From Snowden to Sony Pictures and beyond, data security and privacy has become, not just part of the conversation, but one of the conversations for brands and marketers. Increasingly, consumers are looking for marketers to present them with more personalised experiences and, to do this, personal data collection is needed. According to Webtrends, when asked, half of respondents say brand messages that aren’t relevant to their interests or needs feel “intrusive” and “spammy, and 60% say they would open an email if the subject line was personalised.
Advertisers know that serving interest and location-specific ads to shoppers result in significant increases in brand awareness and purchase intent. Publishers know that serving relevant content means longer times spent on-site or in-app and an increased likelihood of taking action, but what’s the right balance between personalisation that adds relevancy but isn’t intrusive?
In its white paper "The Balancing Act: Getting Personalisation Right," Yahoo states, "content personalisation represents the fulcrum balancing the consumer 'need to know' with their 'want to know.'" 78% of surveyed consumers told Yahoo they want some degree of personalisation, with 62% preferring a mix of algorithmic and curated content.
While companies are vying for consumer attention with relevant advertising and content, governments and organisations are taking steps to make sure they aren’t going too far and consumer data is secure. Evidence of this is the media coverage of first-party data breaches (e.g.: credit card info) that lead to identity theft. This prompted companies to increase data security and government continues to ascertain how to protect consumer data privacy. Legislation concerning data privacy has also been created in response to the needs of particular industries or sections of the population. For example, the European Banking Authority requests that payment services should adopt formal security policies; conduct and regularly update security risk assessments; and strengthen customer identification, authentication and enrollment processes. On a broader scale, with legislation in the US, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) gives parents control of what information websites can collect from their kids and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) ensures patient confidentiality for all healthcare-related data.
The future of advertising is focused on how data can provide more personalised, relevant and valuable ad experiences for consumers. Consumer data is needed to achieve this, however the balance of how to personalise advertising without being too intrusive, and with consumer privacy protection in place, must be maintained.
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