Data privacy is a hot topic, and for a very good reason. Consumers' perception of privacy is changing almost as fast as the way that technology is evolving. In a world where we stream music online using apps like Spotify and binge-watch our favorite shows on Netflix, sharing data and personal preferences with these online platforms seems almost second-nature. However, by sharing this information, are consumers aware of the constant erosion that is happening to their privacy? Are the trade-offs worth it?
Data is the New Currency for Marketers
Thanks to the hundreds of thousands of online platforms that collect personal data, marketers have more information than ever to fine-tune who they're targeting their messages to. Because of this, data has become known as the new currency for marketers. In exchange for free use of online platforms such as Facebook, Skype, and Pinterest, the consumer data that these platforms collect is what foots the bill for the internet service, hardware, and servers to keep these platforms in operation.
Online Platforms Have Not Always Been Straight-Forward With Their Policies Regarding Data Sharing
It's always been the consumers' choice whether or not to use an online platform like Facebook that collects users' data. However, given some of the recent data breaches (for example, Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal and the attempted data bug cover up from Google+), it's more important than ever that businesses make their data sharing practices completely transparent with consumers and receive their consent before collecting data.
In response to the concerns about consumer data privacy, Europe enacted a new privacy law in May of 2018 known as the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR that requires businesses to receive consumer consent to collect user data and share it. According to this new law, businesses must be completely transparent with how they will use the data before the consumer agrees to provide it. Given the nature of our global economy, the GDPR is making a signifiant impact on companies both in and out of Europe.
Some are wondering if the United States will form its own version of GDPR. Because many U.S. corporations conduct business in Europe or have the potential to have a European customer, these companies must already abide by the GDPR guidelines regarding consumer data. While it's unlikely that the U.S. government would create as rigid of a policy as GDPR, there is a lot of buzz from sitting government officials about how to further protect the data of U.S. citizens, so time will tell.
Best Practices for Collecting and Using Consumer Data
While most consumers would agree that sharing a bit of personal data makes their lives a little easier and more convenient (think of apps like Uber and GrubHub), they want to feel assured that their information is not going to fall into the hands of just anyone. They also don't want to start receiving spammy emails and eerily targeted ads from companies they didn't consent to sharing their information with.
Our team at New York Ave believes strongly in protecting the information that our existing and prospective clients share with us. If you want to convey to your customers that data protection is a priority for your business, we suggest implementing the following best practices to use consumer data without abusing it:
1. Always do right by the customer.
We're passionate about always doing the right thing for the customer, even if it's not the most advantageous decision for our business. When we collect information from our existing and prospective consumers, we're very transparent with this how data will be used and always receive their consent before collecting it. We're also committed to protecting our customers' data, which is why we have a secure website that includes the HTTPS encryption.
2. Help your customers do the right thing.
Our team helps our clients to build a successful online presence, and the foundation of an online presence is a secure website. Our wealth of experience in website development and design allows us to build intuitive, user-friendly, and secure websites for our clients. By creating HTTPS websites for our clients, they can feel assured that website interactions with their customers will be completed in a secure manor.
3. Leverage data without abusing it.
When a business has an online presence, it has access to a plethora of data sets. Assuming that this data is obtained with the consumer's consent, businesses can use this resource as a powerful marketing tool. At New York Ave, we walk our clients through out how extract this data and derive value from it so they can fine-tune their digital marketing efforts.
What steps is your business currently taking to protect consumer data? For more best practices about how to use consumer data without abusing it, please contact us at New York Ave.