by Dimitris Sotiriou
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Privacy is (finally) taking centre stage

Privacy has been a hot topic for over a decade now. From the e-Privacy Directive (aka the ‘cookie law’) to GDPR and CCPA, privacy laws have come into effect mostly as a reactive measure to bad practices. It was scandals like Cambridge Analytica that made the public aware of how their data were being shared (and sold) and the control that ecosystems like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon have accumulated.

On the technology side, marketing and ad technologies slowly added more data points and utilized tracking technologies (from 3rd party cookies to probabilistic modeling and technographics for fingerprinting) to ensure a highly targeted and personalized experience. However, the way marketers have achieved the ‘Holy Grail’ of personalization has not always been transparent to the customer. Today, an average user receives 24 emails with tracking pixels per day and around 10 cookies per visited website —  staggering if not alarming figures, which few users realize. The era of ‘surveillance advertising’ is coming to an end, though, and that is good for both consumers and brands.

Surveillance advertising is dead. Enter privacy.

Privacy has taken center stage, accelerated by tech giants like Apple and Google. From the end of 3rd party cookie support for Google Chrome by 2023 (Apple’s Safari stopped supporting 3rd party cookies long ago ) to the latest iOS changes that are rapidly changing the AdTech and MarTech ecosystems. In iOS 14.5 Apple introduced App Tracking Transparency which requires all apps to obtain permission before tracking users. This led 96% of users in the US to opt out of tracking, a move seen by many as a direct challenge to Facebook.

And with the latest iOS 15 release, announced during the WWDC21 event, Apple seems to push the privacy agenda further with several privacy-related features. The ones that stand out are:

The direct impact of these changes is not fully known. Based on the information available, we expect several changes once iOS 15 officially rolls-out in September, including:

Brands will need new, privacy-focused approaches to reaching customers

This will be a challenge to navigate, specifically for organizations that rely on opens and IP addresses to track performance, attribute value based on opens, or build behavioural profiles. However, there’s a broader context to consider about where the market is heading. Organizations need to combine enhanced privacy controls and empower users, while still creating personalized experiences. In this delicate balancing act, marketers need to implement a long-term strategy and focus more on first-party data, enhanced security and privacy, and high-quality content that drives impact down the funnel. Some key trends related to that bigger picture are already in play, such as :

Persado is well positioned to help brands and marketers in this evolving environment. Our AI platform generates content and decisions to drive significant value without IP addresses, third-party cookies or other tracking technologies — impact built for a privacy-first world. Persado has always focused on engagement (via clicks) and conversion tracking to ensure direct measurable benefit to businesses, but Persado’s technology is  not affected by any of the recent changes. Persado’s enterprise-level security and privacy offering utilizes first-party data and enriches it with a new, patented type of first-party data – the language profile of a customer that provides marketers with unique insights and an ability to engage with customers through the words and communications that drive impact. Persado’s unique ability to generate language and predict the best performing messages allows business executives to drive material outcomes across communications (sales and marketing, service, compliance and more) without relying on private data. Given our 96% success rate of delivering better-performing content, we will still drive positive impact regardless of which attribution models and tracking technologies customers use. 

This is a challenging new world, but it is not the first time that technological or legal changes affect customer engagement. The difference is that today’s changes give customers more control and transparency over their data, something we should all embrace. The need for quality content, specifically how to talk to customers, and cross communications will continue to grow and become more relevant in a privacy-first world. At Persado we see an opportunity to regain customer confidence and provide personalized experiences on the foundation of customer trust, which every brand and marketer should welcome.