‘True Gen’: Generation Z and its implications for companies

Long before the term “influencer” was coined, young people played that social role by creating and interpreting trends. Now a new generation of influencers has come on the scene. Members of Gen Z—loosely, people born from 1995 to 2010—are true digital natives: from earliest youth, they have been exposed to the internet, to social networks, and to mobile systems. That context has produced a hypercognitive generation very comfortable with collecting and cross-referencing many sources of information and with integrating virtual and offline experiences.

As global connectivity soars, generational shifts could come to play a more important role in setting behavior than socioeconomic differences do. Young people have become a potent influence on people of all ages and incomes, as well as on the way those people consume and relate to brands. In Brazil, Gen Z already makes up 20 percent of the country’s population. McKinsey recently collaborated with Box1824, a research agency specializing in consumer trends, to conduct a survey investigating the behaviors of this new generation and its influence on consumption patterns in Brazil.1 The survey coupled qualitative insights about Gen Z in three of the country’s major cities (Recife, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo) with multigenerational quantitative data that cut across socioeconomic classes. Our goal was to understand how this new generation’s views might affect the broader population, as well as consumption in general.

Our study based on the survey reveals four core Gen Z behaviors, all anchored in one element: this generation’s search for truth. Gen Zers value individual expression and avoid labels. They mobilize themselves for a variety of causes. They believe profoundly in the efficacy of dialogue to solve conflicts and improve the world. Finally, they make decisions and relate to institutions in a highly analytical and pragmatic way. That is why, for us, Gen Z is “True Gen.” In contrast, the previous generation— the millennials, sometimes called the “me generation”—got its start in an era of economic prosperity and focuses on the self. Its members are more idealistic, more confrontational, and less willing to accept diverse points of view.

Such behaviors influence the way Gen Zers view consumption and their relationships with brands. Companies should be attuned to three implications for this generation: consumption as access rather than possession, consumption as an expression of individual identity, and consumption as a matter of ethical concern. Coupled with technological advances, this generational shift is transforming the consumer landscape in a way that cuts across all socioeconomic brackets and extends beyond Gen Z, permeating the whole demographic pyramid. The possibilities now emerging for companies are as transformational as they are challenging. Businesses must rethink how they deliver value to the consumer, rebalance scale and mass production against personalization, and—more than ever—practice what they preach when they address marketing issues and work ethics.

Meet True Gen

Generations are shaped by the context in which they emerged (Exhibit 1). Baby boomers, born from 1940 to 1959, were immersed in the post–World War II context and are best represented by consumption as an expression of ideology. Gen Xers (born 1960–79) consumed status, while millennials (born 1980–94) consumed experiences. For Generation Z, as we have seen, the main spur to consumption is the search for truth, in both a personal and a communal form (Exhibit 2). This generation feels comfortable not having only one way to be itself. Its search for authenticity generates greater freedom of expression and greater openness to understanding different kinds of people.

‘Undefined ID’: Expressing individual truth

I need to be free; I need to be myself, increasingly be myself, every day. With the internet, I feel much more free.
—Female respondent, 22, city of São Paulo

I really like things that are unisex! I think it’s absurd that stores and brands split everything into “male” and “female.” After all, fabric is genderless.
—Female respondent, 22, Goiânia

For Gen Zers, the key point is not to define themselves through only one stereotype but rather for individuals to experiment with different ways of being themselves and to shape their individual identities over time (Exhibit 3). In this respect, you might call them “identity nomads.”

Seventy-six percent of Gen Zers say they are religious. At the same time, they are also the generation most open to a variety of themes not necessarily aligned with the broader beliefs of their declared religions. For example, 20 percent of them do not consider themselves exclusively heterosexual, as opposed to 10 percent for other generations. Sixty percent of Gen Zers think that same-sex couples should be able to adopt children—ten percentage points more than people in other generations do.

