Everyone wants data. Marketers want it for performance attribution; platforms want it for personalized experiences; users want it for themselves.

The voice of the user is loudest. They are the subject of the data, after all. The drive to user privacy has been outpacing the capabilities of attribution technology.

Of all the themes covered at Google Marketing Live last month, none came across more prominently than Google’s commitment to honor user concerns around privacy. In a New York Times op-ed piece published the week prior, Google CEO Sindar Pichai laid out this commitment, stating that it’s “vital for companies to give people clear, individual choices around how their data is used.”

Facebook has also been showing a growing commitment to user privacy. In a vision statement published in March entitled A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking and reemphasized in a Washington Post op-ed a month later, Mark Zuckerberg doubled down on the importance of privacy.

“As I think about the future of the internet, I believe a privacy-focused communications platform will become even more important than today’s open platforms. Privacy gives people the freedom to be themselves and connect more naturally, which is why we build social networks.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO

Even Apple recently increased the Intelligent Tracking Prevention capabilities of their mobile-dominant Safari browser. It’s now even better at blocking third party cookies.

Long-lasting cookies will only be available on the sites that users interact with regularly, meaning advertisers will be losing a lot of tracking capabilities for anyone using Safari as their browser (in the past year, nearly 25% of all mobile traffic used Safari).

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, recently doubled down on this privacy stance as well: “Consumers shouldn’t have to tolerate another year of companies irresponsibly amassing huge user profiles, data breaches that seem out of control, and the vanishing ability to control our own digital lives.”

Data-Driven PrivacySeeing the writing on the wall, all three CEOs have been public and quite vocal in their support of new privacy legislation to hold all companies to firm data-privacy standards.

And while this is a good look for their brands, what does the future look like for performance marketers if they can’t accurately create long-term attribution models, simply because the data isn’t available?

One option is to restrict yourself to only invest in campaigns where you can prove a positive ROI. This may be the safest option, but it definitely isn’t the ideal solution for growing your brand. Good brand-building, like good relationship-building, has always demanded empathy, art, and finesse. When the science isn’t definitive, which it often isn’t, marketers need to be smart enough to trust their well-informed gut.

The most meaningful payoff of your marketing investments occur over a far longer time horizon than could ever be tracked within the window of a reliable cookie expiration date. Brands are built by customers who turn into life-long customers and become passionate advocates.

Increased user privacy may sound daunting, but it is actually a good thing for marketers. It encourages both branding and performance-driven campaigns to adopt a unified strategy: communicate the brand message in a compelling, memorable way in order to maximize long-term revenue.

This is the very mindset behind our Brand Attribution Marketing model. There’s no double-counting dollars in the bank.

Want to learn more about what Brand Attribution Marketing can do for your business? Send an email to dstone@roirevolution.com.

Carpe Diem,

Timothy Seward

Founder & CEO, ROI Revolution