Data Implications for Marketers in 2018

Four weeks after GDPR came into force many marketers and agencies are still scrambling to stay abreast of all the changes and implications. However GDPR was only the tip of the iceberg. There are other tectonic changes like Apple limiting Safari tracking and DoubleClick restricting visibility of DoubleClick ID that impact the established methods by which marketers use data for targeting and attribution. Here in Australia we already have strong privacy laws that uphold individuals privacy but this shouldn’t mean we can’t get on the front foot and address data privacy issues.

As marketers we can all agree that data improves our campaigns, but not at the cost of breaching personal privacy or exposing our businesses to legal censure by breaching laws. Too many headlines like ‘Data is the new oil’ and buzzwords like ‘personalisation’ and ‘data-driven marketing’ created an unregulated industry geared towards generating voluminous data that could be packaged as game-changing.

Issues like Cambridge Analytica have also heightened consumer concerns around how their data may be misused. In a recent survey by ADMA 59% of Australians responded that they are concerned about the issue of online privacy. But within these adversities Marketers must see both lessons as well as opportunities to take proactive measures to revamp their data strategies.

1. The rise of first-party audiences

GDPR has forced major technology companies to update their policies and will restrict the quantity and methods of using 3rd party data available to marketers. In addition, across the broader web with consumers increasingly deleting cookies and their browsing histories the reliability and freshness of 3rd party data is under question. For marketers this implies turning their focus to building First-party data lists that they can own and control. Some examples of first party audiences are your website visitors, users on email lists, CRM databases, mobile app users and those who’ve engaged with your content before.

What does this mean for businesses?

Performance from tactics such as Lookalike targeting and Retargeting/Upsell based on first-party audiences always outperform other data tactics. Building new audience lists must be a priority and agreements with last-mile stakeholders such as supermarkets, ticketing agents and car-dealers who directly interface with customers must include conditions to access customer data. First-party data allows marketers among other things to create lookalikes, personalize ads, segment customers based on lifetime value and exclude recent purchasers from new acquisition campaigns for efficiency. In short marketers would be better off doing direct data deals with relevant publishers, and then washing that data with their own for better targeting across the internet.

2. Audit data management processes

In modern organisations data is scattered across departments marketing, IT, sales, and may not be under the purview of a single owner. In the event of a data breach or consumer challenge the absence of a is could delay and stymie the organisations ability to respond quickly.

What does this mean for businesses?

Every organisation must have a designated Data Lead who is accountable for all aspects of data collection, exchange, storage and usage and is familiar with relevant laws.  Privacy policies should be looked at as an opportunity to have a dialogue on the company’s commitment to safeguarding user rights rather than a defensive mechanism to mitigate risk.

3. Question the quality of 3rd party data

Australia is a country of only 24 mn so available data resources are few and often the same datasets are extensively used across media publishers and clients. We are all  approached by data brokers offering unique data to target but then left to wonder about these are collected and how reliable they are. The problem is that in the quest to stay ahead of the competition most of the data used in marketing is from 3rd party brokers and is non opt-in and unregulated. This is an opportune inflection moment to pivot and work with fewer but higher-quality data partners.

What does this mean for businesses?

Ensure that all partners; technology or inventory suppliers who interact with your customers have robust data collection procedures and are compliant as per the relevant privacy laws in your market. Where data is being used for targeting consent must be implicit and for the purposes it is going to be used for.

4. Put the User first

Data privacy concerns arise when users feel that their data is on sold without their permission or used to manipulate their actions as with the use in the US Elections. The ADMA research also highlighted that 73% of Australians think that businesses generally benefit the most from data sharing – so much needs to be done to improve the perceived benefit of sharing data to consumers. As long as it is used in subtle ways to improve their online experience or retained only to deliver future rewards consumers will not mind.

What does this mean for businesses?

Build out user consumer journey maps and define how data can enhance the consumer experience and serve their need states at every stage through personalized messaging and better audience segmentation. Data should be an enabler and not an outcome. Also while personalisation sounds great in boardrooms remember no consumer actually asked to be followed around the web bombarded with creepy “i-know-what-you-want” ads. So be intuitive not obvious when using data to enhance your marketing.



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