Gender fluidity may be the most telling reflection of “undefined ID,” but it isn’t the only one. Gen Zers are always connected. They constantly evaluate unprecedented amounts of information and influences. For them, the self is a place to experiment, test, and change. Seven out of ten Gen Zers say it is important to defend causes related to identity, so they are more interested than previous generations have been in human rights; in matters related to race and ethnicity; in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues; and in feminism (Exhibit 4).

‘Communaholic’: Connecting to different truths

We each have our own style and way of being, but what binds us is that we accept and understand everyone’s styles.
—Male respondent, 16, Recife

Gen Zers are radically inclusive. They don’t distinguish between friends they meet online and friends in the physical world. They continually flow between communities that promote their causes by exploiting the high level of mobilization technology makes possible. Gen Zers value online communities because they allow people of different economic circumstances to connect and mobilize around causes and interests. (Sixty-six percent of the Gen Zers in our survey believe that communities are created by causes and interests, not by economic backgrounds or educational levels. That percentage is well above the corresponding one for millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers.) Fifty-two percent of Gen Zers think it is natural for every individual to belong to different groups (compared with 45 percent of the people in other generations), and Gen Zers have no problem with moving between groups.

‘Dialoguer’: Understanding different truths

We must practice tolerance, and we must learn to listen and accept differences.
—Male respondent, 20, Gioânia

Gen Zers believe in the importance of dialogue and accept differences of opinion with the institutions in which they participate and with their own families (Exhibit 5). They can interact with institutions that reject their personal values without abandoning those values. The fact that Gen Zers feel comfortable interacting with traditional religious institutions without abandoning personal beliefs that might not be broadly accepted by these institutions also demonstrates their pragmatism. Rather than spurn an institution altogether, Gen Zers would rather engage with it to extract whatever makes sense for them.

Members of this generation therefore tend to believe that change must come from dialogue: 57 percent of millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers think they would have to break with the system to change the world, compared with 49 percent of Gen Zers. Gen Z is also more willing to accommodate the failings of companies. Thirty-nine percent of the people in this generation, for example, expect companies to answer customer complaints in the same day; for the three earlier generations, the percentage is much higher—52 percent.

Gen Z’s belief in dialogue combines a high value for individual identity, the rejection of stereotypes, and a considerable degree of pragmatism. That brings us to the fourth core behavior of Gen Z.

‘Realistic’: Unveiling the truth behind all things

I don’t believe this talk of investing in the dream and all that. Work is work.
—Female respondent, 22, Salvador, state of Bahia

Gen Zers, with vast amounts of information at their disposal, are more pragmatic and analytical about their decisions than members of previous generations were. Sixty-five percent of the Gen Zers in our survey said that they particularly value knowing what is going on around them and being in control. This generation of self-learners is also more comfortable absorbing knowledge online than in traditional institutions of learning.

What’s more, Gen Z was raised at a time of global economic stress—in fact, the greatest economic downturn in Brazil’s history. These challenges made Gen Zers less idealistic than the millennials we surveyed (Exhibit 6). Many Gen Zers are keenly aware of the need to save for the future and see job stability as more important than a high salary. They already show a high preference for regular employment rather than freelance or part-time work, which may come as a surprise compared to the attitude of millennials, for example. According to the survey, 42 percent of Gen Zers from 17 to 23 years old are already gainfully employed in either full- or part-time jobs or as freelance workers—a high percentage for people so young.

Gen Z: Consumption and implications for companies

The youthful forms of behavior we discuss here are influencing all generations and, ultimately, attitudes toward consumption as well. Three forces are emerging in a powerful confluence of technology and behavior.

Consumption re-signified: From possession to access

This more pragmatic and realistic generation of consumers expects to access and evaluate a broad range of information before purchases. Gen Zers analyze not only what they buy but also the very act of consuming. Consumption has also gained a new meaning. For Gen Z—and increasingly for older generations as well—consumption means having access to products or services, not necessarily owning them. As access becomes the new form of consumption, unlimited access to goods and services (such as car-riding services, video streaming, and subscriptions) creates value. Products become services, and services connect consumers.

