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In the privacy-first era, what responsibility do advertisers have?

Brian Kane, co-founder and COO
May 9, 2022
Graphic showing billboards - text reads advertisers and privacy -

How to understand and navigate the coming era of privacy, and where to find the opportunities to drive the necessary changes, by Sourcepoint co-founder, Brian Kane. 

Since the advent of GDPR, much of the industry’s conversation on consumer privacy has centered on four themes: European compliance; the US state privacy law patchwork; alternatives to the third-party cookie; and frustration with Big Tech’s dominance over user data. To date, apart from a small set of innovative brands, advertisers have largely taken a reactive stance to privacy in the digital advertising ecosystem. But with 2022 well under way, that’s all finally starting to change. 

Increasingly, brands are thinking about the role that privacy (i.e., the respectful use of consumer data) plays in ensuring the sustainability of their operations. And it’s about time, with privacy advocates pushing for more oversight of what has somehow been coined “surveillance advertising”. The big technology platforms, like Google and Apple, are making privacy a number one priority, and leveraging privacy protection as a competitive differentiator. Brands must follow suit by changing the way they think about consumer preferences. Consented first-party data and interest-based cohorts are both tactics that have become essential for successful privacy-centric marketing. In retail, for example, the potential for brands to use first-party data gained from loyalty card systems is offering a new type of value exchange between consumers and brands.

Where does all this leave advertising, specifically? Increasingly, instead of blindly rolling the dice on the open web, shrewd advertisers are moving data privacy and data ethics to the center of their brand’s strategy. If personalized advertising is to continue, it’s clear that current market dynamics are no longer sustainable. Advertisers have an important role to play in ensuring that the entire digital supply chain is meeting consumer privacy standards. 

Read the rest of the article on WARC here.

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