CHICAGO – Stricter privacy laws are forcing marketers to develop strategies to improve audience targeting by developing sources of first-party data that consumers provide voluntarily. However, consumers want to know the benefits of providing that information, a key step in providing transparency and building trust.

“When we talk about leveraging first-party data, we are typically talking about leveraging first-party audiences,” Luke Lambert, head of activation at media agency OMD, a unit of Omnicom Group, said in this interview with Beet.TV

He recommends that marketers embrace privacy as they overhaul their audience tracking methods.

“If we are willing to do that, as we should be willing to do as marketers in responding to what we think is a consumer demand, wonderful! People may want it. They certainly deserve it,” he said.

Privacy issues are top of mind for consumers, with 83% saying they were concerned about sharing personal data online, while 72% indicated they would stop buying from a company or using its service because of privacy concerns, software company Salesforce found in a study.

Source: “State of the Connected Customer” report by Salesforce

Marketers must emphasize the value that consumers derive from sharing their personal data, especially as technology give them better tools to manage how the information is shared, Lambert said.

Google as early as 2022 will end support for third-party cookies, a tracking technology that’s been around since the dawn of the commercialized internet, in its Chrome browser. Meanwhile, Apple next year will update the software that runs hundreds of millions of iPhones, iPads and Apple TV streaming devices to notify when apps request access to device identifies that help with tracking.

“You’re going to see a sharp drop in opt-in. Zero percent is realistic,” Lambert said. “I would hope that as we introduce that value exchange that we can get more people saying, ‘yes.'”

Reinventing the Internet

The emphasis on first-party data provides a chance to improve audience tracking methods. Cookies have been a flawed technology since the beginning, because they work at the browser level and don’t differentiate among individual people in a household who use the same desktop or laptop to surf the web.

“If we were to go back in time and do it this way, how we transact on audiences, we wouldn’t have cookies at all,” Lamber said. “It would all be built around some identifier at the individual level. We wouldn’t be relying on cookies that are kind of hit or miss on how accurate that dataset is.”

Many publishers faced with declining advertising revenue have worked to generate revenue from paid subscriptions, using paywalls to require readers to log in while also providing a source of first-party data to help with ad targeting.

“Those publishers have come a very long way to start collecting real data against their audiences,” Lambert said. “They can tie it back to the individual user level at the very least.”

Retailers also are getting into the media business, selling ad space on their e-commerce sites to help marketers reach consumers when they’re most ready to buy.

“If you consider what a retail platform really is, they are an extension as a publisher for that retailer,” Lambert said, citing examples like Target Stores, which last year renamed its media network as Roundel.

Because retailers have access to vast amounts of proprietary data about purchase behavior, they can provide targeting for marketers that may have their own first-party datasets about consumers.

For consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands, “the impact of marketing on sales can be two to three times higher than in other industries,” Lambert said. “For that reason, the industry is uniquely positioned.”

In some ways, retailers’ media networks are akin to other in-store efforts to reach consumers near the point of sale. Amid the boom in e-commerce during the pandemic, the media networks of retailers are poised for growth.

“It’s hard to see how we won’t see a rise in the retail media partner,” Lambert said. “An industry of product placements, end caps, et cetera, has always existed. It’s not a new concept. It’s an expansion upon that concept of knowing who’s going to buy what.”

You are watching “First Party Data: Driving Media Investment and Accountability,” a Beet.TV leadership video series presented by Target’s Roundel  For more videos, please visit this page.  The views shared on this series do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Target and Roundel.