Consumers are starting to understand the value of their digital data, and it’s time for brands to step up and be the good guys of privacy and data rights.
The average citizen is becoming aware that their digital identity is used for targeted advertising. They are beginning to understand the value exchange between the companies collecting their data and the companies buying their data. They’re also realizing, after high-profile data breaches and data misuse like Cambridge Analytica, that they’re not in control of that process in the slightest.
It’s only a matter of time before people begin actively fighting for the rights to their own digital data. Brands can take control of their data relationship with customers and show that they care about their consumers’ privacy and rights. There are new tools for Brands to gather user-consented data from their customers and use it for targeting in a transparent and fairway.
The Insult of Inaccurate Data
Data is among the most valuable currencies in our contemporary economy. Nearly every citizen of the world produces data as they navigate their digital and physical lives, and all of those data points are tracked and aggregated. But this is when data quality gets sacrificed for scale; the harsh reality is that the accuracy of most data is remarkably poor. How many of us have been targeted by ads for products that are clearly off the mark, or that we have already bought?
In addition to inaccuracy, closed systems like Facebook make it impossible to optimize basic metrics like reach and frequency, or to follow a consumer’s journey across the entire landscape–creating irrelevant online experiences for consumers and wasting advertisers’ money.
New Data Privacy Legislation
Complying with new privacy regulations is going to get harder. Legislation is already being enforced in the European Union with GDPR. In the USA, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will go into effect in 2020. Other states have passed their own legislation, creating a patchwork of the regional legislature that makes compliance more difficult.
Brands will hold especially large liability risk when activating against third-party data in this new privacy-first environment.
Brand managers and marketers must become proactive. They are going to find that a majority of their media partners are going to struggle to remain compliant in the new data economy. They must ask their media partners critical questions like how are you opting in consumers and getting permissions? Is it simple and clear? Do consumers fully understand what they’re saying yes to? Do you have the direct-to-consumer relationships required to get accurate and compliant data? It’s time for open and fair data exchange between consumers and brands.
Brands can build trust by allowing the consumer to enter the value exchange. Letting consumers take control of their information and be fairly paid for it is the way of the future
A Mutually-Beneficial Solution for the New Data Economy
On the plus side, consumers’ awareness about how the Digital Advertising industry collects and uses data is forcing vendors to innovate.
One example of a customer-owned data approach is BIGtoken, built by my company SRAX (Nasdaq: SRAX). BIGtoken is a mobile app for people to own and earn from their data and is currently installed on 16+ million devices. Users are motivated to answer surveys, upload photos, check into locations, connect social channels, and even connect their bank and credit card accounts in exchange for tangible points. These points are redeemable for cash, gift cards, and charitable donations. Brands including Kraft (Nasdaq: KHC) and Sun-Maid are using BIGtoken today.
Other data-ownership approaches include Hu-manity, Wibson, uPort, and Datawallet. BIGtoken is working today; others are still just technology protocols. All promise to give consumers control of their data and a stake in their digital value.
Brands can turn the current privacy uncertainties to their advantage and become the good guys of the New Data Economy by re-establishing first-party relationships with their customers, gaining accuracy in their data, and providing transparent and fair ways for consumers to share in the gains.