by Adam Ortman, SVP Growth & Innovation, Generator Media + Analytics


The way advertisers need to think about privacy is changing. Internet users, long resigned to the fact that their data is simply available to anyone who wants it, are starting to wake up. In one recent survey, 86% of respondents said they feel a growing concern about data privacy, and 78% said they were worried about the amount of data being collected.


High-profile events like the Cambridge Analytica scandal shocked consumers, raising awareness about the importance of privacy. At the same time, regulations like Europe’s GDPR, California’s CCPA, and others have dragged consumer privacy into the forefront of the conversation by introducing real, concrete punishments for companies who fail to take people’s individual data privacy seriously.


But how does all this impact media and advertising? As privacy — and companies’ obligations — continue to evolve, it’s crucial to stay up-to-date. In this article, we’ll explore some of the marketing aspects that are changing and how marketers can adapt.


How privacy is impacting media and advertising


Greater need to comply with regulations


The internet is no longer the wild-west-esque environment that it was in 2004. Regulatory frameworks like the GDPR and CCPA mean that businesses must now comply with new rules and take steps to protect their customers’ privacy.


This means a range of implications — obtaining consent before collecting information, being much more transparent with how you use that data, and allowing your customers to request you delete their data at any time, among many other obligations. Failing to keep up with these legal changes can result in harsh fines and other penalties, or leave you caught unawares and forced to rapidly change your marketing approach.


The death of app tracking


Apple has already moved to allow users to block data collection by apps, and research suggests most users will take advantage of this. Early data has shown that a staggering 96% of US users chose to opt-out of app tracking in the wake of the update.


This is a big deal, as it means companies will lose out on a lot of valuable user data that is currently used to target ads and personalize marketing.


The Google privacy sandbox


Google has given its users a fair warning: in 2023 it will begin phasing out support for third-party cookies. This is the next step in Google’s Privacy Sandbox, a set of technologies aimed at protecting users’ privacy and providing more transparency around how data is used. The idea is to allow digital marketing to take place without relying on third-party cookies, which in the past has formed a major part of many companys’ advertising targeting strategies. Generator Media works hand-in-hand with Google through our Premier Partnership and is intending to take part in extensive sandbox testing as the opportunities become available.


Segmentation will require a different approach


As it becomes harder to collect large amounts of user data, businesses will find it harder to segment their marketing and target specific demographics with tailored campaigns. In future, running targeted marketing campaigns will require a shift in focus and strategy, one that relies less on data collected from third-party sources and more on consensual methods like surveys and CRM records.


How to thrive in the future of marketing


Focus on the bigger picture


It’s never been more important to build a solid overall marketing strategy that doesn’t rely solely on data collection. As data privacy laws tighten around the world and platforms take steps to prioritize privacy, marketers will find it increasingly difficult to build their strategies around user data.


Collect data ethically and consensually


It’s always best to work with data that your audience members have volunteered themselves, and there are many different ways to obtain that data. Surveys, social media polls, email sign-up forms, and insights from the use of your own products are just a few examples. This data can be much more accurate than third-party data, complies with regulations, and doesn’t leave you at the mercy of big platforms like Google and Apple.


Take advantage of advancements in safe targeting


In recent times there have been a number of developments in the industry to allow marketers to target customers more ethically and safely, complying with growing regulations. These include:


  • Contextual targeting — placing ads only on relevant pages and alongside relevant content


  • Universal ID — where each user has their own unique anonymous identifier, allowing their info to be passed only to approved partners


  • Household targeting — targeting household units or markets with marketing as opposed to individuals


Remember that privacy is a good thing for everyone


Perhaps the ultimate takeaway from the data privacy conversation is that more privacy is fundamentally a good thing. For individuals, it means the internet is becoming a safer place where personal data rights are respected, and for businesses it’s an opportunity to forge closer and more sustainable relationships with your customers and audience members.


At Generator Media, data privacy is always a priority. We help our clients grow their businesses with a range of marketing services, understanding their audiences and crafting hyper-targeted marketing campaigns that don’t depend on third-party data or violate privacy regulations.