How Evolving Privacy Changes Will Continue to Impact Marketers

Malcolm DeLeoMalcolm DeLeo

Business Development & Strategy

February 23, 2021

As data privacy changes become more stringent, the need for marketers to use and enhance their first party data is more important than ever before.

The complex terms of service no one reads has had customers unknowingly abdicating their information. That enabled corporations to mine their digital life for monetization, supplying 3rd party data to marketers for money and optimal consumer targeting. As the balance of power moved from the consumers to the digital titans (like Facebook and Instagram) the inevitable backlash of government legislation has ensued. California fired the first shot by passing the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) which went into effect in 2020. CCPA makes companies be more transparent with consumers about the data they are collecting and has changed digital business overnight.

The Challenge

CCPA was only the beginning. In the past 12 months, companies have been tasked with revamping their data collection practices. In 2019, the Instagram API limited 3rd parties’ ability to access users’ geolocation data. No longer could businesses look for influencers or content by geo-location like they had before (but you can and should still be using a UGC platform that leverages multi keyword search and hashtag search for discovery, like EnTribe). Soon, browsers like Chrome will no longer allow 3rd party cookies, iOS 14.5 is limiting user data shared with ad platforms, and Google & Apple are taking steps to limit 3rd party cookies entirely. As these types of changes continue, the risks to digital marketing are immense and the challenge to enhance and understand first party data as 3rd party data ceases to exist will be more important than ever before.

What are the risks to your digital marketing efforts?

“The end of third-party cookies can be great news for brands and their customers if it leads to a new focus on connection and trust.” - Alex Kelleher, Managing Director, Deloitte

Great Changes, Great Opportunity

But like all things new, great changes can also bring great opportunity. One of these opportunities lies within your brand's first party data and the relationship you can build with it.

While brands will no longer be able to enhance their client understanding with 3rd party data, they will still have the ability to enhance their consumer knowledge and reach through 1:1 relationships.

So how should I change my thinking?

  1. Invite your audience into your marketing tent. If you can’t study consumers’ data to market to them passively, then work with your audience directly to reach more people authentically in their own voice. Your consumers love your brand. They want to be part of it. Stop thinking of them transactionally and start thinking of them strategically. If your consumers love to create content and they love to share that content with their social friends, why wouldn’t you let them create the content you want to help grow the reach of your brand? Give your customers formal marketing roles and direct them to help.
  2. Be transparent about this relationship. If you are going to build a unique and direct 1:1 creator relationship, be transparent about what your creators are giving you and what they get for being part of your marketing team in return. If you are going to own the user generated content (UGC) they create for you, create processes that transparently communicate what they get for these types of transactions. It could be recognition, product, coupons or whatever you can think of. The fact that you are telling them I want you to be part of my brand, you are going to give me rights to use your content, but if you create great content for me I am going to give back to you is a novel approach to working with your consumers. As the saying goes, you have to give to receive.
  3. Stop resisting the loss of control and get going. Too many brands think they are above a closer and frankly less controlling relationship with their consumers. Your consumers are the best brand ambassadors you have. And since their digital share of voice is still growing and not waning, companies need to once and for all embrace their power. Some might argue that companies will spend most of their time trying to maintain their grip on 3rd party data they used to collect as a means of keeping things status quo. Face it, collecting and using consumers’ data with unfettered access is breaking. Embrace this change by asking your consumers for help rather than simply trying to continue to dupe them into thinking you know what they are thinking.

The Question Remains...

With all of these privacy changes what are you going to do about it? Are you going to continue to attempt to keep optimizing your old process as long as you can or are you going to challenge yourself to think about a tough situation differently and make lemonade out the lemons?

Key Takeaways


CCPA went into effect

How you should change your thinking:

  1. Invite your audience into your marketing tent.
  2. Be transparent about this relationship.
  3. Stop resisting the loss of control and get going.
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