Six Strategies for Navigating Data Deprecation

By Harvey Goldhersz, Media Center of Excellence, IRI

New privacy laws, additional restrictions on operating systems and browsers, consumer adoption of new privacy tools, and practices introduced by Apple and Google will create new complexity in activating, optimizing and measuring marketing campaigns. The deprecation of data will, without question, be disruptive to marketers over the short term.

But these ongoing and impending changes also create a new urgency to build a stronger data ecosystem. As disruptions in the media data environment continue, marketers will need constant vigilance, testing, learning and adapting to respond effectively. Advertisers, retailers and publishers that prepare now for this new normal will be best positioned to maintain their advertising effectiveness and outperform the competition.

Players in the media ecosystem — including LiveRamp, Experian and others — are working now to increase opt-in solutions. Flexibility is critical because we know the landscape will continue to evolve, but here are six strategies IRI recommends implementing now to keep pace with the coming changes:

  1. Advocate for the consumer. Putting consumer privacy at the forefront of data-driven decisions keeps brands and marketers ahead of privacy legislation. Transparency and a commitment to building trust provides the base from which you can build deeper relationships with your consumers.
  2. Remain flexible during this time of transition. New products and methods will continue to emerge and evolve, causing fluctuations in data volume and accuracy. Maintaining flexibility will allow you to dynamically adapt to take advantage of new and improving tools and methods.
  3. Focus on interoperability with a modular approach to identity. Our industry will depend on the collaboration of advertisers, publishers, retailers, data companies and tech providers. Your ability to work with multiple partners will be a key success driver, whether ecosystem tools and methods further fragment or consolidate over time.
  4. Proactively collect and curate your first-party data to increase value. The true value of your first-party data is commensurate with its coverage, depth and recency. Advertisers with access to first-party data should take this opportunity to add to and update their profiles with accurate attributes and behaviors, especially sales, to build and sustain the value of their data assets.
  5. Sustain and continue to develop best-in-class aggregate data solutions. Unlike granular solutions such as multi-touch attribution and household-level lift, aggregate-level measurement (such as IRI Marketing Mix Modeling and IRI Market Lift) will not be affected by data deprecation. For marketers, aggregate-level media solutions may even become more valuable to overcome potential data blind spots. In addition, aggregate-level measurement can provide a stable point of comparison to understand the relative impact of data deprecation on these event-level solutions.
  6. Test, learn and benchmark the performance of audience and measurement solutions over time and versus historical results. New and evolving solutions will result in varying levels of performance over time. Google’s announcement in June that deprecation of cookies will be pushed back to 2023 provides a wider window of opportunity to test and learn about the performance of alternative solutions in advance. Testing and benchmarking now can help prepare you for future success.

IRI’s recent report Successfully Navigate the Data Deprecation Environment includes these insights and highlights seven potent opportunities for marketers in this changing and challenging media ecosystem. It also includes details on two eye-opening experiments that simulate the impact of data deprecation of cookies and mobile IDs — with surprising results.

The future may seem cloudy in this environment of data deprecation, but the sky is certainly not falling. IRI is actively helping clients and partners to prepare with measurement, audience and enriched first-party CRM solutions right now. Together, we can reinvent marketing and establish new best practices for a bright future of data-informed marketing that delivers real value to consumers.

Read IRI’s data deprecation report, and then reach out to your IRI contact or me at to learn more about how we can help your organization get ready for the next generation of marketing.

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