Online privacy regulations continue to evolve, and as third-party cookies depreciate, first-party data is taking over as the gold standard of consumer data.
One of the biggest changes in this area is that first-party data is given freely by online users, often in exchange for some sort of direct user benefit like a better experience online.
As advertisers and publishers ask more users for their information online, a crucial part of the exchange is trust; consumers want to know that the data they are offering will only be used in the way they have authorized.
During AdMonsters’ March 29 webinar, “Consent-Based Advertising: How You Can Automatically Build Audience Trust,” OneTrust’s Strategic Solutions Engineer, Arshdeep Sood, explained why trust is crucial to building a relationship with your audience, how to keep abreast of the changes in privacy regulations, and why first-party data is nothing to be concerned about.
Trust in the Digital Age
As the digital world evolves, concerns surrounding privacy are oftentimes the most stressful. To go beyond third-party cookies and understand your audience so that you can provide the best value data output, it all boils down to trust.
“The last decade was all about transformation,” says Sood. The fast-paced world of data has required innovation in ways that sometimes seemed impossible, with the aim of providing better customer experiences, improving efficiencies, creating sustainable practices, and of course, staying in business.
Sood asks, “What are we doing to protect the data that we have access to? Are we ensuring equity and inclusivity and even diversity across our business practices? And are we truly creating a culture of high ethical standards across the board?” All of these questions are about creating trust.
Customers have trust expectations for companies they spend money with. Sood notes Adobe reported in 2022 that 69 percent of consumers stated they would stop doing business with a company that uses their data without permission.
Add to this rules and regulations that vary from state to state and it can be difficult to navigate the changing landscape while maintaining and building upon user trust. This requires a change in mindset, Sood explains.
[To view the full webinar, watch the video above.]
Building Trust Does Matter
Users who trust a company are more likely to allow their data to be used in innovative ways, pay a premium for that company’s products and services, and maintain purchasing loyalty over time. Since it impacts your bottom line, trust is something you need to maintain a competitive advantage.
Apple is working on building this trust with its latest update to iOS, which notifies the user of apps on their phone that are collecting data and tracking the user. This “App Tracking Transparency” prompt prohibits apps access to this data without first notifying the user.
Sood notes that for these apps, building trust with the user can look like getting consent and even possibly discussing the value exchange and why access to this data is important. Also, use your Apple Privacy Nutrition Labels wisely. Employees working in compliance should collaborate with team members across development and marketing and advertising to ensure that you have the right strategy in place, she says.
Competitive Advantage: Keeping up with Privacy Regulations
“In the face of new regulations, agility is going to be your competitive advantage to build that trust with the customer,” notes Sood. Rather than responding to new privacy law changes at the moment, she advises what will set programs apart is their ability to anticipate requirements of upcoming legislation and avoid the pain of last-minute changes.
It is expected that by the end of 2023, 75 percent of the world will be affected by one of the recent privacy regulations, and more privacy regulations are actively coming down the pipeline all over the United States. Sood recommends working toward a strategy to deal with these changes in regulations as soon as possible.
She adds that the job should be a team effort. “The privacy team is responsible to help you build business continuity to really enable marketing to have a very compliant risk-mitigated experience, but at the same time marketing and data teams are responsible for the end user journey.”
Last, Sood explains that privacy risk is a brand risk. The penalty for not adhering to privacy standards will not only be monetary, it will also affect your brand’s reputation because anything that happens within your company to affect consumer rights will be publicly accessible.
Just like in personal relationships, you need to be clear about how you are using a person’s data, and if the use changes, you are responsible for informing them. You want this relationship to last long term, so make your users feel valued and like they own the data, she advises.
Some Acronyms You Need to Know
TCF & GDPR: When we think about this process, several acronyms come to mind, says Sood, one of which is TCF, Transparency and Consent Framework. A TCF banner is concerned with providing the right notification and collecting the right type of consent and an affirmative opt-in from users to align with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) requirements. However, these regulations are evolving and there is currently legislation surrounding these privacy measures and how they will ultimately be used.
Sood explains it is crucial to keep abreast of these rulings to be prepared for any necessary changes that are on the horizon. OneTrust keeps a log of these changes to help its partners know of important updates.
GPP & MSPA: Another big piece of the puzzle is the GPP, Global Privacy Platform. This aligns with the MSPA, which is the Multi-state Privacy Agreement across all the different states, Sood notes. To simplify all these varying rules and regulations, she says, “With the GPP, the idea is you can make sure that one singular signal directs a specific consent model and data point to the ad text providers downstream to ensure that you’re aligning with regulations and also [doing so] in the best possible fashion.”
The MSPA assumes a user is a resident of each state, which means it defaults to the highest possible national standard for privacy.
What this all boils down to essentially is that from an advertiser’s perspective, it is imperative to look out for the GPP signals. Explains Sood, “You want to sign up for MSP and prepare yourselves to honor the signals, because you’re going to expect it coming downstream, and you will want to decode it and decide how you operate.” This is similar for publishers – these signals will ensure the regulations are being met, and pass along this information to vendor partners.
“That’s why publishers, advertisers, and vendors, you really need to work in tandem to ensure that everybody’s listening to the same things, and CMP providers like OneTrust, we’re the ones who will be helping you generate that GPP and sending it downstream,” Sood shares. In fact, Sood says, the GPP platform is already in use, helping OneTrust’s customers.
Don’t Be Intimidated by First-Party Data
The future of data will phase out third-party cookies in favor of first-party data capture, meaning companies will need to build a first-party data capture focusing on consent. To do this effectively, Sood says companies need to evolve from a tick box compliance system into a powerful consent strategy that will transform the user’s experience holistically.
Many consumers are looking for value in their online experience, meaning that rather than being something to worry about, the dissolution of third-party cookies should be seen as an opportunity to build a relationship with consumers. You will want to advertise to them, but also re-target and re-market to keep them coming back.
“To do that you want to deliver timely offers, have customer service available to the user, if they bought your product and you want them as a returning user. You want to target new relevant content to the user and also provide any customer recommendations,” such as content that is on theme with what they previously bought, Sood says.
Consent, says Sood, is here to help your marketing strategies. It’s a way to give users unique choices and the opportunity to tell you about what they want so you can make sure you are offering that to them. It allows you to truly personalize the user experience.
When you give users content that is relevant to who they are, they are more likely to want to know more. You can build this into your interface, so they can offer this information to you directly. This information can be fed downstream, to relevant places like apps, data warehouses, and email marketing systems.
“And this really circles everything together for us in this webinar today. We started out by discussing how technology, privacy, and consumers are dictating this change … It’s important for you to understand that until the user gives you consent, you will not be able to process the best possible dataset or build new datasets for yourself. And so, complying with these [regulations and] getting the right interfaces out there and leveraging that for users opt-in to activate your ecosystem and help you retarget is going to be instrumental,” Sood explains.