Attention: Data-Driven Digital Marketing Has Changed!

The reality is that marketing is always changing. When thinking about data-driven digital marketing, we’re looking at those numbers and analytics that go along with your marketing. Marketers watch data points go up and down and make decisions based on that data. What we measure and how we measure is constantly changing and going in different directions.

Privacy updates are what has really changed and it has major effects on data-driven digital marketing. Yes, everybody would like to have their privacy. So there have been some adjustments to privacy options and policies. While the changes are mainly in the app world right now, later in the year, there will be privacy changes on Google as well.

Attention: Data-Driven Digital Marketing Has Changed!

Recent Privacy Changes Affect Data-Driven Digital Marketing

Because of the major privacy changes, communication between the apps and their advertising platform has been cut off. This affects roughly 50% of the population who are Apple/iPhone users. Those users have the choice to prohibit their activity from being tracked while using apps on those devices. 

Those who opt out severely limit marketers’ ability to see user data and make targeting a bigger challenge. Since everyone will still see ads, it will just change the user’s overall experience. Those who opt to keep settings private will be served information that is less relevant to them.

For marketers, it’s now a lot harder to pull data from Facebook and other high-usage apps into Google Analytics. But also, by the end of 2022 the Google browser is eliminating the ability to have pixel tracking. That is, those pieces of code that go on your website track user behavior. 

The removal of pixel tracking really gives Google a lot of power because they’re eliminating other ad platforms from having the ability to track user data the same way. Because users mostly search through Safari on an iPhone, on Chrome with an Android phone, or on a laptop/desktop, Google is less affected by the app tracking changes. Google really becomes one of the data winners here. This isolation of data will inevitably lead to the selling of if behind the scenes.

Digital Marketing Data Tracking is Not Going Away

There has been data tracking and collection on people’s behaviors since the dawn of time. Tracking of user behavior is still happening and data-driven digital marketing is not going away either. New and different ways of tracking will be developed and marketers will get creative so they can still reach their audiences online.

While it might make the individual user feel better to feel that their privacy is secure, that may not be the actual result. Tech companies all have a board of directors and they all have money to make. The more that they can show their advertisers that revenue is being generated, the more is spent on ads, and the cycle will continue. 

Digital Marketing Ads Are Here to Stay

The idea of having an advertising utopia, where we will no longer see ads, is never going to happen. Again, since the dawn of time, we have been tracking data. And displaying advertisements online is a major player in what allows businesses and the internet to exist. We spend a lot of time online and those free apps and tools we use don’t develop themselves. Digital marketing ads not only pay for it but enhance the user’s experience!

Data tracking is not perfect and has never been perfect. When you dig deep into it, there have always been holes in data and tracking. What we look for as digital marketers are trends in data that can be used for targeted marketing that is helpful to consumers. Marketers are not spying on the exact use and actions of any one particular individual. 

While privacy restrictions and not having access to all of the same data as was previously available presents some challenges, it really just means marketers will have to adapt. 

Keep in mind that the information Facebook, other apps, and Google have already gathered isn’t lost. So there’s not going to be a big or immediate dropoff in the user experience. Different people will obviously experience the effects in different ways. But, digital marketing is still data-driven. Digital marketers will find a way to get their products and services in front of the audiences that find them most useful.

Types of Data Collection for Digital Marketing

There’s a lot of different types of data collection going on that can be useful for marketing. We’re not going to lose data as much as people may think. Your audience still needs your products and services. And there’s first party, second party, and third party data collection that can be used to reach them. Businesses will be coming up with new digital marketing strategies using the data that is available. 

First Party Data

First party data collection is what every business really needs to focus on. All along the ultimate goal should always be to get your audience to your website. That’s where first party data collection comes in by tracking the actions and behaviors that are taken on your website. You are able to really understand what interests your audience and captures their attention from your first party website data.

Other types of first party data include any information your business has collected and currently owns. Any data that you’ve collected in your CRM can be used and updated by marketing and sales. Emails and other data that you have collected from customers and subscription lists also belong to you. There may be even more useful data from offline interactions including trade shows, networking events, customer surveys, and feedback forms. While your social channels are on another platform, you’re still able to know if people have engaged with certain posts or videos. You can use data in those platforms for remarketing to those people.

Second Party Data

Second party data is essentially someone else’s first party data that can be utilized in your marketing. If a business is collecting emails or other data on their website and they sell that information, that is second party data. 

One example is when a hotel booking site collaborates with airlines to mutually benefit each other and to improve their customer’s experience. Another example would be a search engine journal that already has a lot of traffic for people who are in digital marketing who are collecting information and own that data and could sell it. 

Mobile app usage data is another type of second party data that could be accessed. Individuals or businesses that own particular apps own that data and can sell that information.

Third Party Data

For digital marketers, access to third party data is what is really going away. Third party data gathers user data from multiple sources online. The pixel on any website that used to gather information from many other sources and gives that data back to you won’t be available anymore. 

User Data Will Continue to Be Tracked

With so many types of data, it can be confusing to know what to focus on when it comes to data-driven digital marketing. The point is that there are ways user behavior data will continue to be tracked and used to benefit business. 

Privacy will continue to be front and center of this issue. But another concept that you’re going to see a lot more is machine learning. And when you consider that machines are learning through the information and data coming in, it is clear that data tracking is not going away.

Marketers and marketing agencies have to adapt to the changes but in the end, data-driven digital marketing is not going away. 

Looking at different numbers and implementing new creative strategies using the data that is available is the new normal. The ability to market to certain segments of people will still be there just not in the same ways.

Look at your Google Analytics and look at your marketing activities for the entire month. Are sales up or down? Get away from particular channel attribution for reporting. When optimizing your marketing efforts, however, look at all of the different channels that feed your marketing funnel

Attributing conversions to just one channel is a flawed way of looking at your overall marketing strategy. Your customers are seeing your message from multiple sources between their first interaction and converting. Because consumers look at multiple sources before making a buying decision, all of your marketing efforts need to be cohesive and work together to move them through your marketing funnel.

Do Not Expect Consistency in Marketing Data

There’s not going to be consistency in your marketing data and it is constantly evolving. The ultimate goal for businesses is to bring in the leads, phone calls, and sales. Conversions are what business owners should be focused on and leave the rest of it up to your marketing agencies. Experienced digital marketers will figure out a strategy to bring in the best results.

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