If personalization is the future of marketing, how do we factor in data privacy, which is becoming increasingly but understandably stringent. In today’s data-sensitive world, the ratio between privacy and personalization hangs in the balance. So where do we draw the line?
The future, in my opinion, has always been cohort-based advertising. Identifying individual users was always a grey area, even when you could do it in a less data-sensitive world. As long as we, as marketers, can identify similar cohorts of users and look for creative ways to target them, audience targeting will still survive.
While the industry has forayed into a privacy-centric model, not a lot has changed in the case of mobile measurement (in India). Even before these privacy updates, one had to work with Mobile Attribution Platforms (MAP) to attribute conversions because most publishers (especially walled gardens) would just not pass the campaign referral ID to the advertiser. The challenge was always there. Now, with stricter guidelines on using IDFA and AAID, the consumer is in control. Either way, we are in the right direction as an industry.
If brands worked with MAPs as hygiene before, they need to look at it as a necessity now. I firmly believe that smart marketers and brands still understand the power of communication and should not become obsessed with the noise around them. These privacy updates were bound to happen one day – Consumers need to be given control of their privacy. But nothing else changes. When YouTube launched YouTube Premium, advertising on YouTube did not die. Platforms evolve, marketers need to be on their toes. This is what makes it so satisfying to work in the digital marketing industry.
Marketers looking to add value in this era of enhanced privacy regulations should start taking contextual advertising more seriously. As much as I am an advocate of audience targeting, contextual advertising is the way forward. Conversations with vendors of programmatic, open web platforms – who are investing a lot in this space – are moving away from audience targeting to contextual advertising and how AI/ML can be leveraged in this area.
In the user-privacy-driven space, companies who want to create better brand awareness and stand apart from the competition just need to remember – don’t spam your customers. Provide customers with lenient options to give explicit consent or to opt out.
As for the other end of the marketing spectrum – measurement, the key is a consistent attribution model. As long as we treat all channels and strategies with the same attribution yardstick, marketers will still be able to find winners and get rid of losers.
Views expressed are personal.