As collaborative consumption gains traction, people are also starting to view it as a way to generate additional income in the “gig economy.” Another aspect of the gig economy involves consumers who take advantage of their existing relationships with companies to generate additional income by working temporarily for them. Some companies are already embracing the implications.

Car manufacturers, for example, are renting out vehicles directly to consumers, so that instead of selling 1,000 cars, these companies may sell one car 1,000 times. The role of sporting-goods businesses, likewise, has shifted to helping people become better athletes by providing access to equipment, technology, coaching, and communities of like-minded consumers. Similarly, traditional consumer-goods companies should consider creating platforms of products, services, and experiences that aggregate or connect customers around brands. Companies historically defined by the products they sell or consume can now rethink their value-creation models, leveraging more direct relationships with consumers and new distribution channels.

Singularity: Consumption as an expression of individual identity

The core of Gen Z is the idea of manifesting individual identity. Consumption therefore becomes a means of self-expression—as opposed, for example, to buying or wearing brands to fit in with the norms of groups. Led by Gen Z and millennials, consumers across generations are not only eager for more personalized products but also willing to pay a premium for products that highlight their individuality. Fifty-eight percent of A-class and 43 percent of C-class consumers say they are willing to pay more for personalized offerings. Seventy percent of A-class and 58 percent of C-class consumers are willing to pay a premium for products from brands that embrace causes those consumers identify with. And here’s another finding that stood out in our survey: 48 percent of Gen Zers—but only 38 percent of consumers in other generations—said they value brands that don’t classify items as male or female. For most brands, that is truly new territory.

Although expectations of personalization are high, consumers across generations are not yet totally comfortable about sharing their personal data with companies. Only 10 to 15 percent of them declare not to have any issues in sharing personal data with companies. If there is a clear counterpart from companies to consumers, then the number of consumers willing to share personal information with companies goes up to 35 percent—still a relatively small number.

As the on- and offline worlds converge, consumers expect more than ever to consume products and services any time and any place, so omnichannel marketing and sales must reach a new level. For consumers who are always and everywhere online, the online–offline boundary doesn’t exist. Meanwhile, we are entering the “segmentation of one” age now that companies can use advanced analytics to improve their insights from consumer data. Customer information that companies have long buried in data repositories now has strategic value, and in some cases information itself creates the value. Leading companies should therefore have a data strategy that will prepare them to develop business insights by collecting and interpreting information about individual consumers while protecting data privacy.

For decades, consumer companies and retailers have realized gains through economies of scale. Now they may have to accept a two-track model: the first for scale and mass consumption, the other for customization catering to specific groups of consumers or to the most loyal consumers. In this scenario, not only marketing but also the supply chain and manufacturing processes would require more agility and flexibility. For businesses, that kind of future raises many questions. How long will clothing collections grouped by gender continue to make sense, for example? How should companies market cars or jewelry in an inclusive, unbiased way? To what extent should the need for a two-speed business transform the internal processes and structure of companies?

Consumption anchored on ethics

Finally, consumers increasingly expect brands to “take a stand.” The point is not to have a politically correct position on a broad range of topics. It is to choose the specific topics (or causes) that make sense for a brand and its consumers and to have something clear to say about those particular issues. In a transparent world, younger consumers don’t distinguish between the ethics of a brand, the company that owns it, and its network of partners and suppliers. A company’s actions must match its ideals, and those ideals must permeate the entire stakeholder system.

Gen Z consumers are mostly well educated about brands and the realities behind them. When they are not, they know how to access information and develop a point of view quickly. If a brand advertises diversity but lacks diversity within its own ranks, for example, that contradiction will be noticed. In fact, members of the other generations we surveyed share this mind-set. Seventy percent of our respondents say they try to purchase products from companies they consider ethical. Eighty percent say they remember at least one scandal or controversy involving a company. About 65 percent try to learn the origins of anything they buy—where it is made, what it is made from, and how it is made. About 80 percent refuse to buy goods from companies involved in scandals.

