
- It is more important than ever to build direct relationships with customers based on responsibly–gathered first-party data. Focus on building that direct relationship to drive consumer trust with your brand.
- After building a direct relationship, you need to have the infrastructure and tools in place to effectively use that data. Do this by investing in technical solutions that support innovation such as a CRM, CDP, or a cloud service provider like GCP to help organize the information shared by consumers.
- Link first-party data with Google’s advertising and measurement tools to help future-proof measurement and optimize for business outcomes in a privacy-safe way.
- The marketing ecosystem is shifting from machine-learning enhanced to machine-learning driven. First-party data provides the foundation for this machine learning.
- Lean on new solutions such as Google’s Enhanced Conversions to complement directly observed interaction data from digital properties.
- Privacy readiness priorities are unique to each marketer’s objectives. Understand your objectives, how current tactics are impacted by the changes happening, and prioritize what is going to move the needle for your business.
- “Wait and see” is not a viable option. We already live in a “cookieless world” for many consumers and regulations are already in place impacting many aspects of the ecosystem. Create a roadmap to your ideal state today and begin testing and learning new strategies and capabilities.
- There is tremendous opportunity for the industry as a whole to develop more effective solutions while better upholding the rights and expectations of users with respect to their data.
Session 6: Transformation to Privacy-Centricity: Lessons From the Process
Presenters: Jon Euerle, Measurement Product Manager, General Mills & Lucas Long, Director of Privacy Strategy, Tag Inspector
The day was filled with strategic and tactical recommendations to approach the new marketing and advertising environment. In the final session of the day, Jon and Lucas discussed the more practical issues of change management and how to lead your organization in privacy-centric transformation. The themes of embracing the change and focusing on incremental improvement were central to the discussion of transformation. Setting out a roadmap and making iterative progress is the key to making it to your destination.
- “Transformation” doesn’t have to be a big-and-bold change, but rather can simply mean making a conscious decision to do things differently on a consistent basis. Transformation happens over time.
- Get ahead of coming changes and impacts as much as possible. It’s critical to be able to articulate what the changes will mean to your brands or business.
- Prioritization is critical—have the ability and the power to say ‘no’. Empower teams to push back so that you can prioritize the work that matters and encourage positive discourse.
- Make sure you put end-users in a position for success with regards to adoption. Tools, processes, or capabilities are only as good as the people using them. The job is not done on launch day, but rather when value is able to be realized as a result.
- Get much closer with your legal teams. Involve them early in strategy and design processes to ensure solutions being developed are compliant.
- Understand the ‘why’ of the brand or business. The concept of ‘only collect what you need’ is a requirement to ensure consumer trust and a compliant architecture. It’s important to understand the need and then be intentional about only collecting what is absolutely necessary to satisfy the use case.
- Be honest about where your brand or business is in their digital journey. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.
- Most organizations are not getting the absolute most from what they already have. Turn the focus back inward to see what is there already and what new insights are available that you likely never knew were possible.
- Keep proper perspective. We are all experiencing similar changes and challenges. You’re not alone and you have great people and support around you. Embrace the chaos.
A Final Word
In all, the Durability Summit covered the core aspects of privacy-centric transformation. Start with the purpose we should all share—to exceed the expectations of consumers. To do this we must begin by prioritizing consumer relationships. The cornerstone of these relationships should be the respecting of the privacy rights and expectations of users. Taking this a step further, assert first-party control over first-party data to ensure privacy policies are followed and gain more insights into our highest value consumers. These insights can form the foundation for our marketing and advertising decisions moving forward. The transformation is not simple; it requires a reassessment of many tactics and capabilities—but by doing so your organization can gain true competitive advantage and a leading position in the privacy-first future.