It was revealed that public trust in advertising had hit a record low of 25% last year, while Keith Weed, President of the Advertising Association, recently suggested more than two-thirds of consumers (69%) no longer trust advertising.
Such corrosion in consumer trust is not something that’s happened overnight but over time due to various advertising practices, including people being bombarded with ads, the targeting of vulnerable groups (e.g. gambling and payday loans), creepy ads that follow you around the internet and unhealthy messaging.
But how can advertisers earn consumers’ trust back? Well, since we began planning for GDPR back in 2018, data privacy has been at the forefront of industry conversations and this hasn’t stopped. The CCPA (California Protection Act) was launched at the beginning of this year to protect consumers’ rights in the US and a whole host of independent bodies across the world have introduced new initiatives to help protect consumer privacy.
Kelly Jacobson Collins, Unruly’s Product Compliance Director, explores how this new data privacy landscape can bring about positive change for consumer trust in advertising.
1. Creativity will rule the roost once again!
People have always loved great advertising and many of us can still recall favourite ads from our youth. These were the ones that stood out from the crowd and reached many of us at the same time. They were clever, creative and cinematic, something Unruly’s premium, brand-safe video marketplace lends itself to.
As advertising becomes even more tightly targeted and personalised, creativity has at times lost out. But when brands are forced to stand out because they have less data, then creativity leads.
Indeed, recent research from the Advertising Association shows that the greatest positive driver of consumer trust in advertising is creativity and entertainment.
2. Privacy and personalisation are not exclusive forces
New technology is enabling us to be more personal with less data, which means we are finding new ways to personalise without having to hold as much personal data. Across the industry, organisations are looking at how to do more with less data.
Both Google and OmniGov spoke recently at the IAB’s Digital Trust Forum on why privacy and personalisation are not opposing forces. You can personalise and maintain privacy by using new emerging technologies. Our emotional testing and targeting tool, UnrulyEQ, for example, allows advertisers to personalise their creative based on the likely mood of the recipient — personal but not breaching their privacy.
3. Privacy will reduce bombardment and improve transparency for consumers
A good marketing campaign has always been about persuasion and targeting a consumer with the right message at the right times in the right places. But the ability to freely retarget has meant consumers feel bombarded.
The ICO has been very clear in its dialogue with the advertising industry and the changes it’s asking for are incredibly positive for advertising as a whole and will make changes that will in time be noticeable to consumers and bring about a change in trust.
4. Collective change creates bigger impact
The far reaches and complexity of data privacy regulation have brought the industry together. Yes, we are competitors, but if we work together we can create an impactful, faster change that benefits us all.
The quicker this change comes, the faster we can rebuild trust and there is a real sense of companies coming together to tackle this, Unruly’s U7 client council, the IAB UK’s ICO Report Working Group and the recent formation of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media are all great examples of this.
5. A more private world isn’t just better for trust; it’s good for innovation, ethics and business sustainability
I’ll be honest, it all feels a bit odd right now. If we can cast our minds back a few weeks ago to a world where we hadn’t heard of COVID-19, it still felt a bit odd. That’s because the industry is in flux (even more than usual).
We currently have one foot in the old world and one in the new — and there are challenges that come with that. Consumers want more privacy but need to understand the value exchange between free content and services and advertising.
Regulators are being asked to enforce complex laws in an ever-changing media landscape. AI is expanding possibilities in every direction but also will need to be tethered to ensure there are no bad actors.
And the seesaw will keep swinging as the industry tries to work out what is the best new world. But as we make these decisions, we should remember that a more private world is one where people are more trusting and, according to the IAS, 81% of consumers say trust is a deal-breaker.
If you’d like to find out more about Unruly’s commitment to protecting consumer privacy please click here to get in touch.