All this is relevant for businesses, since 63 percent of the consumers we surveyed said that recommendations from friends are their most trusted source for learning about products and brands. The good news is that consumers—in particular Gen Zers—are tolerant of brands when they make mistakes, if the mistakes are corrected. That path is more challenging for large corporations, since a majority of our respondents believe that major brands are less ethical than small ones.

For consumers, marketing and work ethics are converging. Companies must therefore not only identify clearly the topics on which they will take positions but also ensure that everyone throughout the value chain gets on board. For the same reason, companies ought to think carefully about the marketing agents who represent their brands and products. Remember too that consumers increasingly understand that some companies subsidize their influencers. Perhaps partly for that reason, consumers tend to pay more attention to closer connections—for example, Instagram personas with 5,000 to 20,000 followers. Marketing in the digital age is posing increasingly complex challenges as channels become more fragmented and ever changing.


Young people have always embodied the zeitgeist of their societies, profoundly influencing trends and behavior alike. The influence of Gen Z—the first generation of true digital natives—is now radiating outward, with the search for truth at the center of its characteristic behavior and consumption patterns. Technology has given young people an unprecedented degree of connectivity among themselves and with the rest of the population. That makes generational shifts more important and speeds up technological trends as well. For companies, this shift will bring both challenges and equally attractive opportunities. And remember: the first step in capturing any opportunity is being open to it.

Source: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/true-gen-generation-z-and-its-implications-for-companies#

10 Digital Marketing Trends you need to know for 2020

As we’re rapidly approaching the end of the year, it’s a great time to look ahead at where we’re going and the marketing trends we’re likely to see more of in 2020. I’ve already touched on how we can expect marketing to evolve on a strategic level, and in this article, I’ll be looking in more detail at some of the specific trends to look out for.

 

Technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, so of course, some of these trends are focused around technology. However, there’s also a pushback against the increased digitization and automation of interactions between brands and consumers, and a desire to make marketing more human again.

While technologies such as AI and data-driven marketing will certainly be big trends for 2020, the overarching focus will be on people, not technology.

1. Customer Experience

2020 will be the year of the customer. We’re seeing a massive shift in beliefs about what marketing actually is. It’s no longer about trying to convince people to buy from or work with your company. Instead, the priority has moved towards providing fantastic customer experiences that will keep people coming back for more. In a sense, when you focus on building a positive business culture and providing great service, the marketing almost takes care of itself.

The growth of online content has given consumers more power. They are no longer a passive party when it comes to learning about products. They’re not waiting for you to tell you how great your products are. Instead, they’re going out and doing their own research.

So you have to offer them something more than information.

Customer experience or CX is already the hottest buzzword in marketing circles, but it’s more than just a passing trend. 73% of people say that customer experience is an important factor in their buying decisions, but currently only 49% of US consumers say that today’s companies provide a good experience.

What exactly makes a great CX? Efficiency, convenience, knowledgeable and friendly service, and easy payment options are what people value most in their customer experience. But aspects more traditionally considered as marketing’s domain are cited too: up-to-date technology, personalization, an easy mobile experience, brand image, and design all add up to the overall customer experience.

In other words, you need to consider CX in every aspect of your marketing strategy. This is how you can provide a great experience in order to keep your customers and attract new ones.

In fact, as you go through this list, you’ll see that every trend is really just one factor of the overall customer experience.

2. Employee Engagement

If efficient and friendly service is the cornerstone of great customer experience, how do you ensure you’re providing this? The answer, of course, is in your employees. The previously mentioned research also found that 46% of consumers will abandon a brand if its employees are not knowledgeable, and bad employee attitude is the number one factor that stops individuals from doing business with a company.

Your employees are the human face of your brand, so concentrating on interactions between your employees and your customers should be a key part of your marketing strategy.

When you’re turning the responsibility of creating a great customer service over to your employees, you need to make sure that they want your business to succeed as much as you do.

The key to this is building a solid foundation of employee engagement and taking steps to ensure every employee understands and is aligned with your brand mission and values.

