The Importance of Implementing Privacy-First Advertising for eCommerce Businesses

Category: UX & DESIGN
August 21st 2021
12:56:04 pm

A new age is dawning in digital advertising.

The advertising industry is undergoing a multitude of changes that will impact all retailers who utilize PPC ads on various platforms. As a result of come 2023, the California Consumer Protection Act, update and other such developments geared toward consumer privacy, companies are being forced to change with the times.

As a result of these (and likely forthcoming) events, the availability of consumer data is expected to see a steep drop-off in the months and years ahead. While a significant portion of programmatic ad buying and selling is still heavily dependent on third-party data, that is going to change in the very near future.

However, while there are massive changes abound, there are also a slew of privacy-first advertising advantages that merchants should be aware of and take into consideration.

That said, before diving into some of those privacy-first advertising advantages, let’s take a quick look at why the advertising industry is currently changing and how it will be impacted.

Why the Ad Industry Is Changing

Because of big tech’s extensive history of failing to secure user information – including – governments around the world are under pressure from consumers to implement new policies and regulations that will help to protect privacy online.

In some instances, those new policies have struck at the core of some long-established advertising tactics and tools. For example, the implementation of gave consumers control over their personal data while also addressing the transfer of data beyond EU borders.

More recently,) went into effect, thereby placing significant restrictions on the information that could be harvested from California residents.

In a similar move, requires users to opt-in to data collection from apps instead of opting out, which has been the standard up to this point.

As a result of these moves, combined with the elimination of third-party cookies on Chrome in 2023, advertisers will be severely restricted in the consumer data that is available to them, outside of the they have already collected.

Since third-party data is often used to target or make relevant offers to consumers, retailers’ advertising targeting, retargeting and personalization strategies are about to be impacted in meaningful ways.

It is because of this dynamic that it is critical that merchants begin transitioning to privacy-first advertising models.

While there are some privacy-first advertising advantages for sellers to look forward to, there will also be some clear winners and losers when everything is all said and done.

Privacy-First Advertising Tactics: Winners and Losers

As a result of the coming privacy-first paradigm, some tactics will suffer, while others will rise to prominence.

Let’s take a look at which column some notable tactics will fall during the new era.

Contextual Targeting

Status: Winner

With awareness spreading of how the advertising industry is set to change, has once again become highly relevant.

As it stands, major players in the industry are aiming to develop and acquire sophisticated contextual targeting options that can compete with the profitability of personalized behavioral targeting models with which most merchants have become familiar.

Given that third-party cookies and other forms of data harvesting are soon to be relics of the past, it is only a matter of time until this goal is achieved, which makes contextual targeting a winner in the new privacy-first advertising paradigm.

Real-Time Bidding

Status: Loser

While real-time bidding is merely a means to enable forms of targeting, it is rapidly slipping from its position as the most effective method for delivering refined audience targeting.

This is primarily due to the fact that real-time bidding has been under scrutiny by U.K. data protection regulators, ultimately leading to due to allegations of misusing personal data and violating GSPR standards.

Authenticated-Consent Ad Buys

Status: Winner

Advertising inventory that actually has user consent attached is poised to be highly valued.

Some advertising executives foresee a time when particular ad vendors will begin to exclude ad inventory that has no consent signal from users. As a result, some media agencies are likely to pay a higher CPM to ensure that the ad inventory has a user’s consent and blessing.

Companies Dependent on Third-Party Cookies

Status: Loser

With Apple eliminating third-party cookies on Safari browser and implementing an opt-in model under the 14.5 update, programmatic monetization on Safari is effectively dead. The same holds true for Firefox and Braze as well.

Now, with Google doing away with third-party cookies in the near future, brands are being forced to move away from this form of data collection.

Therefore, retailers will need to (i.e., obtain first-party data) and partner with first-party data management platforms instead.

As a result, targeting formats that do not rely on third-party cookies are positioned to become more prominent in the years to come.

Scaled Login Strategies

Status: Winner

With third-party cookies going the way of the dodo, first-party cookie-based models and other forms of measuring and tracking user identity are in many ways the future of the industry.

Some subscription publishers are already pushing forward in this area, having created free registration as a means to cozy up to future potential subscribers.

