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How technology and privacy advances impact online marketing in 2022: An expert’s take

Data privacy & security

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Published February 21, 2022

How technology and privacy advances impact online marketing in 2022: An expert’s take

This blog post is an opinion piece by Ross C. Jenkins, US CEO at Nabler, in which he sums up the key trends in online marketing for 2022. Ross is also an expert who contributed to our Marketing, technology and privacy: Forecast for 2022 report. Check all the predictions here.

In 2022, privacy is and will continue to be a hot topic for marketers. Consumers deserve assurances and the confidence that their personal information will be respected and safe. In 2019, a Pew Research Survey found that most Americans believe their personal data is less secure; that data collection brings more risks than benefits; and that being tracked is a part of modern life.

Accelerating technological advances are creating new challenges for the proper use and storage of consumer information. In response to these challenges, we see governments around the globe stepping in to regulate data use and help consumers take control of their personal information. Marketers will feel the effects of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), but are they listening?

These two laws are just the beginning. Legislators talk of passing similar, broader regulations. At the same time, the lack of transparency and compliance around data collection continues to mire the industry in distrust.

These rules stipulate that after a consumer shares information, they have the right to opt out of the database, and to ask how their data is used and who has access to it. The regulations shift the responsibility to marketers while bringing us to a new place of shared accountability. This is not a burden. In fact, it introduces greater competitive opportunities for marketers who first seek permission to collect data.

The phaseout of third-party cookies and its impact on online marketing

Next come tighter browser crackdowns regarding third-party cookies, tracking, and ad blocking, each of which will make identification, ad targeting, and data analytics more challenging. In late 2022, Google will deploy technology to eliminate third-party cookies. This means that the Chrome browser could phase out these cookies in mid-2023, ending in late 2023. 

Firefox, Brave, and Safari each started blocking third-party cookies in 2013. The elimination of third-party cookies is a trend that will continue. That’s why marketers must look for new ways to understand their target customers and how to reach them — all while addressing privacy concerns and the increased cost of media.

Walled gardens will take over the online ad market

Where do marketers turn? Walled gardens, closed ecosystems in which all the operations are controlled by the ecosystem operator, have gained a significant foothold as data repositories and data privacy strongholds. Who owns these walled gardens? Google, Amazon, YouTube, and Facebook are the big players here. They also constitute nearly two-thirds of total US digital ad revenue. 

Marketers give up control of consumer insights in exchange for tools, audience reach, and data access. Walled gardens keep a lot of our personal information. On one hand, they declare good intentions by stating their existence reduces the risk of privacy compliance violations. But, on the other hand, there have been very public consumer data mishaps, and tech giants are no strangers to Capitol Hill inquiries. 

Marketers forfeit transparency and control in exchange for perceived safety protocols. These closed ecosystems make it difficult for brands to understand and compare campaigns with those they run outside the walls. Brands will become dependent on how the gardens measure and interpret advertising performance. Walled gardens enable marketers to leverage advanced targeting features for ad campaigns while limiting data to an aggregated view of the campaign performance to protect users’ privacy. Data that resides within these closed walls stays there while tech giant dominance and dependence continues. 

What does all of this mean for marketers in 2022?

Agility is the skill that marketers today need to hone. They should reconsider committing to long-term media investments and instead build flexibility into marketing plans. That will leave room for major developments in data privacy impacting the ability to track consumers across websites, channels, and devices.

The misinformation economy, conspiracy theories, and public congressional hearings around lawful surveillance and data collection are mainstream. They will continue to test consumers’ patience, knowledge, and the trust of organizations that use their data.

Marketers must demand stronger partners and technologies that ethically and transparently capture and source data. We must build relationships with partners willing to commit to consumer privacy by undergoing the appropriate audits and certifications to demonstrate ongoing compliance.

Organizations large and small should be encouraged to seek multiple, third-party certifications, such as ISO 27001. These are not only signals that organizations take consumer safeguards seriously, but are a matter of good business as consumers seek to reward brands that value privacy.

An ongoing privacy education should no longer be a corporate talking point relegated to a check-the-box compliance mandate. It should be a matter of greater social responsibility that we will all benefit from. This proactive approach will help marketers address recent privacy changes and reduce the risk of data leaks that affect consumer confidence and negatively impact the AdTech and MarTech industries.

According to Gartner’s Digital I.Q.: Advertising Benchmarks for 2021, marketers are facing three primary scenarios for the future of digital advertising:

  • Consent economy: In this scenario, tracking consent limits data privacy fallout, so players with permission for data collection will develop new markets and drive competitive advantage. One such example is the Unified ID 2.0 approach piloted by major demand-side platforms (DSP).
  • Identity innovation: Here, new methods fill the gaps created by privacy changes. Blockchain and intelligent proxy agents, such as voice assistants, are potential components of a future solution.
  • Walled garden world: In this situation, Google, Facebook, and Amazon increase their dominance as ad publishers, matching their owned audience data with advertisers’ first-party data for targeting and measurement. The increased pressure to play by their rules is real, but not absolute, if marketers learn to execute their own data strategies. 

How do you stay in the game? Marketers can expect to see a new world of technology focused on helping brands capture and leverage first-party data. The future of responsibly collecting first-party information has already begun. 

Marketing, technology & privacy: Forecast for 2022

Learn the predictions for 2022 from over 30 top experts in marketing, technology and privacy. Get the information that will help you chart your marketing strategy and select the optimal technology stack for 2022 and beyond.


Ross C. Jenkins

US CEO at Nabler

Chief executive and marketing sciences professional with 25+ years of experience in digital marketing.

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