Nicolas Rieul, VP Strategy EMEA at S4M, says it’s time for marketers to market themselves
Data, privacy and security issues were pivotal topics in mainstream discourse following Equifax, Deloitte, Yahoo, Ashley Madison headlines, just a few in the series of continued data breaches this year, with Uber being the most recent to be uncovered.
Brands, consumers and lawmakers all agree on one thing: there needs to be more transparency for everyone when it comes to data. The GDPR, DPB, and the EU-US Privacy Shield are all regulations aimed to shift our data protection mindset from simply compliance to proactive commitment. Ethical data treatment is and will become not only a requirement, but good business practice, like professional customer service. So, as adtech actors, our first priority should be to communicate the treatment of data to end-users and provide a deeper understanding of the value exchange.
The internet cannot be sustained with free-riders
Mobile devices are ubiquitous gold mines of data. Both advertisers and adtech vendors depend on this data, so why is there not more effort to educate consumers about it? There is a huge information gap and paradox. The majority of consumers are wary of giving away their data and of location tracking by brands. This perception is slow to shift but still changing. In a recent survey, 58% of gen Xers surveyed wish to receive personalised offers and discounts and this figure rises to 63% among millennials.
To execute hyper-personalised mobile advertising that delivers tailored content and services, adtech players need to collect user data. Device IDs for advertising, location data, and browser and app histories are all anonymous data not linked to personal identifiers. By communicating the types of data collected, advertisers are much better positioned to ask for user opt-in and permission.
Defend the data value exchange
Once advertisers have explained what types of data are being collected, the next and biggest challenge is to defend this value exchange. Mobile is the most personal channel of communication between advertisers and consumers. This means a promise from brands to deliver only relevant and personalised content and services in their campaigns.
Furthermore, all stakeholders in the ad industry, not just brands, need to communicate to consumers what is at stake if the data exchange is cut off. Consumers will feel more empowered to make the choice between paying for content and services online or accepting useful ads to maintain free access. The value in the data exchange should be equal and clearly communicated between all stakeholders and not a one-sided defence.
Communicate on data security and protection measures
Finally, the digital advertising industry needs to be transparent and communicate a commitment to ethical treatment and protection of data granted by consumers. The DPB that encompasses GDPR regulations has defined the new “right to be forgotten” regulation to empower consumers. Consumers will come to expect companies to be committed to ethical data treatment, just as they expect professional customer service. Advertisers and data processors need to communicate their commitment to maintaining data anonymity if the data was collected as such. When it comes to data breaches, companies will now have to report it to a relevant supervisory authority within 72 hours of becoming aware of it. Communicating to consumers about data protection and security is not just checking a box, but plain and simple good business practice.
As we head into 2018, closer to the GDPR deadline, data privacy and security should be approached with a mindset of commitment and not just compliance. Adtech players should go even further to provide assurances of no misuse of data. It’s time to market your marketing practices and not just the product! Consumers are expecting transparent and proactive communication about how their data will be treated and protected. Advertisers and adtech players are all responsible for communicating and explaining the mutual benefits of the data exchange with consumers.
Nicolas Rieul, is VP Strategy EMEA at S4M