Transparency is no longer an option for businesses: on the digital buying side, issues such as ad fraud and viewability have led big brands to demand more from suppliers; on the consumer side, companies must demonstrate that their consumers’ personal information is under good stewardship. .

Early in 2017, Procter & Gamble chief brand officer Marc Pritchard became the figurehead of a movement by brands to force a clean-up of the digital advertising business. By June 2018, Unilever’s Keith Weed had noticed a “massive shift” in the efforts of Google and Facebook to clean up content on their platforms.

Between the 2018 and 2019 editions of WARC’s Marketer’s Toolkit, concerns among all respondents grew slightly, illustrating the ongoing importance of media transparency. In a flagship piece for the 2018 Toolkit, WARC recommended brands reassert control of digital advertising money to minimise risk and maximise return from digital investments; clients have to push suppliers for clarity and high standards on measurement definitions, while also assessing the brand’s individual tolerance for risk.

On the consumer-side, the introduction in May of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation saw the continent elevate privacy to the status of a human right.  Data privacy, with the help of the news flurry around GDPR, has become a mainstream rather than tech issue whose impact has been felt across the world, not just in Europe. In a GDPR world, solid privacy credentials – best baked in to products and experiences through Privacy by Design principles – are important for reputation, too.

These principles in data management made for popular reading among WARC audiences. In particular, Marie Stafford explored some of the most important ideas in managing consumer data. “Data is often treated as an abstract concept when in fact it is made up of the intensely personal and sometimes sensitive details of people's lives,” Stafford wrote. “Increasingly, data is a proxy for identity. So brands must appreciate that access to personal customer data is not an entitlement but a privilege. It must be treated with courtesy and respect.”      

Elsewhere, WARC has covered how to manage data for a mass personalisation strategy, with a particular focus on the Australian market. Key considerations include keeping data up-to-date, focussed, and easily transferable.

Ultimately, a data strategy – as with any marketing strategy – depends on the clarity of objectives and a solid roadmap of what you need to do in order to get to where you need to be. Likewise, data needn’t be complex: data can be both simple and powerful, but, crucially, “never accept an insight unless you understand the why.”

Sourced from WARC