There are many new buzzwords right now as big companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook are making significant changes to how they track, identify, and allow business and marketing professionals to use their users’ information in their marketing efforts. As companies plan the rest of 2021 marketing strategies, we must understand what they all mean.
What is Personally Identifiable Information (PII)?
PII is any data that is used to identify someone. PII information includes name, address, email, telephone number, date of birth, passport number, fingerprint, driver’s license number, credit/debit card number, and Social Security number. But not all PII is the same; there is Sensitive and Nonsensitive information.
- Nonsensitive PII does not require encryption or would result in minimum harm and is easily found through public records, social media accounts, phone books, or gathered from public and corporate websites. This information can include age, gender, race, birthday, political affiliations, religion, or occupation information.
- Sensitive PII requires a company to encrypt and ensure that this data is safe from data breaches. Common examples of this data include information covered by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws, personally identifiable financial information (PIFI), passport or Social Security numbers, employee personnel records; tax information, including Social Security numbers and Employer Identification Numbers (EINs); password information; credit card or bank accounts, and school records.
Data is quickly becoming the hottest commodity and the most expensive investment for companies. It is important that how you collect consumer data and how you store your data is essential in any long-term marketing strategy.
What is a pixel?
The IAB defines a tracking pixel as a 1×1 pixel-sized transparent image that provides information about the client’s ad campaign or the activity on a specific website. There are several types of pixels used in marketing, and they all have different purposes.
- Tracking pixels allow advertisers and company owners to gather information such as what pages a consumer is looking at, what ads they click on, emails they engage with, etc.
- Retargeting pixels allow advertisers and company owners to reengage with potential customers based on their activities through targeted display banners, email offers, ringless voicemail, and direct mail.
- Conversion pixels allow advertisers and company owners to quantify if someone completes a desired action, such as making a phone call or coming to a business location or quantifying the company’s sales and the specific items a person ultimately purchased.
What is a cookie?
Cookies are some of the oldest tools that marketers have used to target their advertising efforts effectively. Cookies are a small text file that is attached to a person’s device and browsers that acts as a digital filing cabinet used to collect, organize, and store the user’s activities. The user’s historical files have allowed marketers to deliver customizable and targeted advertising based on previous internet activity, location data, and shopping habits.
Google’s alternative to cookies is their Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). FLoC is similar to what is known as “big box data,” where the individuals are in a bucket of individuals that are similar to the person the company is looking to show their advertisement to. This continuously increased the anonymity of the browser history for the user.
These new targeting capabilities have yet to be tested in mass, so their actual effectiveness and the users’ approval of the targeted ads placement quality remain unknown.
Pixels vs Cookies
Pixels are different than cookies as they are attached to the activity or a website rather than a user’s computer. Pixels do not hold users’ PII data like cookies but are used to tie the data and consumer behaviors together while cookies collect and aggregate PII data.
What are favicons?
Favicons are small icons used on web browsers to represent a website or a web page. These icons are image-based, have minimal text, are 16×16 pixels in size. Most favicons are of your brand logo or a smaller version of your current logo. They help reinforce your brand by showing a familiar icon throughout a user’s online experience. Several locations that favicons can be found are in the website tabs, search results, and the users saved or booked marked pages that help the user find your website quickly as icon logos are easy to distinguish over text that might not all be shown. As tech companies and federal and state legislations begin to focus their consumer privacy efforts, a company’s need to curate its database is now more critical than ever. And even with the technology rollout requiring consumers to opt-in, signing up for VPN, or increasing their ad blocking, 60% of consumers are still open to targeted advertising and companies using their data to provide them valuable offers.
Jayme Hill is Chief Operating Officer for Diamond Media Solutions.