How We Got into This Mess“The Tragedy of Commons is an economics concept. It represents a situation in which individuals have unfettered access to a shared resource. Some examples are the unregulated common lands in 19th century Britain or the free rangelands here in the American West. Animals would eat all the grass, and as a result, the land is no longer useful. Overfishing cod caused a decades-long fisheries collapse,” Quimby explained. “Climate change is probably the ultimate example of the Tragedy of Commons, but on a banal level, think of public bathrooms. The lesson is that everyone’s inexpensive, easy-to-access property is no one’s property. When we use resources in an entirely self-interested way, we deplete the value of the resource. “The ways we’ve collected, stored, and distributed data over the last 30 years was very self-interested and uncoordinated. Human beings don’t like or trust the system, and it’s also failing technically. We have to ask how can we build a more compliant system that allows this important social resource, namely data, to flow more readily and sustainably for everyone involved, not just the advertisers.”
What Things Will Look Like Post-Privacy (Maybe)Depending on the person I’m speaking with, opinions on how drastically we’ll be impacted vary from very little to the sky is falling. Given indicators in the market, it’s wise to ask vendors their roadmap, but I’m not confident any of us can say exactly how things will shake out over the next five or more years. In the meantime, companies like Confection.io are racing to develop alternative data collection techniques for analytics. Some are even creating new internet protocols. Quimby compared it to “the format wars of the eighties and nineties. Think Betamax vs. VHS and Blu-ray vs. DVD. “The next generation needs to go beyond browser-level, device-level, and even the application level. This is a systems-level problem. Google has rolled out the privacy sandbox or ‘walled gardens’ with mixed reception. Cloudflare and Apple designed DNS-over-HTTPS or ODoH, which prevents internet providers from seeing (aka selling) browsing history information to advertisers. Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the worldwide web, is working with something called Inrupt, which is kind of an anonymous data vault. And then, of course, our product is another approach.” As marketers (especially as marketing operations professionals), we need to source our names ethically, be cautious about using data, and watch privacy regulations like a hawk. We can’t afford to ignore trends (more on that here). “Ultimately, we’re all trying to connect with other humans as marketers. Aggregate anonymized statics can be just as useful and actionable as personally identifying data. Just because you don’t have first-party data that’s linked to a human being doesn’t mean that you can’t help fine-tune your audience models, spot trends, and make better decisions. Some of the most useful data we have is trends-based anonymous information that indicates what’s popular or where people get lost in our selling process. “While we all must start building and owning first-party data sets, I still think there’s a place for non personally identifiable information that we can use to make better decisions. “An individual’s expectation that their online experience is personalized to their preferences is not going to change. The critical factor in terms of delivering something that works for everyone from a systems-level and also on the soft side is rebuilding trust with users.”
For more on privacy trends and which skills marketers should embrace for upward mobility, listen to the full Revenue Marketing Report episode at the top of the article or anywhere you podcast.