The Battle for ATTENTION: Will AI Save The Advertising Industry in a Privacy-Driven Economy?

Advertising Week New York: 2024 is the Year of Trust, Privacy & AI

By SCUBA Insights

The world of digital advertising is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by the convergence of factors like AI technologies, evolving privacy dynamics, and rising consumer expectations. 


This was the core of a discussion at Advertising Week New York, during the session “Data, Trust & AI: What’s Powering the Future of Marketing. Panelists, including Tanneasha Gordon, Leader of Data and Digital Trust at Deloitte, and Jason Hartley, Head of Search, Social, and Shopping at PMG, shared valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. 


In this thought leadership blog, we will explore key takeaways from their discussion, emphasizing the critical areas of privacy, AI, first-party data, and consumer expectations.


  1. 1. Privacy Concerns Driving Change

Moderator Barbara Piermont, Director of Ads Privacy at Google, set the stage by highlighting the pivotal role of privacy concerns in reshaping the digital advertising landscape. Privacy is now at the forefront, influencing various aspects of the industry, including technology, ethics, and consumer trust.


Key Takeaway: Privacy is no longer an afterthought; it's a driving force behind the changes in digital advertising.


  1. 2. Adapting to Privacy and AI Changes

The interplay between privacy regulations, evolving consumer expectations, and platform-level policy changes presents a unique challenge for advertisers. Tanneasha Gordon highlighted the significance of recognizing this confluence and adapting to create a more trust-based and transparent digital advertising ecosystem. “You have consumers with higher expectations than ever before of brands,” Gordon said. 


Key Takeaway: Advertisers must reimagine digital advertising with trust and transparency at its core while leveraging AI and privacy-enhancing technologies.


  1. 3. Balancing Consumer Trust and AI

As Jason Hartley pointed out, prioritizing consumer trust should guide every decision in digital advertising. Building trust is the new currency for customer loyalty and brand relevance. Advertisers should focus on serving the needs of their customers by providing seamless and valuable experiences while safeguarding their data. “Trust is going to be the new currency by which you transact,” Gordon said.


Key Takeaway: Trust is crucial for long-term success, and advertisers must prioritize it in every aspect of their work.


  1. 4. Leveraging AI with First-Party Data

AI holds great potential to enhance the use of first-party data while respecting user privacy. Jason Hartley shared insights into how businesses can leverage AI to categorize data, improve predictive modeling, and make data-driven decisions, all while maintaining strong privacy safeguards. “If we're already establishing a culture of stewardship, of trust, as technology evolves, we can then count on consumers and the public feeling safer to use those technologies," Gordon also added.


Key Takeaway: AI can amplify the value of first-party data while maintaining robust privacy protections.


  1. 5. Ensuring Ethical AI and Data Stewardship

Tanneasha Gordon emphasized the importance of considering ethical dilemmas that AI may introduce, such as inadvertent discrimination and profiling. It is essential to use diverse and representative data to train AI models responsibly and ethically.


Key Takeaway: Responsible AI usage and strong data stewardship practices are essential for building trust and maintaining ethical data practices.


  1. 6. Preparing for Measurement Challenges

With the impending deprecation of third-party cookies, advertisers need to focus on innovative ways to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. By considering alternative technologies and privacy-enhancing tools, advertisers can adapt to minimize the impact of signal loss. 


"The holiday season is sort of the last bite of the cookie. So what are we gonna get out of that? You know, let's learn from it so that we're prepared for the next holiday so that we're setting ourselves up for the 2024 roadmap," Hartley noted.


Key Takeaway: Proactive planning for measurement challenges will ensure advertisers can adapt to the evolving digital advertising landscape.


  1. 7. Shifting to a Culture of Privacy

Adopting a privacy-first mindset across the organization is critical. Jason Hartley emphasized the need for organizational change, encouraging everyone to be privacy professionals. This cultural shift allows teams to work collaboratively and creatively to address privacy challenges. "Let's try to provide for the customer what they need in all the ways that we can, including storing and protecting their data, and then you build off there," Hartley said.


Key Takeaway: Privacy should be ingrained in the organization's culture, and everyone should be a part of the solution.


  1. 8. Looking Forward to the Year of Trust

The conversation about privacy and AI is evolving rapidly, setting the stage for 2024 as the "year of trust." Trust between consumers, brands, agencies, and platforms will be the cornerstone of the new era of digital advertising. “Trust is going to be the new currency by which you transact,” Gordon said.


Key Takeaway: The industry's collective efforts to build trust will usher in a more transparent and trustworthy digital advertising environment.


As digital advertising evolves, privacy, AI, first-party data, and consumer trust have become the linchpins for success. Advertisers must embrace these changes, prioritize transparency, and be proactive in adopting innovative technologies while maintaining ethical and privacy-conscious practices. The shift toward a culture of privacy and trust will pave the way for a new era of digital advertising where brands and consumers coexist harmoniously.

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