Preparing Pharma Marketers for the Impact of Prop 24

The recently passed California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act (CPRA or Prop 24) will curtail pharma marketers’ use of sensitive personal information, including health data, when it takes effect on January 1, 2023.

That may seem like plenty of time to prepare, but similar state laws will likely pop up around the country before then. That means more consumers will be able to opt-out of cross-contextual advertising and limit companies’ data use. Because of this, market leaders need to get ready now for what lies ahead.

Not Just CCPA 2.0

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) laid the groundwork for Prop 24, imposing severe penalties on businesses that mishandled sensitive personal information. Companies unable to comply with this statute are also facing public scrutiny, and even existential risks. For consumers, however, the new law puts more power in their hands because they can limit businesses’ use of their data on a broader scale.

Prop 24 also makes fundamental changes that could impact pharma marketers specifically. One significant change is that any sharing of personal information for cross-contextual advertising is now defined as a “sale” subject to potential opt-outs. Consumers will also have the right to specifically limit the use of their health data. This will complicate the way companies can collect and use data for marketing.

To prepare for these changes, pharma marketers should seek out vendors and partners that use ad targeting solutions based on user consent. Targeting based on indirect health data, such as correlations between demographic attributes and conditions, is also valuable. Finally, firms need both the technology and experience necessary to match advertisers’ targeting needs with publishers’ first-party information. In an opt-out era, pharma marketers who can advertise to consumers without relying on third-party data will have a distinct advantage.

The Cookie Crumbles

While cookies are the underlying technology that connects websites, Prop 24 will further push industry leaders to be more equitable with the information they use in marketing. Ad tech platforms will not go away, but they will evolve beyond the third-party cookie to create privacy-safe, opted-in advertising solutions that set the standard for the next generation of digital advertising.

Therefore, pharma marketers should strengthen relationships with forward-thinking platforms that connect brands with publishers’ first-party data at scale to deliver content. This information provides buyers and sellers with more opportunities to deliver targeted ads while honoring user privacy preferences.

By avoiding the tangled web of third-party data sharing, pharma brands with robust first-party customer datasets in their back pockets will have access to valuable assets and emerge stronger.

Advertisers can also leverage additional offline data enrichments such as prescribing behavior and practice location to get a better return on investment and increase the value of their media. Best of all, these businesses remain compliant and privacy-safe since they do not have to worry about how online consumer opt-outs affect campaign scale.

The continued availability of first-party cookies also allows publishers to retain valuable identity data. Pharma brands with these partnerships can then prioritize investing in audience-based advertising and be ready for regulatory changes.

What the Future Holds

Even before Prop 24 goes into effect, other states will likely use it as a model for privacy statutes that protect their residents. The burden, then, is on publishers and data providers to ensure compliant data collection.

Pharma marketers across the country must employ a similar mindset by preparing their in-house teams for this change and auditing their vendors’ data pipelines to avoid unpleasant surprises from future laws down the road. By accessing inventory and audience data through tools designed with privacy in mind, pharma marketers will mitigate the effects of this regulation and find successful workarounds for data use limitations.

Today, industry leaders can work with efficient programmatic platforms that manage dozens of relationships on a single interface. Brands that connect audience and inventory information to identity and consent-based data directly will have ample access to these tools in a cookieless, privacy-centric world.

The compliance landscape is getting more complicated as new laws make it harder for pharma marketers to access health data. But smart advertisers who prepare for regulations like Prop 24 by finding new ways to target patients will discover that these statutes are just what the doctor ordered.

  • Chris Paquette

    Chris Paquette serves as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of DeepIntent. Chris draws upon his multifaceted technical, scientific, and entrepreneurial expertise to provide healthcare marketers with cutting-edge marketing technology solutions. He is also a part of the Forbes Technology Council, an invitation-only community for world-class CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, and technology executives.

  • Yashina Burns

    Yashina Burns is the Director of Data Privacy and Legal Affairs at DeepIntent, the leading healthcare marketing technology company purpose-built to influence positive health outcomes. Yashina leads all corporate legal affairs, including global data privacy, security compliance efforts, and legal counsel for DeepIntent’s leadership team. Previously, Burns represented technology startups in corporate and transactional matters.


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