Driving Privacy-Centered Growth

Marketers may find success by relying on content, context, and consent by design. 

As marketers prepare for the reality of a privacy-centered world, there are three core strategic pathways for success -- anonymous, direct first-party, and federated identity. While these approaches are not mutually exclusive, they do diverge in various ways.

The first approach, which we examined last month, focuses on alternative, privacy-safe ways to leverage personally identifiable information (PII) for personalization, targeting and measurement. 

Here we examine how to navigate a world without IDs. This ID-less approach is built around three concepts: content, context, and consent by design.

Let’s explore each of them in detail.


In last month’s column, we discussed the increasing need for a data relationship management program (DRM) to help marketers and publishers navigate the privacy-centered future. The concept of a data value exchange lies at the core of these programs, and content may be an effective lever.

One of the most effective ways to create value for your customers can be via content that informs, educates, and/or entertains.

Content marketing became a key capability over a decade ago, underpinned by the rise of blogging and social media.

And while some content marketing initiatives failed, many marketers still rely on content creation as a foundational element of their marketing strategy. 

Given the rapidly changing privacy landscape, marketers face a new content-creation imperative.

Just as the publishing industry relies on a freemium model to connect with new subscribers, marketers could adopt a model where value creation and exchange beyond the core value proposition fosters a sustainable engagement mechanism. 

Doing this effectively creates a shared value flywheel between brands and consumers -- and perhaps most importantly, builds trust.

As a result, consumers will likely feel more comfortable sharing their data. In addition to creating new value, targeted and personalized content may enhance product experience. 


While content may be king, the kingdom is context.

Discussions about privacy-led growth often include contextual targeting, which may strike some as a throwback to internet advertising in the early 2000’s.

But machine learning now allows advertisers and publishers to leverage contextual patterns in a highly sophisticated and predictive manner. 

Furthermore, as some personal identifiers become inaccessible, first-party data assets could be used to build context graphs and modeled to achieve scale.

These context graphs, which help advertisers drive increased effectiveness, may be used for both site personalization and ad targeting. 

And as the supply of identifiable impressions becomes constrained (and demand remains the same), prices have inflated, a trend likely to accelerate.

As media prices increase, bids for unidentified impressions will likely continue to decline, creating an opportunity for more efficient marketing and publishing growth strategies.

Consent by design

The prevailing standard for online privacy has long been consent by default. Emerging legal frameworks may lead to a switch from opt-out to opt-in, but the first wave of websites and apps assumed user consent.

As marketers and publishers adapt to new regulations, consent by design as a privacy-centered growth enabler should likely be considered. 

Consent by design assumes that user data collection only needs to occur when there is a clear need for its use, such as when a user lands on a website or opens an app.

While this default asks users to accept data collection at the outset, a higher percentage of acceptance might be achieved once users experience a sense of value.

As such, marketers and publishers could consider postponing user data collection in favor of more strategic placements of consent opt-ins.  

The data-privacy landscape is constantly changing, emphasizing the importance of examining all three approaches: anonymous, direct first-party, and federated identity.

Forward-looking marketers and publishers must become experts in this area to anticipate and lead the next wave of privacy-centered growth. 

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