Marketing attribution as we know it is about to undergo a major shift towards a privacy-centric relationship with consumers. Since the dawn of internet commerce, marketers have been driven by the ability to freely use third-party cookies for retargeting, user analytics and any sort of data-driven advertising. It’s safe to say that marketing attribution has always been reliant on unlimited consumer data.
Data-driven marketing attribution has become a method for marketers to measure the performance of their various marketing channels. Therefore, allowing marketing teams to optimize their activity and provide sales with valuable lead insights.
However, at the start of 2020, Google announced the removal of third-party cookies by the end of 2023. For marketers, this means access to access a large volume of consumer data will be drastically reduced. But how else will marketing attribution be affected?
Let’s look at the new role of marketing attribution and how it relates to increasing consumers’ privacy.
The Shifting Data Privacy Landscape
Consumer and regulatory pressure have forced companies to adopt higher and more stringent standards for protecting and managing consumer data over the last two years. Between initiatives such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), many believe the United States will soon enact a GDPR-like regulation as several state and data laws are already making their way through Congress.
Along with numerous data privacy scandals, these initiatives spotlight big tech companies that have previously collected and used user data extensively. While transparency and control are undoubtedly good for consumers, they will surely complicate matters for marketers. As consumers continue to push for more control over their information, companies are forced to respond by introducing new privacy rules to retain and attract business. The final nail in the privacy coffin is the death of the third-party cookie. So, what should marketers do now with most of their platforms built on cookies, last-click attribution and consumer data? Thankfully, there are options available for marketers who still want to remain data-driven while respecting consumers’ privacy.
Why Marketers Need to Pay Attention
Over the past few years, privacy changes have thrown marketers for a loop. A recent study found that 79% of Americans are concerned about the way their data is being used by companies. This increased focus on privacy can dramatically impact a marketer’s ability to collect and derive insights rapidly.
However, analytics is only a tiny part of it. Marketers are the champions of the company’s brand image; proactively ignoring consumers’ privacy concerns can greatly impact the brand’s value.
Increasing tension makes it challenging for marketers to create a stellar customer experience while adhering to privacy laws. Brands could have a communications crisis on their hands if they cannot retain their customers’ trust. Overall, closely following customer sentiment and ensuring your company does everything it can to protect their privacy will establish trust, which is key to gaining first-party data. If a consumer trusts a brand, in turn, they will be engaged and the value of that relationship will grow over time.
How Marketers Can Push Through
It can feel incredibly overwhelming for marketers to make sense of what is permitted under the new regulations. However, brands now need to rethink how they use data, not just in terms of privacy policies – but how it can be used ethically. Brands will need to be transparent in notifying customers about how their data is being used and offer ways to opt-out.
Additionally, consumers need to become more educated about consented first-party data, which allows brands to produce higher-quality content and provide more relevant advertising to their target customers.
The most significant of these changes for marketers is how consumers can remove themselves from tracking. So, if you think you can work around these changes with your previous method of marketing attribution, you might need to re-think your method.
Companies that insist on a “one-size-fits-all” approach to marketing will begin to see less successful campaigns sooner than they think. It is time for marketers to pivot to informed and enhanced campaigns driven by first-party, privacy-compliant data that will remain successful even after the next round of targeting or tracking restrictions are thrown our way.