Lead Generation and Ad Tech in the Era of the Great Ethical Data Disruption
Expectations of more ethical data, tougher legislation (particularly in Europe), and the imminent disappearance of third-party cookies from Chrome… the Data environment has never been so turbulent. To adapt, companies are stepping up their investments in privacy to comply with regulations, align with their customer’s expectations and find less intrusive LeadGen and Ad Tech alternatives.
The Double Paradox of Data in B2B
Over the last few years, the B2B sector has witnessed the emergence of a “super-buyer” persona, who is better informed, more autonomous and more demanding. Inspired by the quality of the experience they have on a daily basis in their role as B2C consumers, they expect service providers to offer expertise, support, reassurance, responsiveness (even immediacy) and a degree of personalisation, with relevant content delivered via the right channel at the right time.
1- B2B buyers: high expectations of personalisation but reluctance to entrust their data to anyone
This observation seems to be shared by the majority of B2B decision-makers. According to Accenture, 73% of them cite a “race to the top” in terms of their target’s demands for a personalised experience, putting a strain on sales and marketing teams who have not yet made the customer-centric shift.
The personalisation of the B2B experience has therefore gone from being a differentiating factor to a necessary but not sufficient condition for success. To paraphrase strategic marketing professionals, personalisation has gone from being a major competitive advantage to a simple key success factor. To tailor a product, you need data… which brings us to the first paradox: the B2B buyer’s expectation of personalisation is matched only by his reluctance to see his data (mis)exploited.
KPMG explains, for example, that 86% of customers say they are “increasingly concerned” about the confidentiality of their data, and 78% make no secret of their fears about the amount of data collected by companies. In addition, 91% of customers surveyed by Cisco said they would not buy from a company that did not effectively protect their data. Finally, the privacy protection organisation NOYB estimates that only 3% of Internet users accept cookies of their own free will.
2- Data volumes are exploding, but using them has never been so restrictive
The macro-environment of data is in turmoil. After the GDPR, the founding measure in the quest for more ethical Data, the European Council recently announced the agreement of the EU Member States on a negotiating mandate “with a view to revising the rules on the protection of privacy and confidentiality in the use of electronic communication services”. In concrete terms, the second draft of the ePrivacy regulation, which should complement the GDPR, is in the pipeline.
The other turbulence comes from the Personal Data Protection Authority (PDPA), which seems to be taking a more offensive stance in the face of the grey areas of the GDPR. In February 2022, the authority published a statement that took SEO, Data and Marketing professionals by surprise. The PDPA explained that it had “given formal notice” to website managers “to comply with the rules governing the transfer of data”. At issue: Google Analytics, which sends European data to Google’s American data centres, is a violation of Article 44 of the GDPR according to the PDPA.
Finally, the Data environment is about to be turned upside down by the imminent disappearance of third-party cookies from Google Chrome, a browser that has over 65% of the market share.
What impact will this have on LeadGen and Ad Tech?
According to a study carried out by BCG and LinkedIn, 39% of marketers are already seeing “a negative impact on their marketing performance” despite the fact that Google has not yet opted out of third-party cookie tracking. More than half of those surveyed believe that their company “does not yet have” a structured plan for adapting its LeadGen post-cookie strategy. BCG also points out that marketers are questioning their own ability to understand the changes that are coming… an observation shared by sales staff who, according to Gartner, are still the least trained in Data.
What are the possible technical consequences of cookieless for LeadGen and B2B Ad Tech? Summary.
- Retargeting will become very complicated. Advertising agencies will no longer be able to track the browsing behaviour of Internet users in order to display “reminder” advertising banners;
- Conversion tracking is also likely to be impacted, whether it’s a basic “last click” model or a more elaborate “Data-Driven Multitouch” model. Advertising reports will lose quality, making it harder to measure the ROI of campaigns;
- Without third-party cookies, advertising networks will find it harder to feed their Machine Learning systems with signals about audience quality;
- Advertisers will have less visibility over the number of times an ad is displayed to the same user. As a result, they will no longer be able to cap the frequency with which the same ad is displayed to prevent spamming;
- It will become very complicated to make the link between an advertising impression and the conversion that may result from it.
With the disappearance of third-party cookies and, more broadly, the emergence of more ethical Data, the whole acquisition paradigm is being turned on its head.
To adapt, B2B professionals will have to start by upgrading their technological stack (the biggest challenge of 2022 for 75% of the marketers surveyed by BCG), invest in First-Party Data, unify their internal data to make better use of it, move towards contextual targeting (rather than behavioural targeting) and learn about Google’s Privacy Sandbox solution, a suite of open APIs that equip companies to run advertising campaigns without using third-party cookies.
Finally, they will need to be transparent and educational about how customer data is used to improve the customer experience and deliver real added value.