You can’t expect your employees to care about your customers if they’re not happy at work and don’t really believe in what you’re doing as a business. So achieving a high level of employee engagement is the first and most important step in improving customer experiences.

3. Visualisation

With the explosion of smart speakers and voice search in recent years, you’d be forgiven for thinking that “readable” content is more important than visuals and design these days.

In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. While advancements in voice search are certainly influencing the way that we’ll create content now and in the future, you shouldn’t neglect visual content either.

Research has shown that people prefer visual content to plain text. You just have to look at the growth of image-focused platforms Pinterest and Instagram to see the proof of this.

Google, Pinterest, and several other companies are also investing in visual search technology. Images are already returned for 19% of searches on Google, and 62% of millennials say they are more interest in visual search than any other new technology.

Visuals are also easier to remember than written content. Adding data visualizations, infographics, images, and videos to your text not only makes it more interesting and attractive, but it can help your message to be absorbed better too.

4. Personalisation

Increased data collection and advancements in technology have already had a huge impact on the level of personalization that is possible and on what consumers expect from their interactions with brands.

Today’s consumers are flooded with marketing messages from multiple channels to the point where they have started to tune them out. Traditional advertising is losing its effectiveness, so what’s the answer? Personalized marketing messages that forge a real connection between the brand and the target market.

80% of consumers said that they’d be more likely to do business with a brand that provides a personalized experience, as per a survey by Epsilon.

In the 2002 movie Minority Report, the character John Anderton, played by Tom Cruise, is bombarded by a series of personalized ads calling him by name as he walks through the city. This was obviously complete science fiction at the time, but not quite two decades later, reality has almost caught up with the marketing future of Stephen Spielberg’s imagination.

Marketing personalization is no longer limited to automatically changing the name of the person you’re addressing in your email newsletters. Improvements in technology such as AI combined with increased data collection and insights from social media and other sources have made it possible and easy to hyper-personalize everything from content to design to product recommendations and everything in-between.

5. Strategic Marketing Transformation

When you’re reading about up-and-coming trends in an article like this, it’s all too easy to think that being successful in marketing can be simplified to following a list of best practices and making sure you’re using the latest techniques and technology.

The business of marketing is becoming increasingly complex. For companies to succeed in 2020, they’ll have to think beyond what they’re doing and link everything back to the why of the business as a whole. Your marketing goals and objectives must align with the overall goals of your business.

Strategic  marketing transformation  is the term used to describe the process when a business operating without a strategic marketing plan evolves by changing its fundamental business processes and procedures.

Undergoing a marketing transformation can help companies to improve customer service and experience, boost brand awareness and reputation, and ultimately increase revenue and profits.

Businesses achieve these benefits through a combination of data collection, using modern technology, building customer relationships and engaging with customers online, publishing quality content, and improving their online presence. All of these things are part of the underlying strategy that influences every department and employee in the company, not just the marketers.

Your strategic marketing plan defines goals and determines which marketing tactics you will employ to reach your customers including content marketing, SEO, email marketing, social media, advertising, and offline marketing. It then lays out a plan for how every part of the organization will be involved in these tactics.

To put it simply, the marketing strategy is no longer only the responsibility of the chief marketer or CMO. Strategic marketing transformation recognizes this and ensures that the brand, company reputation, customer relationships, and the customer experience as a whole are considered in every business activity.

6. SERP Position Zero & Featured Snippets

SEO will continue to be an important aspect of digital marketing as we move into 2020, but we’re now seeing one of the most major shifts in the SEO industry in the last decade.

With the growth of mobile and voice search, people are changing the way they use search engines like Google. Being number one in the search engine result pages or SERPS is no longer necessarily the primary goal your business should be aiming for.

You’ve probably noticed your own search and browsing behavior has changed in the last few years due to Google changes and the fact that you’re looking for the fastest information when you’re on the move.

Featured snippets and other “on SERP” information means that you don’t need to click through to a website to get the information you’re looking for anymore – it’s right there on the Google search results page.

