RESPECTING DATA PRIVACY IN A WORLD OF CUSTOMIZATION
With personal data being used more widely in advertising and data harvesting continuing to be a public concern, it is important to take care when handling information. Brands want to reach consumers across a complex digital landscape and drive business outcomes, but they need to do so while respecting their privacy.
André Munro, Director of Data Strategy and Monetization at CBC/Radio-Canada is here to answer some questions about responsible advertising and what we can do to respect consumers' data privacy.
1- Some consumers feel like they have lost their privacy and that brands, apps, mobiles are tracking their behaviours in an inappropriate way. We often hear that it is “creepy” to feel like you talk about something with friends and suddenly ads about that “appear” out of nowhere.. Is it possible to have data driven marketing, yet respect people's privacy?
The industry is actually moving in this direction. The digital marketing space is currently undergoing a major transformation, driven by users' increased expectation of privacy. Governments around the world are implementing stricter laws on internet privacy, including here in Canada. All major internet browsers will soon block third-party cookies by default (the bread crumbs we all leave behind when browsing the internet) and the sharing of mobile phone online activity is also increasingly limited.
At the same time, people want a personalized experience and are frustrated by ads that are not relevant. Marketers & publishers are thus actively seeking ways to adapt, and develop new foundations for online advertising and data management that would support relevant ads, and be consent-driven and privacy-safe. Some of these solutions include data clean rooms, universal IDs that are compliant with privacy regulations, and contextual advertising, which is based on the content being consumed rather than the user's identity or past behavior.
2- How can we better protect personal data and ensure privacy?
CBC/Radio-Canada is a leader in this regard. We follow strict ethical guidelines in all our advertising, content and marketing operations. We are currently acquiring two key technologies that will help us fulfill our user's increased expectation for privacy and for a consent-based experience. First, we will be implementing a Consent Management Platform to empower people to select what information they are comfortable sharing, and we will be able to communicate the value they receive in exchange, such as for a personalized content recommendation experience. Think Netflix and Spotify. Younger generations are very familiar with the added value they get from having “recommendations” and they have come to expect that in a digital experience.
Second, we plan to leverage Data Clean Rooms, which are secure and private platforms that enable publishers and advertisers to collaborate without compromising the privacy of the underlying data. Previously, brands and publishers would rely on tracking pixels installed on websites to compare their audiences and find matches, and build relevant targeting segments. These methods had a high degree of risk, and the types of data exchanged may have been unbeknownst to the initial user. Data Clean Rooms take the risk out of this operation and will enable us to build very relevant segments to our partners without compromising anyone's data. Thanks to the Consent Management Platform, we will also be able to do so while respecting people's opt-in.
A new data-driven advertising ecosystem is emerging, and it is clearly for the better; users will benefit from a more private and secure environment that takes into account their preferences, publishers will have the opportunity to regain control of their own data value, and advertisers will get better attribution measurement.
3- What are the next steps for brands and agencies regarding privacy?
There is no doubt that advertising agencies and clients need to take action. They need to adapt to the evolving regulatory environment such as Loi 25 in Québec and Bill C27 that is coming at the federal level. Everyone also needs to make sure their technological stack will enable them to continue measuring their digital campaign performance when Google finally pulls the plug on third-party cookies in 2024. My advice would be to educate and mobilize your organization, and seek to transform this challenge into an opportunity. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention: can you turn these new limitations into a drive to innovate? Into a drive to enrich and better leverage your first-party data? Into an opening for new data partnerships?