Google The Responsible Marketing Hub With Google Data & Privacy

Why client-agency trust is key for automated privacy solutions at scale


By Jenni Baker, Senior Editor

January 10, 2023 | 10 min read

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Media.Monks trio Doug Hall, Rodney Perry and Zamira Khamidova have worked side-by-side for over a decade. They finish one another’s sentences. Here, the self-professed “nerds” share how they help implement automated privacy solutions at scale for brands like Diageo by building trust.

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How can marketers keep up with the fast-moving and complex privacy landscape?

Trust is at the heart of the privacy story. As brands listen to consumer demand for greater online privacy, they earn trust and performance improves. But the prelude to building consumer trust requires a change in tech and mindset, as well as time and knowledge - the kind of expertise agencies have.

With hundreds of sub-brands, businesses like Diageo understand all too well the importance of agency support. But how have the data and analytics team at Media.Monks helped Diageo and a second well known international consumer packaged goods (CPG) super-brand implement privacy-first solutions on a global scale?

A new era of data privacy

The privacy landscape is fast-moving and complex, with changes in technology, regulation and public opinion all coming into play. Customers want more control over their data, but they also value personalized experiences, while brands want to continue driving growth.

But these shouldn't be at odds. When companies get privacy right, they can increase their share of brand preference. Google’s new research with Ipsos shows that when customers feel in control of their data, they experience significant increases in trust and brand preference. People prefer to buy from brands that are honest about what data they collect and why

“That’s where we come in,” says Doug Hall, vice-president, data services and technology, Media.Monks EMEA. “At Media.Monks, the data and analytics team works across the entire data lifecycle, from collection to transformation to activation. And it’s not just quantitative but qualitative data – the human aspects – as well. We work in partnership with our clients to help get them the data they need to plan, optimize and prove the ROI on their campaigns. It comes down to three approaches.”

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1. When it comes to data, think people-first

For Media.Monks, it’s important to remember there’s a human at the other side of the screen. And people expect something in return for their data. “We need to show users how a company’s responsible use of their data can help to build a better website or experience for them,” says Hall. “That’s when you can go beyond first-party consent to collecting voluntarily shared zero-party data.” This is a sure sign of trust, and a key focus for the future of data measurement.

While people are driving the privacy-first approach, it’s technology that helps get it over the line, for example, Google Analytics 4 (GA4). Media.Monks is helping to migrate GA4 across hundreds of Diageo’s sub-brands to enhance measurement and drive performance while respecting customers' privacy.

“GA4 has been rebuilt from the ground up with privacy in mind,” says Zamira Khamidova, director of data, Media.Monks North America. “It includes features, like Consent Mode, that allows you to adjust how your Google tags behave based on the consent status of your users.”

GA4 measures events, not hits. With Consent Mode, companies can measure interactions, but not the user. “It helps us understand what’s happening on their website, without knowing what that particular person is doing,” says Khamidova. “We can then use automated modeling to understand what would have happened if everyone had consented. It’s a good way of seeing the full ROI.”

2. Consider the data’s purpose

Umbrella brands wanting to scale their data globally should focus on data quality, not volume. “The old high-volume data collection model doesn’t work for digital. It’s not agile or fast enough,” explains Hall. “We ask clients to come to us with a specific business problem, then work out how to answer it with data – furthering their trust in us.”

In order to scale, datasets must be comparable. “Diageo has many different types of websites, for example, brand, campaign, competition entry and e-commerce,” says Khamidova. “First, we identified primary measurement metrics that are easy to compare across any site. Then we created a secondary tier that was specific to the core purpose of each site category.”

On top of this, the migration to GA4 provided an opportunity to realign site measurement with strategic goals. “Our measurement framework with Diageo grew organically over time,” adds Khamidova. “Moving to GA4 helped us rethink what we should be measuring, and how.” The Diageo migration covered 150 sites, including 32 Direct to Consumer sites where transactional data is now collected with a less than 5% error margin.

3. Scale with automation and uniformity

At a global level, any measurement update needs to be consistently applied across all brand sites. “We can’t use incomparable data to grow a business globally,” says Hall. “Once we’ve got common measurements in place, that’s where automation comes in. You can apply the same solution to all sites, and off you go.” This automated strategy for Diageo saved over 200 working hours.

Working with a well known global CPG brand, Media.Monks helped unify metrics across 37 brands in 150 countries. One of the challenges was identifying a common measurement across different online experiences. “We landed on ‘experience started, experience completed’. This worked globally, across all sites,” explains Rodney Perry, associate director of analytics, Media.Monks. “We then created an internal tool where we could change any dimensions within that, and apply it across everything using automation.”

Naming uniformity is also key at such a scale. “If something isn’t tagged correctly, we can’t pick it up to analyze it,” Perry adds. To address this, Media.Monks helped the brand implement a global campaign-naming taxonomy, and created a global playbook for local media partners. This has achieved an increase of 10% in global ROI since 2017.

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The importance of client-agency trust

For Media.Monks, GA4 adoption is a change management process as much as a technology solution. A key goal of this project was to manage and ultimately accelerate the GA4 rollout, which wasn’t always easy, given the size of the clients. “Company culture doesn't change overnight. The larger the organization, the more time and care is needed,” says Hall.

This is where agencies are well-placed to offer their expertise. “Bigger businesses are often more risk averse,” says Perry. “They are keen to be more privacy-focused, but they don’t necessarily understand Consent Mode, or Enhanced Conversions, or switching to server-side data collection. Our job is to make sure the client knows about all the latest technology, so they can make fully-informed decisions.”

In order to educate clients, agencies must fully get to know their business culture, strategy and growth drivers. “I always recommend starting a big change like GA4 adoption with an audit,” says Hall. “Look at the client’s tech stack, martech stack and current infrastructure.” The more agencies understand, the better they can identify opportunities, prove the value of their partnership and earn client trust.

For marketers, it’s a time for collaboration and removing silos within the company. “You can’t just wear one hat any more,” says Khamidova. “You need to get the right people in the room, or on the right teams, from the off. With Diageo, we work in cross-functional pods, so you can make sure everyone is getting data they can review and use.”

Moving forwards with data privacy

With any transformation, it’s important to think ahead. Going forward, companies that get privacy right won’t be dealing with smaller datasets. In fact, they’ll see more consented first-party data, and zero-party data, come in. By working more closely with their agencies, brands can be ready to adopt new technology and ways of measuring, from using more modeled data to moving to server-side data collection.

Google The Responsible Marketing Hub With Google Data & Privacy

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