Chances are, if you work even remotely close to your organization’s marketing team, you’ve heard the phrase “data privacy” a lot lately.
Tech giants Apple and Google recently sent shockwaves through the digital marketing community with updates to their privacy policies that are spelling the end to third-party cookies and tracking pixels.
But what does it all mean? And why should you care?
A Turning Point
In layman’s terms, Apple’s recent iOS update marked a major change in the way users consent to tracking on mobile apps. Once installed, the update will require apps to obtain explicit permission to track a user’s behavior across companies’ devices and websites. (iPhone users: These are the privacy notifications popping up lately when you first open apps.)
If a user opts out of this tracking, app providers lose the ability to track them across platforms – and deliver them tailored ads. An industry study in the first three weeks of the iOS 14.5 rollout found that the global opt-in rate for data collection average was 13%, whereas the U.S. daily opt-in rate averaged around 6%.
For brands leveraging advertising on mobile apps like Facebook or Instagram, this change is having major implications. If a user opts out, it hinders a brand’s ability to track any of the conversions made on their iOS devices, as well as any user data like demographics, buyer interests or behavior. As a result, audience retargeting and campaign efficacy has been diminished industry-wide, driving CPMs higher for many.
This is just the latest in a string of disruptions as brands continue to prioritize consumer trust. Google made headlines in early 2020 after announcing it would remove support for third-party cookies, effectively eliminating marketers’ ability to target individuals in exchange for clusters of users with similar interests. While this change has been punted until 2023, as the focus on consumer privacy continues, businesses are forced to reassess their dependence on third-party data.
The Cookie Crumbles
With reliance on third-party data akin to building a house on rented land, brands are increasingly realizing the critical value in collecting and leveraging first party data. Some shifts are simpler than others, such as pivoting your goals from clicks and conversions to lead collection leveraged for future nurturing and retargeting efforts.
Outside of their advertising efforts however, businesses need to look for new ways to drive – and track – meaningful actions and engagements on their brand’s owned platforms, such as their website. By focusing on creating a robust content marketing strategy, brands are empowered to prioritize their owned media channels and capture more first-party data, as well as take greater control of their messaging in the process.
If there is anything this update will teach businesses and advertisers alike is the digital landscape is constantly changing, but content is still ultimately king. As brands cope with the fallout from recent changes and prepare for a world without third-party cookies, it’s critical businesses turn their sites to first-party data collection – starting with their owned media.
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