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2022 will be the year when data privacy finally kicks the marketing and data industry in the balls. We have known this for a while now so it should not be a surprise to anyone but there are still a lot of unanswered questions of what good looks like for brands come 2022. I am sure we will be bombarded with loads of buzz words such as cookieless tracking, zero party data and walled gardens as the solutions that brands need to embrace post 2022. They could well be.

What are the key changes:

  • Browsers taking control: Jan 2022 Google Chrome will stop tracking 3rd party cookies following Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox who have taken safeguards with their ITP and ETP approach with an update every roll out.
  • Apple taking control: Apple are forcing brands to ask for consent by end of Q1 2021 (IDFA) so that the ID can be assigned to the user. The ID can become redundant at anytime as the user can limit ad tracking or reset the phone.
  • Legislation taking control: We are living in the world of legislation from GDPR to CCPA and there will be many more that will be rolled out across the globe. The biggest impact for brands is getting explicit consent that user data can be utilised in a safe way. (TCF 2.0)

The implications:

  • Walled Gardens taking control: With the death of the 3rd party cookie, it has given more control to Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon (GAFA) which are closed ecosystems. With how GAFA operate they are given explicit consent by the users allowing them to gain access to users’ data in a logged in environment. Coupled with the campaign data that brands run GAFA have a gold mine of data, but limited data is shared with the brands.
  • Media tactics limited: Huge implications on re-targeting, lookalikes and frequency capping capabilities are making it harder to execute. They can only be executed within each platform environment giving the brand less control of the user experience.

3 Key Pillars

The ethics behind marketing and data will play a big role when it comes to planning for 2022 and beyond. If we are totally honest with ourselves, we have taken advantage of being dishonest in how we used data and executed marketing campaigns. Now is a good time to build a new strategy with the right ethics, governance, and respect. Building a bespoke data & tech ecosystem should be a core conversation in 2021 to help plan beyond 2022. Within the ecosystem Sever Side Tag Manager, Consent Management and Customer Data Platforms should play a key role and the right ecosystem should drive measurement to be the focal point of the business.

Server side Tag Manager:

With legislation changes and browsers taking control it is having a significant impact on what can be measured. Taking control of data collection and what data is shared within your ecosystem becomes critically important. The process today in how data is collected and executed by adding a tracking pixel via your tag management which gets loaded into the browser is one of the reasons why browsers have implemented tracking preventions.

Data sharing with 3rd parties was always risky and will eventually be banned. Meaning server side tag management becomes an attractive option where you can control what you collect and how you share the data with partners. Server side tag manager sits on a subdomain which makes it recognised as a true first party giving the brand total control of the data collected and how its shared.

Consent Management and Customer Data Platform:

Gaining consent is a critical and ethical step in the data privacy world, working with a Consent Management Platform (CMP) the data can be integrated with a CDP which can create a unified customer profile. Allowing segments to be created on the back of what customers have opted for. This will help business with accountability and gaining customers trust that their data privacy laws are being upheld.


The role of measurement is going to be fundamental for all business coming out the pandemic and combatting the current data privacy issues. Embracing measurement is the only ways business can survive, optimise, and grow in what is now such a competitive and dynamic landscape.

4 steps to get on the right measurement path:

  1. Measurement needs to be positioned as a top down approach so that it can impact the wider business not only marketing.
  2. Define the business and marketing base.
  3. Develop a measurement strategy.
  4. Map out the data requirements for advanced analytics and develop a roadmap.

We are entering a fascinating phase of this industry where we really need to think about the ethics and start planning for 2022. It is time for brands to take notice with less than 9 months left of 2021 its now or never to build the right ecosystem that futureproofs business.