Data Governance in the Age of Programmatic Advertising
by Alexander Perrin
As more advertising dollars are allocated for digital, one thing is clear: Data fuels how marketers make decisions and radically alters how consumers navigate through brand experiences in our distraction economy. Not all data is created equal, and advertisers are increasingly responsible for ethical data-collection practices on the heels of current and prospective regulation, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the U.S. With more consumer data available than ever before, it’s time to proactively rid the marketing ecosystem of data violating consumers’ preferences and rights and focus on data efficacy, transparency, and consumer controls.
| With more consumer data available than ever before, itís time to proactively rid the marketing ecosystem of data violating consumersí preferences and rights and focus on data efficacy, transparency, and consumer controls.
THE CASE FOR DATA PROACTIVITY
If data is the new currency, then registered user identity data is an elite investment stock that will pay unparalleled dividends to brands that invest early. It’s estimated that, on average, only 47% of brands today think they’re using first-party data effectively (emarketer.com/content/advertisers-struggle-first-party-data), and according to internal Viant research, less than 20% of data transacted today is registered user identity-based data. Emerging legislation across the U.S. gives advertisers stricter rules for managing this data and also threatens the existence of other third-party data sources that advertisers have used for more than a decade, arguably without consumer knowledge.
As regulations continue to be established, it’s a critical time to be proactive in understanding the types of data advertisers use, how brands collect that data, and how data is audited for efficacy and compliance. It’s a time for us to ask: How can we use (and monetize) registered user consumer data for the purpose of positive brand experiences? Brands that are not asking this question will find themselves to be brands of the past, and they’ll potentially pay some hefty fines.
THE VALUE EXCHANGE
Consumers accept advertising—some for convenience and others for financial reasons. This trend is everywhere, but the power is in having the choice. For quality ad platforms that support deterministic datasets, it’s a time when relevant ad experiences are as simple as can be. While it’s easy for a content provider to create a seamless value exchange, it’s more difficult for brands to do the same directly. Successful brands find new ways of incentivizing data collection. But they learned that the hard way, with research showing that 79% of consumers will abandon a brand if their personal data is used without their knowledge (hbr .org/2018/06/to-regain-consumers-trust-marketers-need-transparent-data-practices). Brands that provide the most value and offer the most control over data collection will have a strategic advantage throughout the next decade.
THE FUTURE OF CONSUMER EXPERIENCES
A recent survey asked how effective digital advertising campaigns are, with 18% of respondents saying ads “‘often’ seemed to understand their needs” and 9% saying “they ‘never’ understand them” (mediapost.com/publications/article/326515/data-still-makes-ads-irrelevant-consumers-say.html). With this in mind, one thing is clear: Despite how much data marketers are using, we collectively struggle to provide positive experiences for consumers. If one thing can be learned from recent regulations, it’s that consumers eventually get what they want, and what they (and we) want is respect and value (monetary or experiential) for the data provided.
This privacy renaissance has fundamentally shifted brand imperatives for data collection and management—willingly or not. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. Not only do recent regulations impose fees for noncompliance, but brands that are not proactive run the risk of violating consumer trust. Once lost, consumer trust is nearly impossible to rebuild. As the industry becomes increasingly data-driven, marketers must avoid becoming secretive and manipulative with data collection. We should use data to relate to consumers and help guide them to positive experiences and products. Let’s work to improve lives, not manipulate them for the sake of a higher click-through rate.