How martech tools help with advertising in the era of data privacy

Ad personalization, retargeting, and other familiar (advanced) ways of working with marketing data have lost their popularity due to public outrage on account of privacy violations. Influential companies such as Google and Apple are changing the way they use personal data. In response, the whole digital marketing landscape has started changing.

In this article, we discuss how a marketer can survive in an age of change and not lose the trust of customers and management.

Table of contents

Overview of the post-cookies situation

The rise of marketing technology, e-commerce acceleration, and the global transition of business from offline to online has led to the never-before-seen use of personal data by companies. Brands use personal information to:

  1. Better understand their target audiences
  2. Maximize the personalization of advertising campaigns and brand offers

As can be seen from GlobalWebIndex research, buyers of different ages consider it vital for advertising campaigns to:

  • Offer various discounts and special offers
  • Be relevant to their identities
  • Offer personalized recommendations
  • And so on

However, even though buyers want to receive personalized offers from companies (on different devices and at different times), people are becoming uncomfortable with the collection of personal data by a huge number of companies.

These concerns have led to regulations and laws, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and the Delaware Online Privacy and Protection Act (DOPPA). Obviously, tech companies had to follow suit, placing limits on the use of personally identifiable data to reassure customers.

These shifts will have profound implications on digital marketing performance, as marketers cannot use data as they did before. Specialists will have to learn how to use aggregated data and work differently with their first-party data to improve customer outreach.

There’s been a lot of talk about cookies and the fact that their lifespan will become much shorter than we’re used to. Let’s figure out what innovations await us and how marketers can adapt to the new reality.

Marketing in the era of data privacy

Although Google delayed data privacy innovations for a couple of years, marketers should already be preparing for the shift in working with data and users. Luck favors the prepared!

Since marketing efficiency is closely linked to the quality and quantity of data collected, marketing leaders and teams should prepare for a future with limited access to users’ personal data. New privacy frameworks force marketers to make first-party data their priority if they want to move forward and avoid guesswork.

Data privacy and the ethical use of data impact your brand — and the only option is to adapt.

What actions can marketers take to prepare for working in a cookieless world?

Develop a new data strategy

Without third-party data, the overall quality, availability, and breadth of digital marketing data will decline. For example, remarketing in its usual form will definitely be impaired. However, we already have solutions to this problem. Google has already rolled out its Ads Data Hub, where you can create remarketing audiences by connecting your Google Ads and Ads Data Hub accounts.

Another example of changes is the significant upcoming growth of (direct )/( none) traffic in reports. Of course, CMOs should know exactly why this is happening. So it’s a perfect time to find martech solutions that will help you adjust.

In general, marketers should prepare for the fact that marketing evaluation will no longer be about specific numbers linked to a user but will become a set of management decisions. Still, remember that everything depends on the individual business and its sales funnel.

If you have a short sales cycle — your service is immediately downloaded, your product is bought instantly at the first touchpoint — then for you, the absence of third-party cookies won’t play a significant role.

However, you should consider new cookie lifespans. Either you learn to recreate cookies each time someone visits your site, or you begin to collect contact information as soon as possible to continue communicating with users directly. For example, you can offer valuable materials to users in exchange for registration (all kinds of lead magnets).

If your sales funnel is long, you’ll have a rough time developing new tactics. Most of all, these restrictions will affect the B2B sector, where there’s a long transaction and decision-making cycle and a lot of third-party data is used.

Without third-party data, you’ll need to learn to use aggregated data and think in terms of segments, not users.

Businesses always face problems, and with so many unpredictable events in the past year and a half (hello, pandemic), brands have had to remain flexible and quickly adapt to challenges as they arise.

Let’s look at what marketing challenges businesses, regardless of their size, most often encounter.

Reconsider how you measure digital ads

The drop in third-party data will decrease the transparency, relevance, and quality of your marketing data, reports, and consequently insights. However, there’s no reason to panic. This is simply a moment to carefully review your strategies. Consider your existing metrics, attribution models, and all measurement baselines for your business.

You should find answers to the following questions:

  • How will report structures change?
  • How will data be interpreted given the new circumstances and limitations?
  • How can I blend data?
  • What can I do to authenticate users?

Overall, you need to carefully collect first-party data, quickly get user contacts (in the very first session), and learn to use aggregated data.

Also, don’t forget about the intensely fragmented user path, traversing different browsers on different devices. New users will no longer be so new and unique. Due to a lack of cookies, services will assume that supposedly new users are new customers even if they aren’t.

Note! Monitor advertising platform updates.

With an accelerated transition to online marketing (thanks to the pandemic) and an increase in marketing budgets for digital promotion, marketers increasingly have to prove their value.

Let’s see why it’s so crucial for marketers to be able to create various reports using a large number of data sources — and to do it on their own.

Delivering a new relationship to data with martech tools

Firstly, you should reconsider your marketing technology stack according to your company’s requirements. You should be prepared and calculate how long and how many resources (time and money) it will take to switch to new technologies if they are required.

Secondly, if your company hasn’t already been using Google BigQuery to collect first-party data, now is the time to start. There are two reasons for doing so:

  1. Google BigQuery as a data lake is the best choice for marketing.
  2. With Ads Data Hub, you can upload your first-party data to BigQuery and join it with Google event-level ad campaign data.
  3. With Google Analytics 4, everyone can do this, and everyone will transition to Google Analytics 4 sooner or later.

Most importantly, you should be prepared for the fact that data will need to be analyzed in the format of cohorts/segments. Here, modern martech tools can save the day.

The accelerated transition of businesses online coincides with reduced resources (less money, while more results are expected). Marketers constantly need to prove their importance for the business and value in attracting new customers and growing revenue. This is not an easy task, given that analysts are either absent or constantly busy.

If you are in this exact situation, we know how to help! To significantly boost your performance, you need to make management decisions based on collected data.

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With OWOX, you get the most out of your data. Just select the parameters and metrics you want to see in your report. Smart Data will instantly visualize your data in a way you can understand.

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Key takeaways

The digital marketing ecosystem that has been built around the active use of third-party data faces inevitable changes. The boundary between business advantage and excellent advertising has been erased. Accordingly, the emergence of ethical issues was to be expected. Today, the type and quantity of customer data available to companies is changing due to increased privacy concerns.

Marketing technologies are unavoidably moving from tracking individual users to tracking audience behavior. As marketers learn how to work with these new approaches, the quality of advertising will inevitably decrease. However, technology doesn’t stand still, and after a temporary setback, there will no doubt be a giant leap forward.

The main thing now is not to panic but to assess precisely how privacy-related changes will affect your business. In particular, marketers need to rearrange their work, shift the focus from individual users to cohorts of buyers, and start actively collecting first-party data to work with customers directly in the future.