This on-SERP information may appear in various places, but the most sought after position is right at the top of the page, before the organic listings. This position has been dubbed “position zero”. As it’s often the only information that a searcher will view, it’s highly coveted. Over 60% of search results returned by Google are now position zero search results.

Brands are still trying to figure out how to achieve position zero as it requires different SEO techniques than those employed for a normal listing in the SERPs. If you can be the first in your industry to get there, you’ll have a huge advantage over your competitors. So expect to see more SEO companies offering this service over the next year, and pay attention to the latest best practices for optimizing your content.

7. Voice Search

I’ve mentioned voice search a couple of times already, so you knew it was going to be on this list. Voice search shows no sign of slowing down and will continue to be a major influence on how brands create content and market themselves online.

We’re not quite at the commonly cited prediction that 50% of searches will be driven by voice in 2020 (we’re currently sitting at about 20% according to Google), but this statistic is probably not that far in the future. The smart speaker business is booming, with around a quarter of US households now owning a Google Home, Amazon Echo, or another smart speaker.

Consumers are also expecting to use voice search more in the near future – 61% of those aged 25–64 who already use a voice device intend to use it more in the future according to research by PwC.

Voice search brings with it new challenges but also exciting opportunities. “Branded skills” is one example of a smart speaker advertising opportunity that emerged in the last year. Tequila brand Patròn is an example of a company that’s seen huge success from using branded skills. Smart speaker users can ask their digital assistant to “ask Patròn for a cocktail recipe.” This not only helps to increase brand awareness and visibility, but it also enables users to buy the product directly from the recipe results.

Even if your brand isn’t ready for smart speaker advertising, it’s important that your content is optimized for voice search. Voice searchers use search differently. They use longer, more conversational queries, so slanting your content to serve these queries, as well as answering questions directly, can help to make it more visible to voice searches. This has the added bonus of making your content more likely to be picked up as a featured snippet or found on position zero on Google.

8. AI-Based Automation

Will 2020 be the year of the rise of the robots? Maybe (but hopefully not in the Terminator-style of dystopian science fiction movies!)

We’ve already seen huge advancements in AI over the last few years, and a great increase in the number of businesses using AI-powered technology and automation to assist their marketing efforts.

AI is one of the major technologies behind voice search and smart assistants. It’s also made chatbots possible, which are now popping up on more websites than ever before.

AI technology and automation are helping to take some of the grunt work out of marketing so brands can concentrate on strategy and crafting a fantastic customer experience.

Remember, the human aspect of marketing is still important (perhaps more important than ever before), so the idea is to use this technology to enhance your marketing efforts, not replace the real people behind them.

Big data, supported by AI and predictive analytics, is also helping brands to learn more about their audience and customers. It’s enabling hyper-personalization of customer experiences and marketing messages at scale.

9. Focus on Customer Retention, Loyalty and Advocacy

A huge part of providing a great customer experience is making sure that CX is ongoing and focused on keeping your existing customers, rather than just attracting new ones.

Recurring customers are more valuable than new customers. Studies have found that it costs five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep a new one, so it’s definitely worth putting in the effort to keep your customers happy.

Loyal customers also help to increase the reputation and awareness of your brand as they’ll talk about your company and products with their friends and family. Happy customers make great (and free!) brand ambassadors and influencers.

Many of the above-mentioned trends and technology can be helpful for increasing customer retention rates. Personalisation, for example, is certainly expected from your existing customers if not your new ones, and it gets easier to personalise communications the more interactions someone has with your brand.

10. Live Video

The live video industry is expected to be worth over $70 billion by 2021. Live video is incredibly popular with consumers, and people spend three times longer watching live video than they do watching pre-recorded video.

Video is also the most popular way for consumers to learn about new products.

When the live element is added, this makes video more engaging as the audience feels they’re a part of it and can influence the content, rather than just passively watching.

