Q&A on Data & Privacy

On May 01, 2023 Research & Resources

This new Q&A series highlights a key topic in digital advertising and discusses the work that will be carried out by the relative council or working group in 2023.

Today we chat Data & Privacy with the IAB Australia Data Council chairs Rachida Murray, Chief Digital Officer, Spark Foundry and Chris Brinkworth, Managing Partner, Civic Data. 


Q1. Let’s talk about the use of data in advertising. What do you think makes the use of data so effective for marketers and why?

Rachida: I think the use of data is critical in absolutely every field, and advertising is no different. At its core data is intelligence, and the right intelligence gives its user a competitive advantage. Marketers who can leverage this intelligence and advantage with smarts and creativity will grow their brand at a higher rate and gain market share. This is the case either we are talking about using data for measurement or for targeting, online and offline the same fundamental principals apply. It seems all very simple however “leveraging this intelligence with smarts and creativity” is much easier said than done.

Chris: Data in advertising drives efficiency and effectiveness by enabling precise targeting, personalised messaging, and measurable outcomes. As we face signal data loss due to the removal of third-party cookies, device IDs, and even the adoption of Consent Management having an impact on analytics - the adoption of methodologies such as decision tree modelling, predictive segmentation etc becomes essential. When done right, these approaches will help marketers extract actionable insights and targeting options from available data, while ensuring compliance and preserving consumer trust. By leveraging diverse data sources, including first-party data, contextual data, and anonymised historical performance data as ‘seed data’, marketers can create more relevant and engaging campaigns that drive results and enhance brand perception.

Q2. What do you think are the missed opportunities in using Data in advertising campaigns currently?

Rachida: As an industry we are facing many challenges when it comes to leveraging data in a way that improves ad campaigns while respects consumer’s right to privacy. There is still a fair amount of nervousness when it comes to data trading from brands that are very cautious as well as publishers who haven’t yet decided how they will commercialise data assets. This creates missed opportunities on both sides. As an industry we need more education, collaboration but also a test, learn and improve mindset as we navigate an evolving privacy landscape.

Chris: Current missed opportunities in data-driven advertising include not yet fully understanding the current and future impact that privacy has had on the collection and usage of data, but also what that is costing them on redundant martech/adtech technology where that tech investment can no longer ‘measure or activate effectively’, in tandem to wasted media budget. This can be recouped, by investigating privacy preserving technologies, such as data clean rooms, and underutilising non-personal contextual data for targeting. Additionally, many organisations have yet to establish strong cross-functional collaboration since privacy forced changes, resulting in fragmented strategies and missed opportunities for optimisation. By fostering a culture of continuous learning and adaptation, marketers would better understand the implications of changing regulations, stay informed about emerging technologies like Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs), and develop integrated strategies that maximise the potential of data-driven advertising while maintaining compliance and consumer trust.

Q3. If brands are unsure about how to use their data or lean into other data sources, where should they start? What is a good first opportunity?

Rachida: I’m a big fan of an impact vs effort matrix! Identify the low efforts that can have a big impact or that have low risk first, how can you better use data for measurement? How can you use the data you have to inform your test & learn framework? From there what are the high efforts, high reward projects that align to business objectives and starting to map these out. It’s a collaboration process which often involves a brand, their agency’s digital and insights team as well as their technology and publisher partners.

I think it's critical to start with the business goal in mind and identify use cases rather than jump on a “we need X (insert technology or dataset)” bandwagon.

Chris: Brands should first focus on understanding the consent attached to their first-party data foundation (that collected over the years through website registrations, surveys, and loyalty programs) ensuring compliance and providing clear opt-out mechanisms etc. Next, with that consent-confidence in mind, they should be exploring privacy-preserving data collaboration tools, to work with partners while maintaining data privacy. For example, Brands could experiment with non-personal contextual data partners, to inform their decision tree models etc alongside/integrated with consented first-party seed data for targeting - without compromising that privacy.

Developing a test-and-learn approach, in collaboration with agency and publisher partners, can help identify those impactful opportunities and refine strategies based on data-driven insights.

Q4. What is the Data Council working on that will be exciting in 2023?

Rachida: We’re currently finalising our Explainer guide to Data Collaboration Technologies (Data Clean Rooms) which I think will provide the local market with much needed education which is fantastic. We’re also in discussion across a range of topics from retail media networks, consent management impact of the proposed changed to the privacy act… watch this space.  

Chris: In the face of changing regulations and technology costs, ensuring that Australian businesses are well-equipped to adapt and thrive in this dynamic environment is the core aim of the Data Council. We are dedicated to empowering the Australian industry with knowledge and tools to navigate the evolving data landscape, in what is a critical time to be agreeing on key issues such as standards and interoperability around data. Creating educational resources on data collaboration technologies, such as data clean rooms through to establishing minimum disclosure requirements for audience data providers with the IAB’s Data Transparency Standards (Data Labels) are first of many important topics off the ramp that we’d love more members to get involved in and have their say.

To review some of the content from the recent Data & Privacy event, click here.