Planning For Privacy-First: Utopia, Doomsday and Realism

If you missed the first part of this series, find out exactly what Privacy-First means here

A Privacy-First digital environment is going to cause huge changes for everyone. From a business point of view, these changes will either be extremely positive or negative depending on how much you rely on digital advertising. 

The Changes Are Coming

Firstly, the ability to measure campaign effectiveness will change. In the short term, there will need to be much more liaison between client and advertising agency to review tactics and decisions. 

Secondly, there will be changes to how measurements work. This will factor into the larger evolution of the advertising ecosystem. Previously, we used data at a granular level. This approach was essential for evaluating campaigns and assessing consumer behaviour. With the advent of the privacy-first digital environment, this perspective is going to shift. 

This leads into the final point: changes to advertisers use data. Older methods such as Cookie-based data collection will start to become obsolete. Consequently, there will need to be a transformative process to adapt. At this moment in time, conversion APIs look best suited to replace Cookies and other traditional data collection methods in a privacy-first environment.

The Doomsday Privacy-First Environment

Let’s start with the ‘bad’ outcome. If privacy-first swings too far one way, then advertising on digital platforms is going to become increasingly impossible. The lack of clear targeting means that adverts are going to be shown sporadically to all users. Most of them will have no interest in whatever you are selling. IDFA-style marketing that hones in on tracked behaviours and accumulated data becomes non-existent. Masked data attribution and a lack of positive opt-ins from users mean that it becomes very hard to actually track the impact of your digital marketing. 

All of this boils down to the costs outweighing benefits for all but a tiny fraction of brands. Digital advertising ceases to exist as we know it and across the world, digital marketers have a collective nervous breakdown as their lives fall apart. 

Thankfully, this outcome is unlikely to happen. 

No need to press the privacy-first panic button yet.

The Utopia Privacy-First Environment

Having discussed the terrifying prospect of the bad outcome, let’s look at the ‘good’ scenario. To be honest, this is even more unlikely to happen. However, in this privacy-first environment, advertising online doesn’t really change at all. IDFA targeting continues to work well as people choose to actively opt-in for tracking. Data attribution methods do change from traditional sources. However, new measurement methods like conversion APIs work as well, if not better. These new measurements help marketers more swiftly associate positive action in terms of conversions or enquiries to digital campaigns. This empowers business owners to invest in this marketing. As a result, investment continues in this market and costs remain low and accessible, regardless of brand size. 

We may as well add in that England successfully win the 2022, 2026 and 2030 World Cups in a row with dazzling performances throughout, as this is about as likely to happen as the utopia scenario. 

The Realistic Privacy-First Environment

Like everything else in the world, adapting or dying out is critical to the advertising ecosystem. At this moment in time, Privacy-First can be viewed a bit like the Triassic period moving into the Jurassic period. (Or if we do get the Doomsday scenario, more like the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs). There will be a need to incorporate new technology and approaches to improve the quality of advertising measurement. At the same time, new best practices must be established to ensure that privacy-first is placed at the forefront of all marketing and advertising. 

Good measurement will become a USP for brands and advertising agencies that do it well. How will this be achieved? At the moment, it’s still fluid. However, it’s fair to say that good measurement will comprise respecting privacy choices, whilst maximising the incrementality of your marketing. 

But privacy-first is here to stay.

The Final Word

We have firmly established what privacy-first means. We understand the roadmap of privacy-first: past, present and future. Additionally, we also know the 3 most likely outcomes for a privacy-first environment. 

It’s now time to start implementing this. The first step involves effective planning for privacy-first. We’ll cover this topic in more detail very soon.