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How are privacy laws limiting market research?

Privacy laws around the world have become stricter and stricter since 2018 when GDPR took effect in the EU. After California created their version of GDPR – the CCPA – other US states follow suit. And not just the Western world: from China to Chile and South Korea to South Africa – everybody seems to be on it. What the effects are for market research? That’s what we’re going to explore today.

Why create a brand community: 5 blogs about why you need to pursue this right now

First, let’s take a few steps back and explore brand communities. Creating a brand community allows you to gather zero-party data and increase engagement with your ideal customers. A welcoming trend for those worrying about the ramifications of stricter privacy laws and the sunsetting of the 3rd-party cookie. Today we start the second blog of our series.

Why do brands need to create communities in the first place?

Getting market research right is a very competitive advantage nowadays. But there’s a lot more going on than just that. Brands have been building communities on social media platforms that are now pushing them to pay up (for example, by buying ads) if they want to keep their engagement and visibility high enough.

All the while, privacy laws are getting stricter and fewer data can be shared by the likes of Google, Meta or your average 3rd-party data broker.

And to be honest, that 3rd-party or even 2nd- and 1st-party data may not be as reliable as you think anymore.

Meaning, everything is converging towards a scenario where you need to know more to be able to compete but must do so with less available data. On top of that, the communities you’ve built on social media platforms are not yours. And you’re finding out right now by literally paying a hefty price.

That’s why creating a community on your terms around your brand or product is a no-brainer. These people aren’t just your customers. They’re your ideal customers – your fans! The ones that spread the word about it in their inner circle and love to share their opinions on how to make it even better.

In this series, we’ll dive into the reasoning behind creating such a community. Because the chances are that you’re reading this because you see some of these trends too.

And we’re going to arm you with all the knowledge you need to get cracking with setting up that brand community of fans you need so badly.

Reason 2: Privacy laws are getting stricter worldwide

An even bigger problem is the amount of data you have to work with nowadays. You need serious tooling and experts to churn out the insights that matter. Depending on which states or countries around the world you operate in, you have to adhere to privacy laws on various levels that seem to get stricter every year.

Ever since the General Data Protection Regulation – or GDPR – took effect in the EU in 2018, other world regions followed suit in tightening data privacy regulations. We already had HIPAA in the US since 1996, but that’s related to health data.

Around the same time the GDPR took effect, the California Consumer Privacy Act or CCPA was proposed and took effect in 2020. Similar privacy laws in Virginia and Colorado will take effect in 2023. And if you look globally, you notice a trend that’s here to stay. From South Korea to South Africa, India to Israel and China to Chile, they’ve all passed different shades of GDPR-like data privacy laws in recent years.

3rd-party cookies become obsolete

The 3rd-party cookie, a vital tool in the ad and data-gathering industry, hasn’t survived this wave of privacy regulations. Why? Long story short, Google is currently phasing them out and blocking them starting this year in their Chrome browser.

It has to be said they weren’t exactly the first to do this. Safari and Firefox had already blocked them since the heady days of 2013. But Google Chrome has way more impact since it has the largest global browser market share. That was the case in 2013 and currently it’s as high as 65% in 2022 according to StatCounter

Google made this move because it understood that 3rd-party cookies were a lost cause in the face of these new privacy regulations. Another part of the decision is that Mountain View has the world’s most popular browser and analytics products in its portfolio.

Since Google Ads in Chrome aren’t 3rd but 1st-party cookies, you could say this has cemented their already solid position in the ad ecosystem even further, something not lost on the company’s admirers and critics.

So what can you do right now?

You’ll have to adjust to this new reality. If you followed the introduction of these laws like a law-abiding marketer or manager and made sure your company got everything in order, you should have seen this coming a mile away.

Becoming less reliant on a single data source is something you should also look into if you haven’t already. For example, Google is known for going its own way and is ruthless in adhering to its internal roadmaps. Lots of new products are introduced or older products upgraded, but if they don’t meet internal expectations, they’ll get axed quickly. And they can do this because they are global market leaders. If you find yourself cut off, you’ve only got yourself to blame for not thinking ahead and acting on time.

It’s the same with other platforms or markets that sell or handle 3rd-party data. You need to diversify and find sources of 1st-party or zero-party data. That means building a direct relationship with your customers.

Looking forward to the other blogs?

We’ve got you covered! We based these blogs on our latest white paper. Download the white paper below:

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