Mastercard, Instacart, Dstillery Discuss How Companies Can Finally Quit Invasive Data Practices at Cannes

The advertising industry has been saying that it will shift toward more privacy-oriented approaches for years, but many marketers still use invasive paradigms to try to extract as much data from users as possible, executives from Mastercard, Instacart and Dstillery shared at the ADWEEK House at Cannes Lions.

“I think when the adtech community talks about privacy first, I think that’s normally code for, ‘We’re still going to track users, we’re just going to do it with their consent,’” said Michael Beebe, CEO at Dstillery.

And consumer consent is often not even fairly won.

“If you’re trying to hide behind six pages of extremely microprint and say, ‘Unless you click on this, I won’t let you go do something, and if you click on this, you’re done for, because you’re signing your life away,’” said Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer at Mastercard, on what brands typically get wrong. “To me, I think, conceptually, this is where our industry … has to be found fault with it. We have to own it.

Beebe, Rajamannar and Laura Jones, chief marketing officer at Instacart, shared current problems with the ad industry’s data collection mindset, how marketers can gain access to consumer data more thoughtfully and what brands should watch out for in the future.

The status quo

Brands still want to work with data that doesn’t meet governance standards and could put consumers in harm’s way, said Andrew Dawson, social networks practice principal at social media intelligence firm Brandwatch, who asked the panelists how to handle requests from executives about using this problematic data.

“We’ve seen a lot of hyper growth tech, and when you don’t have that in place at the beginning, the tech debt that you accrue, and the amount of work to put that in place later,” Jones said. “Frankly, the amount of cleanup required … it can quickly spin out of control.”

This is a lot of headache to take on for data that doesn’t necessarily work, especially for performance metrics based on third-party cookies, Rajamannar said.

“I’ve seen the data across multiple companies, multiple industries. It’s awful,” he said. “We are holding on to certain things, which are in the medium term not sustainable.”

A true value exchange

If brands want customers’ data, customers need to be getting something back in return. For example, at Instacart, customer data can power recommendations during the shopping process, such recommending mustard to someone who bought ketchup, Jones said.

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