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Four Ways Marketers Can Address Privacy Challenges in 2024

Julian Litvak
Published on
Evolving data privacy regulations and today's marketing landscape are deeply intertwined, influencing best practices for both consumers and marketers – especially regarding data collection approaches. In 2016, the data privacy conversation took off when the European Union (EU) passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Shortly after, Apple introduced intelligent tracking prevention in Safari browsers across its platforms, limiting third-party (3P) cookie usage. Since, users have become increasingly aware of their digital footprint and pushed for heightened transparency from brands, fueling ongoing U.S. privacy regulation development.

In the latest episode of the Data Break podcast by fifty-five, we dug into evolving U.S. privacy regulation, today’s privacy-centric marketing landscape, and the technology at the center of it all. We also discussed strategies that can help marketers navigate the shifting landscape while keeping user data safe and marketing campaigns effective. 

Today’s marketing challenges require a complex blend of strategies and tactics – here are four key strategies we discussed on the podcast:

1. Enhancing First-Party Data Collection with Engaging Content

Marketers can significantly enhance first-party (1P) data collection by creating interactive and engaging content that encourages user interaction and voluntary data sharing with a clear value-add for the user. For example, leveraging sweepstakes, newsletter sign-ups and surveys can enrich the user experience while also providing the means for users to share preferences, interests, and feedback directly with the brand. 

By integrating more interactive and engaging content as well as perks for users, marketers can build a robust first-party data repository that powers personalized marketing strategies and drives brand engagement in a cookie-less digital landscape. As third-party cookies phase out, establishing a well-organized and robust internal data structure is increasingly vital for marketers to harness the full potential of first-party data once it has been collected. 

2. Collecting and Activating the Right Data

To harness the power of first-party data, marketers must collect the right data and activate it effectively. Below are a few strategies marketers can leverage to fully optimize first-party data and fill the data void: 

  • Build a strong technical foundation for data collection: This can be done by implementing server-side tracking to get more robust signals from users interacting with a website, adopting a customer data platform (CDP) for centralized customer data management, or investing in data warehouses to unlock advanced reporting and analysis capabilities.

  • Supplement data for decision-making with data visualization: Utilizing interactive dashboards and reports can help marketers present data in a user-friendly format, facilitating easier interpretation and analysis. Additionally, employing data storytelling techniques can convey complex information effectively, enhancing communication and understanding across teams.

  • Enhance decision-making by relying on modelization to maintain measurement capabilities: Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) based models can be useful in filling in any data gaps. These models can take a small subset or sample of users and extrapolate their interactions across a bigger dataset to get a more holistic view of the total user group coming to a site and interacting with or shopping with a brand.

3. Maintaining Tracking and Engagement without Third-Party Cookies

Marketers are struggling to maintain previous levels of tracking accuracy and campaign performance due to the decrease in attributable data they have access to. As they brace for the impending loss of 3P cookies, they must gain a comprehensive understanding of the data affected by this change to effectively address the resulting gaps.

One way marketers can fill these measurement gaps is by leveraging Google Analytics 4’s (GA4) behavioral and conversion modeling, which provide insights into user interactions and conversions based on event data rather than cookie-based tracking. This allows for a comprehensive analysis of how users interact, ultimately giving marketers a more nuanced understanding of user behavior on a website.

4. Adapting to Regulatory Changes and Ensuring Compliance

The regulatory environment is evolving rapidly, with new legislation passed in various states – and it’s important to stay up to date on industry developments to make sure that a company’s user consent model, system or infrastructure are in compliance. Marketers can do this by working with the data privacy, infosecurity and legal teams in their organization.

While having a designated data protection officer (DPO) is not mandated in the U.S., some American companies are already evangelizing and incorporating this role. Appointing a DPO ensures oversight of data tracking, collection, and compliance with evolving laws, helping to ensure adherence to changing requirements and demonstrating your organization’s commitment to user privacy.

Marketers can also implement Consent Management Platforms (CMPs) and privacy-focused analytics platforms to ensure their data collection is compliant with data protection regulations. Google Analytics 4, as well as similar analytics platforms, offers enhanced data privacy controls that highlight user control over the information collected. From integrating more seamlessly with consent management platforms, to allowing marketers to adjust data collection practices based on user consent, to anonymizing IP addresses by default and allowing marketers to specify the duration for which user-level and event-level data is stored, privacy-first analytics tools offer a few options for marketers to take more control over their privacy settings.

The Road Ahead

The evolving marketing landscape and the changing perceptions and laws related to data privacy present many challenges for marketers, but also opportunities to innovate and enhance user experiences. By adopting a multi-faceted approach that leverages technology, marketers can navigate this shifting landscape while keeping user data safe and their campaigns effective.

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