Live video is great for grabbing the attention of your social audience on Facebook or Instagram. These types of videos are so attractive to viewers because they tap into “FOMO” or fear of missing out. When you’re not sure if a live video is going to contain a tidbit of information that you can’t get anywhere else, or it will mean you’re the first to find out about some new and exciting news, you’re going to want to watch it.

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Source: https://marketinginsidergroup.com/marketing-strategy/2020-marketing-trends-you-need-to-know/

2019: The year that privacy got real for marketers

CCPA, cookie blocking and the rise of “surveillance capitalism.”

Europe’s GDPR took effect in May 2018, but 2019 was the year privacy got real for marketers in the U.S. There was a convergence of legal, technological and cultural factors that forced brands, publishers and tech companies to confront privacy head-on in ways they’d been trying to avoid for years.

CCPA comes into sharp focus

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) was passed in 2018 and came into sharp focus this year, as January 1, 2020 has approached. As we draw closer to that implementation deadline, the IAB, DAA and a host of software companies have introduced “compliance frameworks” and tools to help marketers and publishers address the requirements of the act.

However, there’s still considerable corporate foot dragging and uncertainty. That’s consistent with what happened with GDPR compliance. Indeed, many companies operating in Europe are still not fully compliant more than a year and a half later. With CCPA, there won’t be any enforcement actions before July 1, 2020, giving affected marketers some additional time to get in line.

For much of 2018 and early 2019, big tech companies and industry trade groups criticized and fought CCPA — trying to weaken it with unsuccessful amendments – because of anticipated compliance costs and fear that more limited access to data would harm revenues or disrupt the ads ecosystem. That very much remains to be seen.

The war on third-party cookies and ‘bad ads’

In September, Firefox launched Enhanced Tracking Protection, which included default third-party cookie blocking. Apple updated Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) to strength anti-tracking and cookie blocking capabilities and rules:

ITP now downgrades all cross-site request referrer headers to just the page’s origin. Previously, this was only done for cross-site requests to classified domains.
ITP will now block all third-party requests from seeing their cookies, regardless of the classification status of the third-party domain, unless the first-party website has already received user interaction.
Google Chrome, which controls 64% of the global browser market, also expanded third-party cookie blocking, claiming it was doing so in a smarter way (than Apple). And in July, Chrome rolled out ad filtering on a global basis. All ads that fail Better Ads Standards are now potentially blocked.

The rise of ‘surveillance capitalism’

This was also the year when the ominous term “surveillance capitalism” entered the digital lexicon and became mainstream, appearing in books and news articles, culminating in a December 21 NY Times editorial “Total Surveillance Is Not What America Signed Up For.”

China is the leading example of the dark side of digital technology, in the service of domestic surveillance. But in some ways, America isn’t that far behind. And mobile-location tracking is at the center of the debate over privacy and personalization in this country.

Technology companies, which went from being seen primarily as job creators, innovators and purveyors of social good, have been increasingly vilified. Facebook, in particular, stumbled badly in addressing privacy and data scandals it confronted over the past few years, captured in the Netflix documentary “The Great Hack.”

But most technology companies, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, have failed to educate consumers and the broader market about the value of their services and methodologies. As a result, often sensational journalistic pieces filled the void and helped fuel popular distrust.

Consumers are now highly concerned and even fatalistic about technology and privacy. It’s to the point where 90% of consumers said they would click “do not sell my personal information” under CCPA. We’ll see if that actually happens.

Conclusion: Privacy is your friend

A cultural and legal Rubicon of sorts has been crossed. Privacy will now be a central feature of the user experience going forward. Privacy-conscious consumers will reward companies that are more transparent and shun those that are opaque or manipulative. One could argue the failure of Facebook’s Portal smart display is a byproduct of a lack of trust in the company.

Ethics and trust will also be critical features of a brand’s long-term value. Indeed, there’s early evidence that privacy is becoming a competitive advantage. The way forward for marketers involves a wholehearted embrace of privacy and the creation of genuine value for consumers in exchange for their personal data. There really is no other alternative.

Source: https://marketingland.com/2019-the-year-that-privacy-got-real-for-marketers-273249