data ethics

Here Are Some Unintended Consequences of Privacy Regulations

  • MSI

The intention behind recent privacy regulations is to protect consumers from unauthorized use of their data. However, this Marketing Research Institute (MSI) working paper finds unintended consequences that are not good for the consumer or the marketplace. Researchers found such regulations reduce satisfaction with search results and increase search costs. The personalization in products and services is thus degraded, as many smaller and midsize firms are no longer able to provide the level of efficiency and personalization they once could. Larger firms, however, benefit from increased search activity which leads to increased purchase activity. As a result, such regulation leads to unintended market concentration.

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Advertising Effectiveness: Performance Measurement in the New World of Privacy and Tools

On July 26, measurement practitioners discussed how to adapt to this new era of privacy with tools for measuring ad performance effectiveness. Panelists explored new considerations for existing methods, such as marketing mix modeling (MMMs) and multi-touch attribution (MTAs), and discussed the pros and cons of various privacy enhancing technologies (PETs), including multi-party computation, clean rooms, and more.

MODERATED TRACK DISCUSSIONS: Data Deprecation & Rising Privacy Concerns

All agreed that just because something is technically feasible does not mean that it should be done—or will be understood and appreciated by consumers. (Example: Concerns that Amazon’s Echo is always listening in the background.) As alternatives to the current practice of behavioral tracking (with or without consumer awareness and understanding), ask: What are replacement forms of data? How can these be collected? At what cost? How will you activate such data? YouGov’s surveys point to the need to compensate consumers in exchange for their personal data. Next year’s IAB survey can be a “report card” on how well companies are managing this transition.

Understanding & Using Ethical Data Attitudes to Improve Consumer Relationships

A Wunderman Thompson survey of 1,000 consumers each in the U.S. and U.K. found that concerns about data privacy rank 4th—behind only the economy, the COVID pandemic and healthcare. Most consumers see the collection and use of their personal data as an opaque process, creating a “negative halo” for companies they associate with this. Consumers generally do not perceive the benefits to them of sharing personal data and desire greater control—without necessarily knowing how this could be done. Mazda’s Brad Audet said that best practice in communicating about data privacy must start with a focus on the consumer, not the company’s data needs. Citing the example of Amazon, he urged that companies “co-create opportunities with customers” to use data for personalization that creates real value for them. Otherwise, their concerns will add to the current “cascade of distrust” in government and other large institutions.

Understanding Consumer Sentiment Towards Data & Privacy in Advertising

Lucid is a research technology platform that delivers programmatic access to first-party survey data that can be used to drive business initiatives. Using survey-based methodologies to help clients understand the accuracy and effectiveness of their advertising efforts.


In her presentation, Bridget Bidlack shared recent research Lucid conducted on consumer sentiment on data privacy as it relates to the concept of a “free Internet” and sharing of data. Although the Internet is “free” to users, there is an inherent quid pro quo requirement: users must view ads and share data to use the Internet, and this “contract” isn’t always transparent.

Building Trust Through Transparency

In a 2019 Pew survey, 79% of Americans say that they know big companies track their online behavior while 59% say they don’t know how the data is used and have little control over how the data is used. In a 2020 survey, Pew found that most Americans want the right to permanently delete their health related data.

Cookieless Audience Targeting and Attribution: A Pharma Case Study

While attribution has been around two decades, a great breakthrough for digital, the deprecation of third party cookies is likely to have a significant impact. Options to MTA include: walled gardens, focused on one channel only, and data clean rooms such as those operated by the identity companies. Cleanrooms are data intensive but much better than single channel walled gardens.

MODERATED TRACK DISCUSSIONS: Cross-Platform: Measurement & Identity

Moderator Jorge (TikTok) asked the panelists three key questions:

  • The pros and cons of using mobile phones as meters in a time of such strong privacy concerns;
  • The panelists’ views on measurement of advertising effectiveness; and
  • The most unexpected feedback they received.

Implications of Changing Privacy Frameworks on Measurement & Marketing

At Part I of our Insights Studio Series on November 2, 2022, we discussed key shifts in the ads landscape and insights on peoples’ thoughts and behaviors around privacy—based on the latest ARF Privacy Survey. Experts from Boston University, Meta, Nielsen and the ARF shared macro-level trends as well as frameworks to help make sense of the advertising ecosystem.