The future of marketing is building a privacy-safe world

“Privacy regulations, e-commerce integration, customer data platforms, and better ROI optimization enabled by smarter marketing analytics” will be some of the leading trends going forward, according to Ben Poole, head of office of Singapore-based data company Fifty-Five.

Brands are finding themselves in very uncertain business environments, as there is a move towards the post-pandemic new normal. As already experienced, the decisions being made today will chart the journey to the future of digital marketing, and impact long-term successes. Here are some trends that will impact the digital marketing landscape of the present and the future.

Consumer data privacy will reshape digital marketing

Cookies and other available trackers will continue to be compromised by the ‘triple cookie restriction’: legal (GDPR, PDPA); technical (browsers and operating systems); and behavioral (ad blockers and cookie notice blockers). Consumer data privacy is a key concern for regulators and consumers alike, as more turn to online services and platforms to fulfill day-to-day functions. Data privacy regulations are fast evolving in Southeast Asia. For example, Singapore and Thailand have already implemented PDPA (personal data protection act) regulations that comprise requirements governing the collection, use, and care of personal data which protects consumer data privacy.

In 2022 and beyond, countries in Southeast Asia are expected to seek tougher approaches to data regulations. These data privacy enhancements are already leading to a major shift across advertising platforms to develop consent-based solutions. Meanwhile, the ‘walled gardens’ such as social platforms like Google, Facebook, and e-commerce like Lazada will seek to strengthen their hand with first-party data, while the rest of the open web will come to rely more and more on contextually driven targeting solutions.

With the increasing shift to first-party data and modelization, media measurement and activation teams will increasingly employ data compliance experts and data scientists to ensure data safety, data quality, and data actionability. The securing of data, renewal of measurement and targeting approaches, and deployment of a ‘watch-and-innovate’ mindset will become ever more important in 2022.

Ecommerce will change how brands organize themselves and their data

The pandemic has accelerated Southeast Asia’s digital commerce transformation. By the end of 2021, there will be 350 million digital consumers in this region, of which almost 80% of consumers will have gone digital, according to Facebook’s Annual Digital Consumer Report.

In 2022 and beyond, many digital habits learned in the last few months will persist, including e-commerce and grocery shopping – which have seen the most profound change with almost half of all digital consumers in Southeast Asia now shopping online for daily necessities.

The divergence of media investments across digital platforms (Google, Facebook, TikTok) and marketplaces (Lazada, Shopee, Amazon, Tokopedia), has led to increased data and organizational silos, creating challenges around accurately measuring and optimizing digital marketing budgets.

Brands will reorganize to integrate digital media and e-commerce teams while rethinking their data architecture to take into account this increased investment into new e-retail platforms.

The future will be about a unified customer view

As Southeast Asia continues to see a transformation in online user behavior and digital commerce, marketing investments have diversified across various platforms, leading to data silos that prevent digital marketers from seeing a complete view of customers and their buying journeys.

The customer data platform (CDP) promises to reconcile all channels’ first-party data in a privacy-compliant manner. The CDP creates a more complete view of each customer by capturing data from multiple systems, linking information related to the same customer, and storing the information to track behavior over time. It contains personal identifiers used to target marketing messages and track individual-level marketing results.

The real question then would be: will all marketers need a CDP? Not necessarily, as there are currently more than 10 technologies such as Google Cloud Platform, that have features that overlap with a CDP existing in the market today that can achieve similar results.

Therefore, when choosing to acquire a CDP, the marketer must first determine if they have access to a large amount of individual-level data to learn how to achieve a higher level of data granularity. Marketers should also consider whether they have the in-house skills necessary to deploy a CDP, whether that be an IT team or knowledgeable marketing technologist.

Evolving shape of brand engagement backed by digital analytics

The future of digital marketing analytics technology is bright. New and improved tech such as Google Analytics 4 will represent a new paradigm in digital analytics. Digital marketers will look forward to more in-depth marketing analytics and e-commerce reports, which will provide the opportunity to create enriched customer journeys that are multi-screen and multi-device.

Expect to see cross-platform material benefits (consistent metrics and dimensions, for integrated reporting across web and app); flexible and efficient (faster event modeling for more granular and flexible analysis); more visual (ad-hoc analysis and improved data visualization for a deeper understanding of your users); more intelligent (machine learning capabilities that automatically surface insights, anomalies and predictions).

A new era in digital marketing beckons, driven by evolving data privacy, emerging consumer behaviors, and technology solutions that will help the modern marketer craft privacy safe, superior customer experiences – all driven by data. The securing of compliant data, the design of new media measurement and activation methods, and keeping a ‘watch-and-innovate’ mindset towards regulatory and platform privacy changes, will be key to succeeding in 2022 and beyond.

The future would be about unlocking the potential of these advanced analytics to give digital marketers more user-centric insights, with a much deeper understanding of individual customer journeys, and how to improve them for better business results.

Ben Poole is head of office of Singapore-based data company Fifty-Five.