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Merkle Accounting for Privacy Related Data Restrictions Jan2021More than half (52%) of marketers have the goal of collecting more first-party data as part of their efforts to deal with increasing data restrictions, according to Merkle’s Customer Engagement Report [download page] for 2021. The report reveals how prepared marketers feel for a changing privacy landscape as well as what their efforts might look like.

It’s not news that businesses and consumers alike are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of data privacy, with privacy concerns affecting social media users’ ad engagement and smartphone users’ preference for mobile banking, to name a couple.

Among the 800 marketing, analytics and technology executives surveyed by Merkle, this awareness is certainly present. Fortunately, it has resulted in a majority (59%) of respondents having a very clear understanding of the specific impact their systems and operations face with the rise of privacy-related data restrictions. A further 4 in 10 shared that they have a somewhat clear (34%) or general (6%) understanding of the impacts, and not a single respondent had no understanding at all.

Marketers also appear to have an understanding of where these impacts might be felt. When asked to rank their top two impacts, the largest number of respondents (41%) cited digital media activation, with only slightly fewer choosing web analytics (39%). Also ranked were digital media measurement (35%), direct marketing activation (35%), and website personalization (33%), though fewer perceive an impact to traditional media activation (17%).

What Are the Long-Term Priorities?

As it relates to how marketers are prioritizing their efforts to account for increasing restrictions, first-party data comes to the fore as a top priority. More than half (52%) of respondents cited “planning digital experiences and/or strategies with the goal of collecting more first-party data” as part of their efforts. This makes it the highest priority by some margin, compared to identity resolution technologies (36%), omni-channel orchestration technologies like a CDP (26%) and data clean rooms (23%).

In fact, some 3 in 10 respondents shared that the collection and storage of first-party data was the highest priority for their organization in the next 6 to 12 months, and for the majority (68%) it is a high priority. Unsurprisingly, data and analytics roles are most concerned about first-party data, with some 42% of these respondents labeling it their highest priority.

It’s no wonder that first-party data is top of mind, with many marketers and advertisers necessarily making plans for a cookie-less world – including increasing use of measurement tools and preparing for third-party cookie deprecation to be their top challenge in 2021.

Looking to the future, then, it’s clear that businesses are prepared to make investments in anticipation of rising privacy concerns. A full 74% of respondents said their organization is planning to increase investment in technologies or vendor solutions to account for rising data restrictions, with a further quarter (25%) reporting that budget levels are steady.

Read more on customer engagement in the full report here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 800 marketing, analytics and technology executives at major brands ($100+ million) in the US and UK.

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