It’s been a little over two years since General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into full effect, and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), passed in 2018, became effective on January 1, 2020. These changes have caused many of us to reconsider how we think and act on digital marketing and privacy issues.
The issue is still a live one, as the state of Virginia is set to follow suit with its version, the Consumer Data Protection Act (CDPA), that resembles the two previous measures in some respects. This bill won’t go into effect until January 1, 2023, however, California has already passed another bill, the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), an amendment to the CCPA with more comprehensive privacy restrictions. It is quite likely that more states and countries will enact such bills and policies.
More than 70% of countries worldwide have data privacy legislation either enacted or working its way through the drafting process. It’s clear that these bills are a response to consumers’ wishes to protect their information. Data practices developed two years ago to adapt to the GDPR are already out of date. Consumers continue to be concerned about data privacy and expect companies to do as much as they can to protect it.
As marketers, rather than moan and groan at the challenges this may cause, we choose to look to the future and evolve. In an era where data privacy is more than expected but rather demanded, marketers and brands will have to work hard to earn consumer’s trust while developing new ways to reach and engage them.
How Digital Marketing Is Adapting to New Privacy Regulations
Now more than ever, digital marketing depends on data. Privacy protection regulations provide guidance on how companies should handle their customers’ data, but this doesn’t have to hinder marketers. There are only three things marketers need to worry about—data permission, access, and focus.
Brands and marketers are shifting towards owning their data rather than renting it. When brands and marketers own their data, they know where it comes from and that it is compliant with data privacy regulations. This not only protects them against violations but also gives brands a competitive edge.
All Eyes on Creative
Literally. Creative is getting more notice than ever before. Creative is what brings attention to your ads, stops thumbs from scrolling, and gets them clicking. “Creative was responsible for half of performance marketing success in 2020. That percentage will increase soon,” according to Faheem Siddiqi, Chief Strategy Officer at Lamark Media. “Good advertising will start with creative, it will be less intrusive and properly catered.”
Creative connects brands with their audience, draws people in, engages their minds and emotions, and, in 15 seconds or less, makes an impression. That’s all the time you have to convince people to decide to explore a product further.
Video ads allow you to convey more information than traditional ads in the same amount of time and space. A stunning visual, paired with the right message, has the power to engage and ultimately convert.
In an atmosphere where privacy-first browsing is a priority, the importance of creative that breaks through is even more critical. People are highly visual creatures, so it is no surprise that creative is taking center stage in the evolving digital landscape. And with controls and restrictions around data collection, attracting attention with your creativity is an increasingly effective way to connect with your audience.
Video ads generate results across a number of metrics, so a performance-based strategy will need video unless there’s a good reason to omit it. Performance creative increasingly means bringing video into the strategy. But this doesn’t mean that testing, iterations, and other metrics are out the window. Performance creative will rely even more on experimentation.
When connecting with an audience, having strong creative is what compels them to engage with the ads they see. The most effective way to drive conversions is to touch on each part of the sales funnel – brand awareness, engagement, and conversion. Creative is what leads people through the brand awareness and engagement phase to conversion. Without a strong front-facing creative, there are fewer opportunities for conversions.
In addition, brands will have to be more innovative with their advertising. It may also be the beginning of the end for irrelevant advertising. Marketers will have to level-up their game and produce ads that are more engaging, and creativity is the way to reach this goal.
New Ways of Interacting with Customers
As customers become accustomed to new privacy protection measures, data protection measures will be as ubiquitous to them as the request to accept cookies on websites. But until then, customer education will be key, as well as martech architecture that ensures compliance to the various regulations. Each of these has its complexities that must be handled. Customers must be offered transparency and control over their information, but in such a way that there is as little friction as possible.
For emails and websites, this means rather than a prechecked box, customers must actively check a box, making it clear that they have chosen to receive communications from a business. Businesses must be clear about how they will treat their customers’ data and offer them an obvious and transparent “forget me” option.
For other digital marketing channels, such as paid media, the changes are less clear. In the end, it all comes down to how brands handle their customers’ data and how transparent they are about it. However, privacy laws will push paid media ads to be more relevant, more targeted, and tracked better. It will also push them to up their creative game. To ensure this happens, many brands will be teaming up with trusted digital agencies that have evolved to handle the new reality.
More Changes on the Horizon
Digital marketing and privacy challenges aren’t going away any time soon. And as all digital marketers know, the only constant is change. In the long run, a better internet is a privacy-first internet. iOS 14 and Google’s new third-party cookie changes will push brands to go broader and deeper on persona development, measurement, and creative.
The New iOS Update
In response to data privacy laws, Apple rolled out its app tracking transparency (ATT) feature. The new feature adds transparency to the way apps track users across other apps and websites. Now users will know what is happening and be able to choose whether they want apps to track them. This puts the choice of who gets their data directly in the customers’ hands.
Google Tracking without Cookies
To keep up with rivals Mozilla and Apple, Google announced that it plans to phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome. Chrome will introduce new ways for marketers to target users without causing user privacy concerns. In addition, marketers have developed better ways to track customers across the web without relying on cookies.
Trust-Based Marketing: The New Evolution
Digital marketing and privacy issues won’t go away any time soon. The key for marketers will be to build trust with their prospects and customers. When customers give you their data, an increasingly valuable commodity, they need to know they can trust you. They’ll want to know that you aren’t going to resell it and that they have control over how it is used.
Having the right processes in place to manage your customer data and keep it secure is key. And you need to be transparent about how you do it so that customers will be confident that you are maintaining their privacy. Rather than roadblocks, we look at data privacy as a chance to evolve into better digital marketers. Better data collection will lead to better targeting and better marketing that can shorten the buying cycle.