Privacy is Personal


From the disappearance of cookies to the introduction of the EU’s GDPR, the California Consumer Privacy Act, and iOS 14 updates, privacy is top of mind for everyone in the digital space recently. We’re here to help you sort through some of that chaos and make the biggest impact with your digital strategies.

Why is it happening?

In short: to protect you. While sometimes it may seem a little extreme, it’s all being put in place to protect consumers and their private data.

Your personal and financial information is highly desirable to cyber criminals and it’s important to minimize the risk of someone gaining access to it. But a lot of these laws and regulations being put in place are putting the focus on how businesses collect, store, use, secure, and sell customer information.

Overall, this is a good thing. It keeps personal data out of the hands of malicious individuals and it prevents the information from being sold over and over.

What changes?

By now, you’ve probably noticed these changes across the websites and apps you frequent. If you have an iPhone, you probably got a notification on Facebook and Instagram asking you to opt-in to ad tracking. You’ve seen the pop-up on websites about using cookies. And if you’ve updated your iPhone to iOS 14, you’re now being prompted upon opening apps (for the first time after the update) to decide whether to allow the app to track you across other companies’ apps and websites.

Essentially, opting in or out of this tracking determines the data Facebook and other apps and websites can use to serve their users ads, and maybe more importantly, the data they’re allowed to collect.

These changes impact the world of digital marketing on a broad scale when it comes to targeting. In essence, it means if a user opts out of tracking, websites can no longer use your off-site behavior to serve them a more personalized ad experience.

What can we as marketers do?

You might find yourself thinking, if no one shares personal information, like where they travel, what they shop for and buy, or what they like, how can we target them? This data can be used to provide consumers personalized offers, improve their shopping experience, and ultimately enable businesses to sell more.

It may feel like more of a roadblock than a protection, but there are still ways to target the right people with your advertising, it just looks a little different.

First-party tracking isn’t leaving. You can still continue to gather data from your own website, which you can use to create a strong UX for your visitors, as well as offer insight into what people are shopping for and what that demographic is. Check out our blog, How to Track Without Cookies, for more info about cookies and their replacements.

When it comes to social media ads, there are still some targeting parameters available to advertisers, just on a more narrow scale. These sites can still use the information users willingly provide, such as age, location, interests, liked pages, etc. to allow businesses to reach their target audiences. It just may not be as precise as it was before. (Read more about this in our blog, How to Adjust Your Marketing Strategy Following Apple’s iOS 14.5 Privacy Update)

As for search engines like Google and Bing, structure your targeting around strong, relevant keyword lists as opposed to relying solely on audience targeting. When you use keyword targeting, you get a higher intent from users who will see your ad because they are, literally, searching for you.

Lastly, there is still website retargeting, which can be incredibly beneficial in any paid media campaign. Your website tracks who visited and took action on it and you can use this data to serve ads to visitors on other platforms.

TL;DR: We know things are changing in the digital landscape, but don’t panic. With these new regulations comes a lot of security for users and a new way to interpret data for businesses.