2022 is already another pivotal year of transformation within the digital advertising space. In the recent past, there has been a rising tide of regulations and private sector actions surrounding the protection of consumer privacy. As newly enacted privacy legislation sweeps the globe, advertisers are seeking innovative ways to engage their audiences, collect valuable data, and ultimately drive a profit in the new age of the Internet.
To prevent enforcement actions from current and upcoming privacy legislation, advertisers will need to ask permission to obtain valuable data insights from their core audiences. Those that do will succeed in the continued race for customer attention. Requiring active consent and offering consumers a desirable reward in exchange for their data will become the new standard by which brands and publishers interact with their audiences.
Privacy Legislation Worldwide Will Accelerate
The worldwide consumer privacy law trend was largely spurred by the passing of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), initially implemented in 2018. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) was then passed, leading several states to put forth their own privacy legislation. Brazil enacted its General Data Protection Law (LGPD) in late 2020, and in late 2021, China implemented its own national privacy statute, the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), known for being difficult to navigate and heavy on government interference. Additionally, the UAE enacted the Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL), which has in contrast been largely welcomed by global markets.
It can safely be predicted that more jurisdictions will pass regulations similar to the aforementioned; not only individual states within the US, but in major countries across the globe. Enforcement actions against platforms and advertisers will become very meaningful. Advertisers will need to become increasingly vigilant regarding compliance efforts, including staying up-to-date on legal developments. Changing regulations means that advertisers now, more than ever, must ask for explicit, unequivocal consent to collect users’ personal data.
Web 3.0 and Personal Data Ownership Will Become Firmly Entrenched
Web 1.0 was the revolutionary birth of the Internet that seemingly erupted from nowhere. It put browsers in the hands of countless PC users, launched millions of websites, and gave birth to e-commerce in all of its glory. It spawned unprecedented levels of innovation and networked the planet into a globalized, connected world, homogenizing – and polarizing – cultures. Its newness and its potential defined it, but as it paved its way to necessity, change occurred.
Web 2.0 was an evolution of Web 1.0, more capable, interactive, and collaborative. The primary innovations in Web 2.0 were social media and user-generated content, supported by the application of big data technology. This enabled giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and all their country cousins to wield extraordinary commercial power over – and eventually abuse – our personal data.
Web 3.0 will empower consumers to be the owners of their personal data. Legacy centralized organizations trading in information will see a decline in market share for the first time since their inception. Individuals, armed with the knowledge their data is valuable, and equipped with decentralized technologies like blockchain that support data autonomy, will share in its value creation. This transfer of power is already happening, with progressive brands seeking ways to reward consumers for their time and data. Advertisers that adapt to these changes and act in accordance with these principles are far more likely to see success.
Opt-in Value Exchange Will Reign
Since 2014, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc, has publicly spoken about the importance of consumer privacy. The company is leading the industry with new privacy controls across a multitude of application operations. With the launch of iOS 14.5 in 2021, analytics data revealed that over 96% of users elected to “Ask App Not to Track” their data, opting out of the third-party data exploitation long seen in the space. The reasoning behind this is easy to understand – users feel they are not gaining anything from opting in, so why would they do so? This changes, however, with the concept of opt-in value exchange – the offer of a reward of some kind for the consumer for their time, attention, and personal data. Studies have shown that 79% of consumers are willing to share their personal and preference data for a reward.
Brands that invest in consent-based campaigns will continue to outperform and permission marketing will quickly become the norm in digital advertising. Successful brands will recognize the critical importance of understanding their customer. Without a direct line to third-party data as privacy controls increase, opt-in value exchange will become a standard for paid media, offering consumers a desired reward in return for their time and information. Rewarded advertising increases consumer appeal, engagement, and brand safety. As with any value exchange, trust is cultivated between the parties. Opt-in value exchange will drive advertising in Web3.
The Rise of Consumer Data Platforms (CDPs)
The structure of the Internet is moving away from third-party data. The requirements of the aforementioned privacy legislation and the deprecation of the third-party cookie have meant that the hurdles to the data brokerage that ruled Web 2.0 are now becoming too significant to ignore. Clearly preferable is first-party data, which can be collected and utilized by one source. Data acquisition and management must now turn to unification solutions as organizations look to gather data from disparate sources to create meaningful intelligence. Consumer Data Platforms (CDPs) aim to integrate older systems that marketers have relied on to capture relevant customer information across their operations. This move intends to clearly organize and create actionable insights, drive campaign intelligence, support data privacy and compliance, and understand the customer journey from the user’s perspective.
Through a unified customer view, CDPs deliver greater understanding of the user journey. Marketers and advertisers will be able to micro-focus on user experiences across the customer engagement cycle, utilizing first-party data, thus decreasing reliance on third-party data brokers that have long dominated the market.
As CDPs dramatically increase their prevalence and market share, brands will begin to rely less on data marketplaces and brokers such as Liveramp, and pivot to focus on direct, one-to-one relationships with their consumers.
2022, and Beyond, Will be About the Consumer
For advertisers, publishers, and consumers, the future is rapidly changing. Web 3.0 is trending towards bringing brands and consumers back together in a trusted, engaged relationship that respects the individual’s personal information. Current and forthcoming privacy legislation will continue to have a significant impact on the landscape. Advertising technologies that enable consumers to own their data, ask permission for its use, and share in its value creation will outperform in Web3.