How product managers should think about educating users about data collection
Consumers are more concerned about data privacy than ever. Through data breaches, legislative changes and technological developments, consumers have learned the importance of protecting their data and they lack patience for businesses that do not respect their security. Privacy has become even more important since the onset of the pandemic, which has shifted content consumption to even more digital channels where consumer data can be collected and leveraged for advertising revenue.
As consumers focus more and more on privacy, it’s time for brands to highlight how and how they protect their customers’ information. This trend is not going anywhere, as big companies like Apple and Google tout the latest data protection measures, giving customers the ability to deny apps the ability to track their location and other personal information.
According to a McKinsey survey, three in 10 American internet users use ad blocking software to prevent businesses from tracking their online behavior. Additionally, 87% of survey participants said they would not do business with an organization if they were concerned about the company’s security practices, and 71% said they would stop working altogether. with a company if they learned that the company had transferred their data without their express authorization.
The numbers speak for themselves: Data privacy is no longer optional, and if companies treat customer privacy lightly, they will lose it. Instead, by prioritizing safety, organizations can build trust in the brand and improve relationships with esteemed consumers, a business proposition that is good for everyone.
Consumers are becoming hyper aware of how they are being tracked
Data privacy has taken on a more prominent place around the world in the private and public sectors. In response to consumer demand and recognizing the threat of breaches to government institutions, lawmakers have put in place regulations to increase digital security. From the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, the focus on privacy is increasingly important.
Along with data breaches, regulations have drawn consumers’ attention to the problem even more. This has created a growing segment of the population who are hyper aware of being tracked and paying more and more attention to what businesses do with their data and how reliable a business is to hold sensitive information. .
So far, many companies have yet to gain the trust of their customers. The same McKinsey survey showed the highest consumer confidence in healthcare and financial services companies, with just 44% saying they trust these companies for data management. Other sectors fare much worse: only 10% of consumers said they trust media companies and similar percentages were present when asked about consumer packaged goods and tech industries .
While trust is low, the demands are high and increasingly important. Around 68% of internet users said it was very important that the content of their emails was kept strictly private. For example, while more than half said the same about their location data, the content of their downloaded files, the identity of their email correspondents, and their use of chat rooms and online groups.
As businesses struggle to meet consumer demands for privacy, an opportunity presents itself for organizations to prioritize data privacy and overall online security.
The rise of data consent
Not so long ago, marketers and product designers focused almost exclusively on increasing the dimensions and types of data that can be applied to target new customers, guide the customer journey, and measure success. . Now, as consumers demand that their privacy be considered first and foremost, businesses will need to shift gears to not only keep up, but also connect with their customers to build confidence in the way they protect and use data. .
This can make our job more difficult, but it also presents an opportunity for businesses to connect with consumers in a way that more naturally aligns with the depth of the relationship they have with a particular customer. Brands that realign their privacy goals at every stage of the marketing funnel will be more successful in finding consumers who are willing to enjoy better user experiences.
Designing for privacy and gradually applying data is already driving changes in the advertising ecosystem. As ubiquitous tracking and traditional forms of identity such as cookies fade away, consent will absolutely form the basis for cross-channel targeting and measurement in the future. There is no perfectly mapped path, but it will definitely lead to a more creative future of advertising to reach consumers and gain their trust. Businesses will face these changes with conviction, forward thinking and concerned with customer privacy in a world in which customers work, shop and communicate online every day.
Put consent in the hands of the consumer
While data privacy is of the utmost importance, that same data remains a key driver of growth, and brands and organizations that effectively use data to inform business decisions will become industry leaders.
This is where the privacy paradox lies: Consumers engage more deeply with content that reflects their interests and behaviors, but are uncomfortable with the privacy implications of sharing their data. To solve this problem, companies must seek trust, focusing on consent and prioritizing transparency, context and empathy.
Organizations should bring transparency to operations through options for consumers, such as opt-in consent or appropriate notice and opt-outs to comply with privacy regulations. Organizations need to be clear to consumers about data collection practices, which will increase brand confidence and foster positive relationships with target audiences.
Equally important is context: Businesses need to explain to customers what data they want to collect, how that data will be protected, and how providing that information will help improve the customer experience. Customers want a secure, positive and personalized experience, and by providing context for consumers, brands can be pleasantly surprised by the number of consumers who choose to accept rather than decline data collection.
Empathy is also essential. No one wants their personal data to be used in a way that makes them feel violated or out of control, and certainly no one wants their data to be leaked to hackers who can cause serious damage. Organizations can help gain the trust of consumers by approaching data privacy with empathy, truly ensuring that they serve as a good steward of data shared by customers by putting strict security measures in place.
Empathy takes more than hype, and with something as important as data privacy, consumers want to see businesses take action to protect their information every day. It is essential to leverage privacy-preserving technologies such as secure multi-party compute and clean rooms that enable organizations to achieve their personalization and measurement goals without directly sharing customer data.
It is also important to focus on programs to help comply with consumer privacy regulations in order to collect, manage and store personal data in a responsible and secure manner. With these measures in place, along with an emphasis on respecting customer data and recognizing that privacy is a priority for consumers, businesses can build trust in their brand and foster positive relationships with consumers. customers who make business possible.