Home The Sell Sider Brands Need To Accept Responsibility For Keeping Consumer Data Safe

Brands Need To Accept Responsibility For Keeping Consumer Data Safe


The Sell Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Mark Pearlstein, CRO at Permutive

While Google’s recent decision to extend the life of third-party cookies for another year didn’t come as much of a surprise, it nonetheless sent another ripple throughout the ecosystem.

As we enter a future focused on restoring consumer trust, the past few years have seen plenty of changes to the digital advertising landscape. We’ve seen an increasing number of consumer privacy regulations implemented around the world, including GDPR and CCPA. Apple has overhauled its Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) and introduced its AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework. Firefox and Safari have already blocked third-party cookies in their browsers.

At a time when publishers are already seeing opt-out rates of up to 55% due to Chrome’s implementation of a “reject all” cookies option in Europe, does it really matter if Google ever deprecates the third-party cookie? And does anyone really believe Big Tech should lead the way in building back the consumer trust that has been lost through years of consentless data collection and retargeting?

Brands and publishers have a big role to play  

Big Tech companies have presented themselves as the answer to the cookie deprecation. They have made themselves the gatekeepers of consumer data and trust. But that isn’t the role Big Tech should play.

Advertisers and publishers are perfectly positioned to lead the charge to restore consumer trust. Both have first-party relationships with the consumer (unlike Big Tech) and can restore consumer trust by responsibly stewarding people’s data. In fact, recent research found that 89% of consumers are more likely to spend money with a brand that makes a commitment to protecting their personal data versus one that doesn’t. And 75% of consumers are not comfortable with buying from a brand with poor data ethics.

Big Tech’s role should be to drive the new era of privacy, with updates that help the entire industry alleviate the doubts consumers have about how their personal data is used. We’ve already seen this happening with Google’s Privacy Sandbox proposals and Apple’s updates. Apple, in particular, has moved privacy considerations to a consumer level, giving them knowledge of how the industry works in their TV ads and offering them a choice over how their data is used.

Trust is the foundation for the future

Consented, privacy-compliant, first-party data acquired through trusted relationships means that advertising can continue to be relevant to audiences – built on respect that third-party strategies have not always delivered. By working with publishers that already have their first-party data strategy in place, advertisers can deliver addressability at scale, without compromising consumers’ privacy.


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For brands to begin treating customer data with the respect it deserves, it’s up to ad tech companies to empower the ecosystem by acting as an infrastructure rather than an intermediary. And, by the same token, advertisers should be engaging with ad tech in the same way. Or, they risk consumer trust and, consequently, will not be able to reach the audiences they want.

The future of data in advertising is going to center around trust. It’s the only way that consumers are going to agree to share their data with an advertiser or a publisher. Whether Google keeps delaying the deprecation of its third-party cookies until the end of time shouldn’t have bearing on the decision to be prepared for an ecosystem without them.

The privacy-first future shouldn’t be daunting. It should be viewed as an opportunity to do things the right way. It creates a wealth of possibilities beyond what has been gained from our reliance on third-party data. Working with an ecosystem built on trust, privacy and consented first-party data should be a priority for brands, enabled by ad tech. And it should be both the present and future for the digital advertising industry.

Follow Permutive (@Permutive) and AdExchanger (@AdExchanger) on Twitter.

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