GDPR. I didn’t know the importance of those letters, much less what they mean, at one point either. Now, these letters and their impact are embossed on my mind like a loved one’s birthday: important to remember and potentially a price to pay when you forget. If you’re part of the marketing team for a global firm, you’ve likely had a hand in implementing the necessary requirements set forth by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by now.
Most in financial services marketing roles have adjusted to the new status quo, but in 2020 we can expect an influx of similar changes with big industry effects. In fact, the 4A’s recently made a plea for the US’ first similar act, CCPA, to be delayed, while Google is forcing our relationship with browser Cookies to shift.
CCPA Hands Data Control Back to Consumer
The state of California started the new year with the implementation of the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA). Upon its enforcement date of July 1, 2020, CCPA aims to provide California residents with more control over their personal data, including opting out of companies’ ability to sale said personal data. Where we’ve learned to think about GDPR compliance as an ‘opt-in’ requirement, CCPA is focused more on empowering consumers to opt-out. For example, one compliance requirement is to include a ‘Do Not Sell My Personal Information’ link in a clear and conspicuous location on your website’s homepage.
For now, not every firm has to worry about CCPA compliance. The Act currently only regulates for-profit entities doing business in California that have a gross revenue greater than $25 million, annually buys, receives, sells or shares the personal information of more than 50,000 consumers, or derives 50 percent or more of its annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information. The law also applies to any entity that is controlled by a business that meets those requirements or shares common branding with a business that is covered.
If that description doesn’t fit the bill for your firm, don’t get too comfortable yet. Tech companies around the US have voiced support for a federal law that covers the whole nation to avoid the complexity that would come with a growing number of individual state laws of this kind. A number of other states have privacy laws working their way through legislation, so marketers would be well prepared to brush up on GDPR & CCPA now (even if you are not mandated to comply) and get ahead of the coming wave.
Tracking Cookies No More
As of February 4, 2020, Google Chrome joined other major browsers in not allowing third-party cookies to be sent cross-site by default. Google also announced that within two years it intends to fully block third-party cookies in Chrome web browsers.
Did you hear the collective sigh of marketers and ad-tech firms following this announcement? This marks a massive change for the industry due to the browser’s market share (63% worldwide market share, according to StatCounter). While cookies have been instrumental for marketers in gaining consumer information to create the most targeted and successful advertising campaigns possible, they must now focus on gathering and using first-party data to match and hopefully exceed those results. As of now, there is not a clear alternative for advertisers in the wake of third-party cookie loss. In order to manage the loss of third-party insights, marketers need to evaluate what first-party data they have available and get more creative with analysis of the data to reengineer for activities third-party data was previously strong in, such as reaching new audiences.
The Road Ahead
What lies ahead for privacy regulation and changes in available data sources and how they can be used remains uncertain, but a loose roadmap is beginning to take form. While these changes are not ideal for marketers that must adapt quickly to new ways of thinking, there are positives to embracing these changes with open arms (and quickly). Start taking a comprehensive look at the data sources available to you, how they may be impacted, and how they can be cleaned to the most up-to-date versions possible. Hopefully, you’ll find yourself with clean data that provides the opportunity for clear, highly targeted marketing tactics that reach an audience already primed for engagement with your company.