Data Protection Day 2022: No more room for privacy error

data protection day - Image by Gerd Altmann of Pixabay

As tech futurists enthuse about the endless possibilities of web 3.0 and the metaverse, data protection and privacy, could easily be bumped by marketers focusing on exciting new frontiers. 

But it should not be forgotten that current and future internet usage will be underpinned by user data – and its protection should be at the core of any new framework developed.

Both consumers and companies now recognise and are increasingly educated on the need to respect and protect user data. 

Globally almost nine in ten users now want more control over data and 79% will take action to defend it, even if that means spending their own time and money.  

data protection day 2022 - mix
Data Protection Day will spur some to take action.

Last year also saw major businesses – including the likes of Amazon and WhatsApp – affected by increasingly stringent data privacy regulations, with fines increasing sevenfold from 2020 to a record total of €1.1 billion.

Combine an ever-increasing number of regulations and restrictions with the upcoming loss of third-party cookies, and brands will find themselves walking a tightrope when attempting to collect and manage data compliantly while effectively targeting consumers.

Data Protection Day

For this year’s Data Protection Day – Friday 28 January – we’ve asked experts from around the industry to give their take on which privacy factors should be high on the priority list, which tools organisations need to explore ahead of the great cookie fade out and trends to look out for in the year to come:

Getting creative with AI

Leonard Newnham, Chief Data Scientist, LoopMe

“As consumer data becomes increasingly protected, we’ll start to see marketers prioritise methods that drive performance for brands and ad relevance for consumers without the use of personal identifiers.

“One such option is AI-driven predictive modelling – using consented first-party data and integrating this with third-party data to create privacy-friendly contextual media buy recommendations. 

“Advertisers should look to work with partners that can utilise their data insights and predictive capabilities in this way; ultimately aiding brand building, as well as improving business outcomes in a way that respects the consumer.”

ai driven tech - Image by Comfreak from Pixabay
AI could replace the need for personal identifiers.

Anthony Lamy, VP EMEA Client Partners, VidMob

“The loss of third-party cookies, consumer data and mobile IDs may limit and affect marketing as we know it, but these changes should also remind the industry about what truly matters and how this can play a key role in the future of advertising. 

“Creative is the primary driver of performance; Google estimates that media placements account for just 30% of campaign success, while creative drives 70%. 

“And now, artificial intelligence and machine learning can provide a new kind of first-party data: creative data. When combined with performance metrics, creative data can give clarity on creative performance, allowing for precise optimisation and targeting.

“It may seem that marketers’ options for audience targeting and attribution are more complex than ever before, but with customers increasingly aware of their data privacy, brands have a chance to rely on new technology and tools that harness the power of first-party data, become privacy champions, and showcase how their working practises actively safeguard consumers too.”

Intelligent analysis

Suzy Ley, EMEA Marketing Lead, Zefr

“With the ‘cookieless world’ approaching, advertisers are looking for privacy-safe targeting alternatives. 

“In the last year, brands who have worked to gain a deeper contextual understanding of their campaigns and audiences have come out on top. 

“It has allowed them to connect with and reach consumers in a privacy-compliant way, while also ensuring their ads appear alongside suitable content from a brand perspective.

“Continuing on this trajectory will be vital, especially as more brands shift into walled garden platforms to capitalise on the wealth of data readily available. 

“With the digital platforms constantly reviewing their own data privacy policies, there will need to be continued collaboration and focus on industry standards going forward.”

Lloyd Davies, Managing Director UK, Making Science 

“The transition towards a privacy-first digital era has begun with brands sure to feel the impacts. 

“As tech companies navigate tighter privacy regulations and consumers become increasingly educated and aware as to the value of their data, those who fail to adapt to a security-centric strategy will lose up to 25% of the data they obtain.

“Marketers are forced to navigate data-privacy across new digital platforms and trends such as the metaverse, cryptocurrencies and NFTs, in addition to existing, and satiate consumer demand for a personalised experience in all instances while preserving user privacy, which is no small task.  

“To do this they must utilise privacy friendly analytics tools to provide insightful audience information, such as Google’s GA4, Facebook’s Conversion API (CAPI), or alternative data collection techniques like server-side tracking.”

Louis-Philippe Denis, Chief Legal & Privacy Officer, Hivestack 

“Digital out of home (DOOH) advertising, powered by programmatic buying, is uniquely positioned in this data privacy centric era as it leverages user behaviours at a large scale to connect brands with audiences at scale, also known as ‘one-to-many’ targeting. 

“Instead of relying on deterministic matching or first-party IDs, programmatic DOOH uses modeling of probabilistic, historical mobile location data, thereby facilitating GDPR compliance. 

“Advertisers are increasingly waking up to DOOH’s potential as an alternative to one-to-one targeting channels. 

“That said, it remains key that the DOOH industry maintains a transparent, compliance-focused approach to data management, and a watchful eye on ongoing regulatory changes.”

Leveraging partnerships

Pierce Cook-Anderson, Managing Director, Northern Europe, Smart AdServer

Data Privacy Day is a great opportunity to reframe how the industry will move forward with audience data.  

