Just a few weeks back, one of the leading social media platforms agreed to pay $150 million over the misuse of consumer-consented data. Since the GDPR took effect in May 2018, we’ve seen over 900 fines issued across the European Economic Area (EEA). If we carefully analyze the nature of the fines and how it could have been avoided, it broadly falls across two areas:
Get Data: Ensure that when you can accept consent in one click, you should enable refusal in one click as well; not once but session-based, with real-time control.
Use Data: Commit to protect it well, clarify the purpose of usage and be transparent about it; above all, never process sensitive information on health, religious belief, etc.
While data owners and processors are making significant investments towards technologies that help them get data, very little is being done by them today that mitigates risks while using it. Not just social media platforms, many brands have failed to uphold their consumers’ privacy while using them.
Getting data is just the start. A good start, that is. It is the usage that needs to be safe, secure, and transparent. It is important to note that most of the fines awarded by GDPR and FTC in the recent past are towards misusing the data and not while getting the data.
Platforms need consumer data for one and only purpose. Gain better insights so that they can nurture and grow their user base. And while doing so, grow the economic value of the relationship through offering personalized experiences.
How can we personalize content to our consumers without using their data? All things being equal, it is the personalization of the user experience that differentiates one platform from the other. How can we incentivize them to come to our platform again and again? Will they pay for our content? Should we look for sponsors (read advertisers) to manage this value exchange till we reach a critical mass? What can we offer our sponsors in return for their support? And so began the invisible contract between brands, platforms, and consumers in exchanging value with each other.
- Give me quality content for discounted prices or for free in return for using my data
- Give me quality reach for my brands in return for sponsoring this value exchange
- Give me quality yield per consumer in return to produce good content
This three-way relationship between brands, platforms and consumers is the most critical part to understand in digital marketing today. Personalization that upholds privacy compliance needs to recognize this three-way relationship, and constantly update the purpose of using the consumer data and be transparent about it.
This means, not just the platform, the brand that is exchanging value with the platform needs to jointly work together in managing consent and permissions. Systems of engagement need to re-architect their technologies to be able to do this. While data encryption is already becoming table stakes, advertising technologies will quickly need to ensure that the efforts towards personalization do not explicitly trace it back to the consumer during the engagement.
There are very many approaches towards the same, but the jury is still out on which one succeeds.
Note to readers: Storyboard18’s new Month In Focus initiative spotlights themes and topics that are pushing marketers to reshape and rethink how brands interact with today’s customers. Our theme for this month is Stacks & Strategies, a martech and adtech spotlight on how decision makers and marketers are advancing the adoption of new technologies and tech-driven strategies in the brand marketing ecosystem. From the defining trends and preparing for a cookiepocalypse to how progressive martech strategies help fast track business and brand growth. Catch this special on Storyboard18.