The continual evolution of the global data privacy landscape is a mostly positive trend. Still, it can also be confusing and concerning for businesses keen to ensure they don’t end up on the wrong side of data regulations. 

Recent developments include the enforcement of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the striking down of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework in July is inevitably disquieting for businesses that rely on personal data. Questions about how General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance will be impacted by Brexit when the transition period finishes at the end of the year. Some businesses may feel the risks associated with collecting, storing, processing, and transferring data are beginning to outweigh the benefits they gain from monetizing that data, but this is far from the case. 

The reality is the data management industry is evolving just as quickly as the data privacy landscape and is always at least one step ahead of any regulatory change or development. Regulations are taking the use of personal information in a positive direction. As long as businesses partner with trusted data platforms, they have little to fear in the privacy era. Continual advances in the data space mean data owners can still monetize their assets. Businesses can always use data insight to target specific audience segments without worrying about breaching regulations effectively.    

Here are just a few of the ways the data landscape is currently evolving to meet challenges around making the most of the information available while complying with regulations and respecting the consumer’s right to privacy.   

Improvements in ID matching 

In the privacy era, businesses need to match anonymous IDs at scale to activate or monetize their data. Still, historically data quality has been low, with industry-wide match rates rarely reaching 50%. Advances in data management are now enabling data providers to onboard their ID universe without converting data to common IDs. This development will allow data platforms to move faster and with more agility to onboard data and deliver timely insights, allowing businesses to take advantage of changing market trends. It will also enable far higher match rates within different ID universes, increasing overall data scale, and simplifying integration with other platforms.      

Increased granularity in audience targeting 

Granular user profiles are necessary to drive effective marketing and personalization efforts, but for many businesses, complying with privacy regulations has involved scaling back audience targeting to high-level categories, with some stopping the practice altogether to revert to contextual targeting. Now advances in composite audiences are making it easier for businesses to target consumers according to multiple traits and data points without risking non-compliance with regulations. Companies can onboard their data, mix numerous audiences, and run lookalike, overlap, or union models to maximize scale and increase efficiency through more complex targeting while still respecting their user base’s privacy.

First-party audience onboarding 

Businesses often gain valuable learnings from marketing campaigns, including a detailed understanding of which audiences are the most valuable for specific products or services. First-party audience onboarding now allows businesses to use these digital audiences generated through previous activities and leverage them in future campaigns, in combination with other audience data, all while remaining compliant with privacy regulations.     

While continuing developments in the data management industry are reassuring, they don’t mean businesses can ignore the changing privacy landscape altogether. To some extent, business owners must educate themselves on data privacy and stay up to date with the latest regulatory changes to be sure they are choosing data providers and technology partners that deliver compliant services. The regulatory landscape may be changing rapidly, but as long as businesses work with the right providers that embrace the latest developments and operating with data privacy at their core, there should be nothing to fear from the new era.

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