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Google Technology The Responsible Marketing Hub With Google

From consent to collaboration: how to drive privacy centric growth in 2024


By Jenni Baker, Senior Editor

November 7, 2023 | 8 min read

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Data leaders from The Open University, OMG and Google share how marketers can maximize privacy-centric growth opportunities in an ever-changing online ecosystem.

From consent to collaboration: how to drive privacy centric growth in 2024

Privacy centric growth: everything a marketer needs to know in 2024

With third-party cookie loss on the horizon in 2024 and new regulations coming into effect to protect user privacy, advertisers need to get on the front foot with a strong data privacy strategy. And this should be considered as a core part of forward planning, rather than an afterthought.

But every brand is at a different stage on its own journey. Some industries are more limited on what data they can collect, others are dealing with more sensitive data and then there are those that have collected it, but don’t know how to best utilize it. “It’s not one size fits all but it’s definitely worth having a strategy in place wherever you are on your journey,” says Judy Dinmore, performance industry manager, Google.

“Our approach is very much about getting us fit for the future and maintaining performance by developing a strategic approach to data and tech together,” explains Charlie Edge, senior marketing strategy and planning manager, The Open University. “As a brand who is sitting on a large database of enquiry and student data, first-party data was a key part of the answer - but not the only part.”

While first-party data is central to post-cookie plans for many advertisers, Katie Eyton, chief ethics and compliance officer at OMG, adds that “sometimes we get hung up on that being personal data as the one type of first-party data available to you - but don’t forget all the other first-party data you’re sitting on (sales trends, geographic breakdowns, seasonality data) and how to leverage it.”

Gaining consent

Privacy considerations will support how much value advertisers can get from that data, with Eyton emphasizing the importance of getting consent and optimizing the consent process. “There have been a lot of important regulatory judgements recently, which have made it clear that, where you’re sharing personal data for advertising use cases, you’re likely to need informed consent, rather than relying on any other legal basis,” she says.

“Focus on what you want to get consent for and how you ask for this consent,” she adds. “We typically see that consent rates are improved when you use simple, accessible language rather than legal speak, so make sure marketing and privacy work together on this.”

Consent is something that Edge explains is an important part of The Open University’s roadmap. It has been working to get the right foundations in place, including migrating to Google Analytics 4 and starting to explore privacy-preserving technologies like Enhanced Conversions (which use first-party data connections) and Consent Mode (to capture more data of consented users), while parallel tracking consent tests to understand what impact changes to how it asks for consent will have on marketing to make “balanced and informed risk based decisions”.

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Making connections

While technology is evolving like lightning, Google’s Dinmore believes that this is where AI-powered ad solutions and measurement can play its role across the full funnel from the start to the end of a campaign. “As marketers we need to look at the full funnel of technology usage as everything is connected and focus on AI privacy centric tools to bridge data gaps,” she says.

The industry already relies more and more on AI for both campaign optimization and to estimate the number of conversions delivered and while there are lots of alternatives out there to third-party cookies, “not all of them are going to cut it from a privacy perspective,” says Eyton. “Look at how regulators are thinking about these solutions, so that you don’t waste time and energy on technologies which a regulator might turn round in six months and say is unlawful.”

Eyton suggests that a good place to start is by looking at what is worth exploring: contextual, geo-planning and Google’s Privacy Sandbox APIs, and to “make sure that your existing martech - especially your demand side platform (DSP) and consent management platform - support it (as not all of them do) and then get a timeline in place for testing as soon as possible”.

Driving collaboration

The panelists agree that taking a proactive approach to privacy is a cross-functional effort that requires multiple stakeholders to come together around a business-wide data privacy strategy.

“There are a lot of stakeholders involved and we need to start speaking the same language,” says Dinmore. “Gather the right privacy stakeholders and have your core group on board. This is going to affect all of us, so we need to ensure we understand the effects and challenges we face. What we need is these stakeholders (from marketeers to technical teams and DPOs) to fulfill and understand the roles they play as things become more complex. Ensure you are all on the same page, be clear on roles and responsibilities and scale your narrative at pace.”

Engaging these stakeholders early in the process and having regular dialogue is critical to make informed decisions, proactively manage issues and adopt a balanced risk approach for progress, adds Edge. She notes that “it’s easier to get teams to change how they are doing things with tech (like third-party cookie alternatives) but it’s harder to get action on a broader level” on something like this, stressing the importance of driving high level buy-in to the positive impact of a good data privacy strategy to futureproof the marketing approach.

Watch the full discussion on ‘Privacy centric growth: everything a marketer needs to know in 2024’ with Google, The Open University and OMG, here on The Drum TV.

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