Meanwhile, in Germany, with a variety of businesses, including marketers and domestic rivals.

The Importance of Implementing Privacy-First Ad Strategies

As a result of all the aforementioned privacy-oriented changes to digital advertising and the privacy-first advertising advantages that will come from moving away from third-party cookies, it is critical that sellers prepare themselves now.

This is evidenced in the fact that, while Safari has a limited market share among browsers, Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Protection has already resulted in an eight percent loss of marketing attribution for mobile searches on Safari,.

If one turns their attention to Chrome, which has, it is clear that when Google turns off third-party cookies for the browser that the impact will be massive.

While first-party data is undoubtedly the way to go for many brands, this approach has significant limitations given that most companies do not have the reach necessary to sustain profitability in digital advertising using this data alone.

Therefore, if sellers want to reap privacy-first advertising advantages in the future, it is critical that they begin moving in that direction in the present.

This begs the question:

What can sellers do today to prepare themselves for this shift in digital advertising?

How to Prepare for Privacy-First Advertising

As it stands, there are some ways in which merchants can begin readying their brand for the privacy-owned future of advertising.

Some of those strategies include:

Learn Contextual Advertising

Under the paradigm that is rapidly passing away, retailers can amass significant audiences as a means of tracking devices and people, thereby aggregating audiences. While this was great for retailers, it wasn’t so fantastic for consumer privacy.

As the ability to track consumers decreases significantly and the ability to assemble audiences diminishes, contextual advertising will become massively popular once again.

While contextual advertising is old, this does not mean that it is obsolete. For instance, consider that email marketing, despite its age, is still one of the most effective tools in a marketer’s toolkit.

Additionally, contextual advertising is not wholly untrackable, even in the privacy-forward future, thereby making it a premier advertising option for the new age.

Aggregate Upper-Funnel Partner Data

While it is typical for sellers to aggregate bottom-of-the-funnel data like downloads and purchases, there is a considerable value in harvesting and aggregating upper funnel cost and campaign data.

For retailers who are heavily invested in, it is wise to aggregate upper-funnel data as it can expose patterns related to cost, targeting, bids, clicks, creative, conversions and the like.

While this information would certainly be more valuable if it were combined with bottom-of-the-funnel data, it is nonetheless capable of producing actionable insights for facilitating growth.

Moreover, by aggregating top-of-funnel data, it remains privacy-friendly.

Focus on Customer Acquisition

In the forthcoming privacy-friendly online future, it will be even more critical for sellers to focus on, as opposed to driving merely traffic.

What this means is that retailers must work to build not only valuable shopping experiences for customers but high-trust interactions.

There are a myriad of ways that retailers can go about doing this, including optimizing the homepage for positive first impressions,, featuring trust signals on checkout pages and throughout the site, ensuring that contacting the brand is clear and simple, sharing the brand’s story and similar tactics.

Once sellers have successfully gotten consumers to subscribe to the company’s email list, download a digital asset, make a purchase or the like, retailers can then communicate with these individuals on a first-party basis using personal information.

Final Thoughts

Things are changing rapidly. Newer marketing skills are prematurely becoming obsolete, forcing retailers to adapt in the process.

Meanwhile, older marketing strategies are making a resurgence, thereby becoming relevant once again. While there are undoubtedly privacy-first advertising advantages to be had, retailers are going to have to get creative and work to reap those rewards.

Over the next decade, marketing and advertising will become less about tracking every potential action in the customer journey and instead reorient to measuring marketing efforts in relation to their impact on a brand’s bottom line.

There is little doubt that the era ahead will present many challenges for eCommerce marketers and advertisers to overcome. However, this is largely the nature of the industry as consumer behaviors are constantly evolving.

For retailers to thrive in the privacy-first age of digital marketing, it is imperative that brands begin rethinking their strategies now so as to not be behind the curve.

Naturally, many may require some assistance during this transitionary period.

If your brand wants help in pushing forward with privacy-oriented advertising models and reaping the privacy-first advertising advantages that come with adapting to this new landscape, reach out to .

Our dedicated team of eCommerce advertising professionals can help your brand formulate advertising tactics and techniques that continue to drive conversions and sales while staying aligned with emerging consumer privacy rules and regulations.