Analysis conducted by the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University  has concluded that of the 324 US marketers surveyed, approximately 60% said that they haven’t altered their use of third-party data at all over the past two years. Just over 9%, however, said that they have decreased their usage of third-party data, and 11% predicted that they will use less third-party data over the next two years.
As a third of those surveyed said that they have increased their third-party data usage over the past two years, it is important to note that third-party data is still used by marketers who believe in its value. In fact, Interpublic Group recently invested $2.3 billion into the purchase of Axciom, a data aggregator.
There have, however, been several key events that have occurred within the marketing landscape that has notably diminished some marketer’s excitement about the use of third-party data.
Internet Browsers and Third-Party Data
Critically, Internet browsers have begun to crack down on third-party data. Apple’s Safari browser introduced measures that made tracking individual users via cookies more difficult by deleting all third-party cookies after 24 hours . Google then launched a built-in ad blocker into its Chrome browser . Now, Mozilla has introduced features into its Firefox browser that block ad trackers automatically .
Facebook and Third-Party Data
The crunch on third-party data doesn’t end with Internet browsers, however, as Facebook has also announced that is has rescinded its usage of its Partner Categories technology. Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has decided that utilising technology that allows third-party data providers to provide targeting services directly through the platform should not be allowed to continue.
The Partner Categories product will be replaced with a different product that will permit third-party data brokers to work directly with Facebook advertisers. Notably, however, this new product dictates that marketers are now responsible for data protection .
GDPR and Third-Party Data
The European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) specifically states that individuals need to give permission for their data to be used. As most marketing vendors use third-party data that has been obtained without this explicit permission, many are concerned that this new ruling will leave them open and vulnerable to GDPR fines . This is a significant concern because anyone found to be violating GDPR could be fined 4% of all global revenue or $22 million, whichever is the greater amount.
Many marketers now feel that there are a variety of logistical hurdles with regard to the usage of third-party data. A large percentage of marketers believe that it is simply not enough to have control over their own data management, and they should also ensure that their tech partners are fully compliant with new laws and regulations. Although simple to say, this is not a particularly easy thing to put into practice because most vendors simply don’t have the direct interactions with consumers.
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