Data collection has become the Wild West of the digital world. Every time a customer does something on an application or website, the brand can capture that information, attribute it to that individual, and hold it for a variety of reasons. This includes storing the data to make decisions internally, or selling it to third-party advertisers so that they can target people more effectively.
Yes, data is important to make important insights, drive operational efficiencies, and better deliver on customer expectations — but, do we really need to be collecting all the data that we do? Not really.
As customers become more aware of the dangers of their personal information being out in the open, they want more control over how their information is sourced, handled, and stored — and rightly so.
To address these concerns, while still garnering important insights from customer behaviour, companies need to find creative ways to cleanse data of personal information, and focus on only pulling the data that’s relevant to them. They also need to make the collection process easier to explain, so that customers can understand how their data is being used with just a couple of sentences, rather than a long terms and conditions document.
We’ve all experienced this by now: you’re talking about something near your phone and then the next time you open Facebook or Instagram, there’s an ad related to the conversation you were having. Does that mean those applications have access to your device’s microphone? No, it turns out. However the things you look on different platforms can create an information trail – which in turn informs the ads you’re served as the data collected. But do these platforms (and many others) really they need that data? They don’t, really.
We are already seeing some important shifts in how corporations are thinking about this issue. Last year, for instance, Apple released an update that gave users the choice to block their “identifier for advertisers” (IDFA) data on an app-by-app level. With the launch of iOS 14, this meant that apps had to ask users for permission to collect and share their personal data. Unsurprisingly, 96% of users choose to not share their information.
While this may sound like a headache for marketers that are increasingly focused on delivering personalised experiences to their prospects, it’s also an opportunity for brands to rethink how and why they’re capturing and using data. Will marketers partner with first-party data providers that have access to their customer base? Or will researchers continue to uncover ways to deliver personalised solutions without capturing sensitive personal data? We think that’s more than possible.
As we move forward, leaders in this space will also have to consider the data regulations that have emerged over the last five years. Whereas the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulates data collection and storage for customers in the EU, North America has also made a step forward in this regard with the launch of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). These standards were designed to protect consumers and help set the parameters around future innovation in this space.
Looking ahead, we expect to see new methodologies that protect consumers while also facilitating brands to make informed decisions as they serve their end users.
To learn about how InTWO can help you foster and maintain data integrity, get in touch.