2021 CMAprivacy recap

May 27, 2021
Adtech Privacy

What’s in store for the future of marketing privacy

More than 120 marketing and privacy leaders from across Canada tuned in to CMAprivacy 2021, which featured a special keynote address from Ali Ehsassi, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

Here are the highlights.

Panel 1 - A Privacy Rethink: Adjusting to the Major Developments Transforming Adtech

In response to calls for more consumer control, major privacy initiatives have been re-shaping the digital advertising ecosystem.

Panelists discussed the phase-out of third-party cookies. “Third-party cookies helped stich together cross-site user behaviour giving even deeper understanding into consumer interest and intent,” said Shruti Koparkar, Head of Product Marketing at Quantcast. “With that gone, of course things will get challenging, but it’s an opportunity for re-invention. Newer and more creative solutions are being proposed, and it is an opportunity for all of us as an industry to say – are there better solutions that protect user privacy, choice and consent?”

The spectrum of alternative solutions is vast and includes authenticated solutions based on user logins, phone numbers, and emails (like UID 2.0 by Trade Desk), contextual advertising, and group-based or cohort-based, anonymized targeting (like Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) initiative).

Andrea Longman, Vice President, Account Management at ‎Environics Analytics, called out the opportunity for marketers to leverage privacy compliant third-party data, including data at the postal code level, to provide legitimate first-party re-targeting opportunities.

Many solutions will arise until we reach a point of consolidation. The reality is there’s so many different types of attribution models out there. They’re very complex - stitched together, tied to a number of different data sets and data systems - and unravelling them is no small task,” said Drew Weicker, Vice President, Sales, North America at Doubleverify. “But the work is being done, and many marketers are getting prepared for what is to become the new reality”

There’s no silver bullet, and marketers will have to test and evaluate different approaches based on their unique strategy and needs. “Make first-party data a big focus. Having that direct relationship with your customers is so important,” Shruti noted.. “Take a hard look at your tech stack and ask the hard questions abut how they plan to interoperate with each other and look for those with more integrated solutions.”

Panelists also discussed the impact of Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework on mobile advertisers, including Canada’s many small businesses that have relied on digital marketing to survive the pandemic.

“… over 60% of small businesses across 17 countries expect to increase their digital marketing and digital advertising tools post-pandemic,” said Brieanna Harburn, Product Marketing Manager at Facebook. “If personalized advertising for them is less effective, it impacts their ability to connect with new customers…and that is crucial for them to continue to grow.”

All panelists agreed there is a need for more consumer awareness and education to prevent a culture of opt-out by default. “It really is advertising that powers the free and open internet,” Shruti noted. “Changes like this, while they protect privacy and give users choice, must be accompanied by consumer education, as the ripple effect is they may not have access to those free apps and content they’re used to.”

CMA members can learn more about the impact of these developments by checking out the CMA’s online resource: Major Adtech Developments: What Marketers Need to Know.

Panel 2 - The Future of Marketing Privacy: Navigating the Changing Rules

With Bill C-11 under debate at the federal level, Canada is facing the most significant changes to its private sector privacy rules in more than 20 years.

Panelists called the bill a thoughtful and balanced piece of draft legislation that works for both business and consumers. “With amendments in a few key areas, the bill positions Canada as a leader in supporting both privacy and data innovation,” said Suzanne Morin, VP, Enterprise Conduct, Data Ethics & Chief Privacy Officer at Sun Life.

The bill is undergoing debate in the House of Commons, and needs to be sent to a parliamentary committee for study. A potential election is looming, and it is important for parliamentarians to find a solution to move it forward.

During a special keynote from Parliamentary Secretary Ali Ehsassi, audience members were assured that the bill remains a top priority for government. “We fully recognize and appreciate that it's imperative to move this bill forward. We have been part of many discussions to push the envelope and to ensure there is buy-in by other parties,” said Parliamentary Secretary Ehsassi. “It’s incumbent on us to continue to push because it would be a terrible thing if we didn’t take advantage of this opportunity.”

Panelists went on to discuss needed amendments to the bill from a marketing perspective – from reducing consumer “consent fatigue” by addressing an overreliance on express consent to adjusting the rules around de-identified information to permit responsible data analytics to inform marketing. The CMA’s Privacy and Data Committee has been providing feedback to government in these and other areas for several years.

Although we don’t know what form the final bill will take, panelists urged marketers to start thinking about the potential impacts, including what is likely to change and what will remain the same.

From a marketing perspective, the bill still maintains a focus on consent. Marketers will still need either implied or express consent for marketing activities (complying separately with CASL, of course).

However, other areas of the bill are completely new, and marketers will need to consider what the new rights and obligations might mean for their business – including the new right to disposal of personal information (at a consumer’s request), and the bill’s transparency requirements around the use of automated decision systems.

Given the highest potential financial penalties in the G7, panelists encouraged marketers to “sharpen their pencils” and work with their legal teams to prepare for the changes ahead. “Understand what personal information you collect and are using, get your data inventory in place, review your privacy policies, consent requirements and transparency frameworks.” said Jane Percival, Chief Privacy Officer & Associate General Counsel at BMO.

In addition to the federal bill, marketers should be familiar with changes to private sector privacy rules underway in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.

While Ontario has agreed to wait until the federal process plays out before legislating on sectors or activities that the federal law won’t cover, Quebec is moving full steam ahead with Bill 64 – a highly prescriptive new privacy bill that could be passed as early as this fall. British Columbia is also set to pick up again this summer on a consultation to reform its own private sector privacy law. In all cases, alignment between these laws will be critical to ensure clear and consistent rules for marketers and consumers across Canada.

For more details, you can access a full recording of this year’s CMAprivacy event here.

Keep in Touch and Stay informed

With privacy developments moving quickly, you can rely on the CMA to keep you up to date. Be sure to check out our adtech and privacy law reform webpages for the latest updates, and for information on privacy compliance and best practices, head to the CMA’s privacy protection webpage, or drop us a line.

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Fiona Wilson

Director, Government Relations Canadian Marketing Association




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