Something Digital 2021: Consumers and Their Privacy

Gianna Callioni
. 03 Nov 2021 . 3 min read

It would be impossible to go to a digital event and not talk about data. Data is what makes the world go round. It’s long come to be known as one of the most valuable things a business can have access to. But as tech giants take data and privacy concerns into their own hands (whether for the good of the people or their own wallets, that’s another discussion), we should be continuing to think about the consumer. After all, they’re who we do our jobs for.

As part of Something Digital the other week, I saw a conversation with Eloise Gillespie, Katherine Grace, Jarrod Price, and Chris Rozic. They spoke a lot about data and the big guys in the industry, and one of the key points they brought up was this:

How many consumers actually understand what cookies are and how the data is used, and thus what impact removing them will have on the personalisation they’ve come to expect?

“61% of millennials are happy to share data if it leads to a more personalised in-store or online shopping experience” (Deloitte Digital). Not only that, but it’s highly likely that in the near future personalisation will become the bare minimum of what we need to provide for consumers. But with the disappearance of cookies and tracking permissions, comes difficulties in providing that same level of personalisation.

The way we track online movements will change whether we like it or not. What we can do though, is help educate consumers about why their data is used and the benefits it can have for them. It’s important to take them along for the ride as part of the change, instead of making them feel like the change is happening to them.

Openly build a relationship with your audience

One of the best ways you can do this is by openly building a relationship with your audience and being upfront about the information you’d like to collect. Instead of trying to track each person’s movements and the exact pages they’ve looked at to see what they like (or don’t like), just ask them.

Include a well-worded privacy policy, without the jargon

Be part of the education process by providing clear explanations of what information is actually tracked, how it’s tracked, and how it’s stored. The biggest privacy concerns come from misinformation about what data is actually recorded when doing simple things like reading a webpage.

It’s also important to include how you’re going to use the data you collect from your audience and why it’ll benefit them to let you do it.

The only thing we’ll never be able to explain though is how Facebook (or Meta now I guess?) listens to our conversations. That’s a question for the Zuck that will likely never be answered.

Provide a way for audiences to change tracking permissions

It’s not enough to ask for tracking permissions once and then keep them the same forever. “88% of consumers do not believe that their consent for non-essential uses should be enduring” (Deloitte Digital). It helps you build trust with your audience by giving them continuous control over tracking permissions.

A little side note but a helpful pointer – if you’re using Google Analytics in any way, you must have a privacy policy on your website. If you don’t, you’re going against Google’s conditions and may face consequences.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about data, how you’re getting around the recent and upcoming tracking changes, and how your audience responds to any privacy notices you have on your site. Feel free to reach out on our socials or send us an email!

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