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Over the last year, advertisers have seen their entire landscape shift as a result of changes to consumer privacy laws that have happened all over the world. In the United States, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), along with its amendment, which was voted in last November, California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), allow consumers to know exactly what personal information is being collected and gives them the opportunity to opt-out of having their information sold. Similarly, Apple’s updates to its IDFA will present consumers with a pop-up window warning them that an app is tracking their data as well as the option to opt-out of tracking. In France, CNIL in its latest guidelines from October 2020 made it compulsory that refusing cookies needs to be as simple as accepting cookies on the cookie banner.

These changes have left brands and advertisers to adapt — and to do so quickly — with virtually no roadmap. As brands and advertisers are forced to change their strategies to comply with new consumer privacy laws, they are faced with the reality that the laws are impacting every facet of their industry. In order to navigate these challenges, brands and advertisers must take into account key factors to evolve their strategies alongside ever-changing consumer privacy laws.

Being compliant is not always easy

Navigating the new consumer privacy laws, and the challenges they bring to advertising, has proven to be an uphill battle for most brands. Advertisers have been tasked with understanding and complying with a patchwork of laws pertaining to consumer data, which has made it difficult to adjust their strategies. Evolving their ways of collecting data might guarantee success when complying with one regulation, and not the other. For example, under GDPR, advertisers are required to obtain “informed consent,” including requiring different choices be shown in a similar manner as to not influence the user’s decision, and under CCPA, consumer action is centered around opting out. How advertisers approach each of those situations needs to be different, as the consumer is being asked two different things. How to find a universally accepted strategy, or adjust their strategy depending on the region in an efficient and cost-effective way, is something advertisers have yet to figure out.

Many questions around compliance revolve around regions. For example the CCPA is only enforceable in California. If a resident of California is on vacation in another state or country, do advertisers and brands still need to follow CCPA regulations? Advertisers are also struggling with the concept of consumers using multiple devices. With IDFA changes, does one app need to ask consumers on all devices to have their information collected? There are no answers yet to these questions, because there is no country-wide or universal regulation. With so many variables still unknown, advertisers are struggling to create a cohesive plan that works effectively.

In order to survive as consumer privacy laws evolve, advertisers must evolve with them. To make the evolution as seamless as possible, there are two key factors advertisers should consider: creating a new data-collection strategy and making transparency a priority.

Reevaluate your data collection strategy

Moving into the age where consumer privacy is at the forefront of everyone’s mind with “privacy by design” becoming a popular topic, advertisers and brands need to take a hard look at themselves and more specifically, the type of data they are collecting. Is every piece of data collected from consumers useful? Does the data play an instrumental role in the success of the brand? When a brand collects data for media and marketing purposes, are they using and storing it in a way that fits all applicable regulations?

As regulations mount, collecting user data will not be the primary way advertisers collect information moving forward. Advertisers and brands need to think outside the box to both gather the information they need to be effective and be compliant with new consumer privacy standards.

Some advertisers may see the most success by deepening relationships with consumers. Consumers are inundated with emails and messages that are offering them the next opportunity. Building relationships and connections with consumers may be more valuable in the long term. In order to maximize relationships with consumers, CRM data is crucial.

Brands that are able to dig deeper into how consumers are feeling, and empathize with those emotions have a better chance of creating long-lasting customers. Offering meaningful messages and showing that they are trustworthy can help advertisers find the right way to reach consumers with very little data.

Transparency is key

Many of the changes coming to consumer privacy laws allow the consumer to have more control over if, and what kind of, information is collected. The changes will require that brands have a more explicit consent from users for marketing and media purposes and that they offer an easier way to refuse data collection. As a result, it is imperative that brands move into 2021 with a sense of transparency. Consumers want to know “what is in it for me?” Informing them that data collection allows for more personalized offers and unique shopping experiences can be a huge advantage for advertisers.

Letting consumers know exactly what information of theirs will be collected, where it is going, and how it is being used may make them more open to the idea of having their information collected.

Now is the time to adapt

While there are still many unknowns surrounding the new consumer privacy laws and how the different martech tools will evolve and adapt, one thing is certain: Advertisers and brands have no choice but to adapt and progressively change the way they plan, orchestrate, and measure performance of their media and marketing campaigns.

In order to continue to experience success, advertisers need to evolve their strategies along with the changing consumer privacy regulations and new tech limitations.

Guillaume Tollet is a Consulting Associate Director with fifty-five. For over 13 years, he has supported companies in their strategic, digital, and data transformation.

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