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Identity 101: Respecting consumer privacy while maintaining optimal CX

Consumer privacy in digital advertising remains a hot topic that seems to evolve every day. Consumers increasingly care more and more about how their data is collected by brands, publishers, and social media sites to create personalized ad experiences. They want to be sure they have full transparency into how it’s used. What’s changing, a new group of consumers is emerging: one willing to act on their vocalized concern related to the management (or mismanagement) of their data. According to Cisco, 32% of consumers have gone so far as to switch companies or providers over data or data-sharing policies.

Browsers and mobile operating companies are starting to take notice of this growing demand:

  • In January, Google announced that it will phase out third-party cookies by 2022. Their post on Chromium Blog on the matter was titled "Building a more private web: A path towards making third party cookies obsolete."
  • In June, Apple shared that application developers in iOS 14, its mobile operating system, will need to seek end-user permission before gaining access to the brand’s mobile device ID, also known as Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). Apple says: "Privacy is a fundamental human right and at the core of everything we do. That’s why with iOS 14, we’re giving you more control over the data you share and more transparency into how it’s used."
  • Not to mention Apple’s recent iOS 14 video ad is wholly privacy-centric, with an end line of: “Some things shouldn’t be shared. iPhone helps keep it that way.”

Amidst the growing consumer demand to understand how their data is used and an increasing amount of proposed privacy laws following the CCPA (which went into effect January 2020), marketers today need to know their business partner’s privacy practices and policies more than ever before. Although our research shows that while most consumers want personalized, data-driven ad experiences (68% of consumers think it’s worth sharing personal information in exchange for relevant offers, recommendations, and discounts), they also want their privacy rights maintained in the process.

Read on to learn why you should become familiar with your partners’ privacy practices and some criteria to help you select a trusted digital media partner to manage your customer data while meeting consumer expectations.

Privacy and identity

There’s a mind-boggling amount of data being generated online, and it’s growing daily. Identifying current and potential consumers in the ever-growing digital landscape is becoming more challenging with the impending death of the third-party cookie—an identifier many advertisers have heavily relied on—and the growing popularity of state privacy regulation.

When it comes to identity, walled gardens, like Facebook, Google, and Amazon, seem to have an advantage because of their login environments and access to ample first-party data. As the world transitions away from third-party cookies, maximizing the use of, or combining data from, the remaining identifiers into profiles has become that much more important. Brands need to focus on their first-party data strategies and work with partners that have future-proof solutions.

Questions to ask your partner

When deciding what partner to work with for digital media advertising, it’s important to keep privacy and transparency at the center. Here are some questions to ask when evaluating a potential partner and their ability to identify their consumers in a privacy-protected setting:

What is your approach to delivering solutions positioned for success in the evolving privacy landscape?

Epsilon practices the principle of Privacy by Design, meaning that Epsilon has embedded privacy protections into its business model, products, and services from the start. One of the effects is to minimize the unnecessary collection and use of personal information and give consumers the power to exercise greater choice over their personal information.

How do you protect the privacy of people whom brands can message on their network or platform? What safeguards are in place to keep my customer data safe?

At Epsilon, we use physical, electronic and administrative safeguards to protect personal information against loss, misuse and alteration. To minimize potential misuse of data, we do not allow any data that directly identifies a consumer in systems associated with our digital media solutions. Our technology is configured to keep directly identifying data elements such as name, address and email address out of those systems. We also partner with an external audit firm on an annual basis to verify that our safeguards effectively continue to keep this information out of our systems and meet industry standards.

Do you participate in AdChoices?

Yes, by participating in the Digital Advertising Alliance’s AdChoices program, we provide consumers with a variety of options to opt-out of tailored digital advertising, including through our websites and our marketing partners’ websites, and by displaying the AdChoices Icon with each digital display, video and mobile advertisement.z

Do you opt people out at the cookie level or the individual level?

We have observed that a person has five touchpoints on average across channels and devices. As our digital identity solution is people-based, not cookie-based, we developed our opt-out capabilities to persist over time at the individual level, versus just over the short-lived life of a cookie.

The digital media partner you choose to work with should have a company culture where consumer privacy is an integral part of their business model. Your identity solution should empower individuals to exercise greater control over their information by enabling a persistent opt-out solution at the individual level.

Consumer data is a privilege. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to fuel your marketing campaigns and serve highly personalized content to your consumers. It’s essential to put your consumers at the forefront and have their privacy be of utmost importance to your brand.

Want to learn more about how you can have a privacy-centered approach to identifying your customers? Download our guide 5 building blocks of identity management.