“As the consent economy continues to place a greater emphasis on consumer choice – and the pool of data available for ad tracking inevitably shrinks – it’s time for the industry to move deliberately towards approaches built around secured and controlled first-party data, context, and direct or curated audience buying. 

“While respecting these fundamental principles, there’s a clear opportunity for brands and publishers to work more closely together to leverage publishers’ direct audience relationships and unique context.”

leveraging partnerships - Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
There is a clear opportunity for brands and publishers to work more closely together in partnerships.

Gal Ekstein, General Manager EMEA & LATAM, AppsFlyer  

“Data Privacy Day this year provides an important opportunity for businesses to reassess their mobile advertising strategy amongst the mounting user privacy laws and stricter data privacy standards that have transformed the way brands and mobile advertisers can collect and share consumer data over the last year. 

“Between Apple’s game-changing ATT framework, Facebook’s user level data decision, and the upcoming demise of Google’s 3rd-party cookies in 2023, the scale and breadth of data sharing is becoming increasingly limited, making campaign measurement and optimisation more challenging than ever before.

“In 2022, we’ll see marketers continue to adapt to the move away from user-level data towards aggregated data. 

“Privacy-preserving data collaboration within the ecosystem based on Data Clean Room technologies, will offer a neutral, safe space for 1st-party user data to be leveraged collaboratively. 

“In addition, predictive measurement will also play a greater role, both of which will be crucial in gaining meaningful marketing insights in a privacy- complicit way.

“Ultimately, marketers that are able to balance privacy considerations with a positive user experience will win out in 2022.”

Transparency and flexibility

Phil Acton, Country Manager UK & BeNeFrance, Adform

“It’s not just down to consumers to know their rights and to make informed choices – the onus is on brands to use trusted technology partners to help them reach their target audiences, while also respecting user data.

“One of the challenges we see due to the pending death of third-party cookies is the staggering volume of different first-party IDs emerging in the marketplace. 

“This is understandably creating confusion for marketers. Simplified systems that can work with all IDs – thus preventing the monopolisation of one or two dominant players – and that promote transparency and visibility across an entire campaign lifecycle will be key to safe, responsible and compliant data sharing in 2022.”

Transparency is key - Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay
Transparency and flexibility will shed a light on compliant data sharing in 2022.

Regulation management 

Bridget Arik, Chief Operations Officer, Redmill Solutions  

“Data Protection Day provides a good opportunity for businesses to reflect and think about the checklists and processes they should have in place, both in terms of technology and human influence factors. 

“For example on the tech side, all companies should be doing annual penetration testing and quarterly reviews of the ISO 27001 Certificate. 

“It may sound monotonous, but it forces you as a company to have a process in place for the security and the protection of the data.

“However, technology can’t protect everything and in some cases there is the risk of human error. 

“A checklist of the areas that are often overlooked can be essential to plan for, such as what happens if an employee leaves a company, how do you know if their accounts have been deactivated and all data they worked with is still secure? 

“We can’t underestimate the importance of solid processes and taking stock to ensure all aspects of data protection have been accounted for, especially at a time when many businesses continue to operate remotely.”

Alexander Azarov, CEO and Founder, Clickio

“As data regulation continues to be handled differently across regions, it’s vital publishers and developers stay up-to-date with changes as they happen. 

“For example, Italy recently announced new guidelines on cookie banner compliance, meaning any site that receives traffic from this region will need to review their use of cookies and other tracking technologies to ensure they align with updated requirements. 

“Updates like this are likely to have some impact on consent rates, so it’s crucial publishers are adaptable. 

“For example, they should test alternative banner designs and work with holistic Consent Management Platforms that keep them updated on regulation changes, while ensuring compliance and optimising site design to drive higher consent rates.”

Leading the charge 

Andrew Carmody, CMO, ViewersLogic

“The lawsuit against Meta for data exploitation in the UK is a pivotal moment in the scrutiny of how the tech platforms collect and monetise consumer data.

“Privacy regulations such as GDPR protect personal data, but consumers now need to be able to take full control, understand its value and be able to trade it. In the new ‘data economy’ consumers will decide when to share it, with whom and how they should be compensated. 

“Increased control of their data, with it being openly traded outside the walled gardens where its market value is now transparent to them, will put the power back in the hands of the consumer.”

Bob Ivins, Chief Strategy Officer, TVSquared

“Recently, the TV industry has shifted from data-poor to data-rich. With 90% of UK buyers agreeing that “TV” is now defined as both linear, time-shifted and streaming, it has become a cross-platform video ecosystem. 

“Although it’s still far less impacted by regulations and standards than digital-first industries, the data now being collected by smart TVs, subscription services and other online and offline platforms is multiplying. 

“Therefore, TV is uniquely positioned to lead the narrative around consumer notice and choice, and how data should be protected, managed, and optimised, placing this industry at the forefront of the next wave of data privacy regulation.”

Summary

What is clear from all the above expert industry knowledge, is that brands should jump before being pushed. They need to begin investigating and implementing data protection solutions that work best with their data, campaigns and, most importantly, audience needs now, before regulators force them to.

Data Protection Day – Friday 28 January – is an ideal opportunity for industry professionals to work together to develop a cohesive and robust plan to stay ahead of the latest privacy regulations and developments, and avoid falling foul of growing expectations.