third-party data

Third-party data is on its way out: what is the next step?

Once upon a time, third-party data was the bread and butter of every online endeavor. Platforms, brands, and marketers used it to get to know their users better. But increasing regulation is making that harder. Governments are putting users’ privacy first, spurred on by a number of bad-faith and unethical methods of collecting and using data.

The first instance we saw of this was in 2011 when the EU enforced the Cookie Law, which aimed to give users more control over their personal information. It wasn’t until 2018 that the General Data Protection Regulation was put into effect, which every site developer and marketing director will be acutely aware of.

Since then, we’ve seen tech giants pledge to offer greater protection to their users, like Apple’s Tracking Protection for their iOS software going into effect in 2021, and Google Chrome aiming to launch its third-party data deprecation in 2023.

This brings us to the here and now, where user protection is increasingly protected, depleting the resource that marketers relied on so much. The Third-Party Data Deprecation Playbook from Blueconic thinks that brands are generally going to take a “wait and see” approach to handling their data, and then get a shock like they did when GDPR was enacted, and have to invoke quick changes.

What affiliates need to know

There is a lot of change occurring in data collection. The incentives that are currently being launched by Apple and are about to be launched by Google and other major browsers, are about to seriously inhibit the use of third-party data, which means a lot of the data that marketers have built their brands on for decades is about to be wiped out.

The old way of collecting data on audiences is not only going out but is deeply flawed in reaching your goals. Most personalization strategies use third-party data as a proxy for identity, which doesn’t allow you to know who these customers really are, and if they consented to be tracked.

There are ways to avoid losing so much data and knowledge. However, if marketers want to get ahead of these changes, they have to act now.

What brands need to do now to get ahead

The Third-Party Data Deprecation Playbook outlines a strategy to navigate changes in data protection without undoing the work gathered in the past decade or so. It hits the four bullet points of…

  • Centralized First-Party Data Collection and Governance
  • Automated and Flexible End-to-End Consent Management
  • Deterministic and Probabilistic Identity Resolution
  • Second-Party Data Sharing via Data Clean Rooms

You are looking for a solution that hits four major beats:

  • A permanent storing of the users’ consent choices, is sometimes known as a purpose, in order to avoid fines and lessen customer data risk
  • Automate the process for an individual to consent to the use of their data through all systems and channels, which should reduce human error and of course make things easier for the user
  • Enables the ability to test so that insights are gained quickly. The aim is to optimize the customer experience for explicit opt-in

Blueconic suggests that in order to prepare a centralized first-party data collection and governance system, brands should enact changes with tools that

  • Collect data from owned channels as first-party to mitigate the impact of ad blockers and third-party data deprecation
  • Enable business users to manage ongoing first-party data collection without putting an additional burden on IT every time they want to add a new channel or data source
  • Support centralized data collection for multi-brand and/or multi-channel companies

Automated and flexible consent management is likely to help brands avoid the ever-increasing fines that come with the likes of GDPR, CCPA, and other consumer privacy mandates. Not only do these financial fees reach as much as €158.5 million in total, eating into brands’ profit margins, and sometimes being catastrophic to companies, but they hinder creativity. Legal and governance teams take control of how business teams can use the data to improve customer relationships, hindering information on what is necessary to keep your audience engaged.

It’s clearly a growing concern for brands to get ahead of these wider third-part data regulations. As much as brands would like to “wait and see” with their heads in the sand, the regulations are here and are it’s in the best interest for Google and Apple and other browsers to enforce them. It’s important that brands and affiliate marketers act now to not be stuck going into the market blind.

If you’re interested in the ins and outs of affiliate marketing, you can look at our blog for all the latest news or get some personalized advice by booking a free call with a member of our team. Or you can really dive deep into affiliate marketing by grabbing tickets to the Elevate Summit which kicks off on June 14th.

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