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Apr 18, 2024

Consent and transparency need to be top data privacy concerns for marketers

Dayna Lang
Author Dayna Lang

With the internet becoming an increasingly dangerous place, data privacy, compliance, and transparency is more important than ever and needs to be top concern for every advertiser.

Data privacy is critical to successful marketing. Effective marketing requires the collection and analysis of user data across digital platforms. Customer data lets marketers impactfully speak to their audience – driving conversions or brand awareness for their clients without annoying their customers. Data can be used to compile lists of potential buyers, track customer behavior through the marketing funnel, and understand the effectiveness of campaigns to adapt them. 

That doesn’t mean that users are happy with their data being treated as a commodity. Understandably, users are wary of which data is collected and how it’s used. There are also increasing security risks and ongoing incident reports from companies across varying industries. 

Data collection isn’t without its hazards. With ransomware, hackers, and malicious individuals scouring the internet for nefarious opportunities, cybersecurity is crucial. And so is consent. 

User consent and personal privacy are paramount to ethical data collection. These concerns are exemplified by the decision to remove third-party cookies from Google Chrome in 2024 and Mozilla Firefox in 2023

There are several concerns of note when collecting customer data. First, know and understand the regulations in every location you operate. This will differ from country to country, and even state to state. For instance, California has stricter data collection laws than other states, and countries and territories (like Canada and the EU) have their own laws and regulations. 

Another consideration is your potential customer’s comfort and trust level. With data breaches making the news daily, concerned customers are wary and keen to protect their digital privacy. This makes strong cybersecurity an important selling point as it is a layer of protection for a company’s own sake. 

Making customers comfortable 

Data breaches erode trust and push away current and potential customers. This was once solely the burden of tech companies, but not anymore. Even the smallest of businesses now have an online presence and protecting customer and employee data needs to be a top priority.

Recent incidents underline the importance of strong security and making those priorities known to potential customers. 

Indigo

In February 2023, Indigo (Canada’s largest book retailer) suffered a major data breach impacting not only customers but current and former employees as well. This ransomware attack left Indigo without a website for more than a week. Additionally, employee data was compromised and held for ransom. The company was made liable for potential identity theft, credit card fraud, and more. 

Consent in a cookieless world

One of the many reasons third-party cookies are making a grand farewell is to protect user privacy. Users, even when aware of third-party cookies’ presence, cannot properly give informed consent for the collection and use of their data. Even when asked for permissions, users are left blind to the full scope of their personal information’s storage and use. 

As marketers search for solutions to replace third-party cookies, they must consider the importance of consent in their data collection and use. Is user data privacy prioritized and are users aware of what information is being stored? 

Consent puts the power of privacy in the user’s hands. By letting users determine which data they are willing to share, marketers ensure that in the event of a breach they have limited their liability. 

Crucial steps for data privacy protection 

Comply with regulations

By complying with the regulations of every jurisdiction you operate in, you are protecting your business from potential privacy issues. For example, by complying with The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the California Consumer Privacy Act

(CCPA), and other regulations brands make customers feel more comfortable using their product(s).

Perform regular audits 

Regularly perform security audits. It is always best to find weaknesses in your security before a potential hacker, so that these flaws can be effectively and immediately improved. 

Transparency with customers

Customers aren’t always aware of the extent of personal information they give you. Being open and upfront with them about which data you collect, can mitigate the ill will they feel should they discover their data has been accessed down the line.

Always gather data with consent 

Consent is critical to ethical collection and the golden standard for data privacy protection. User permission also limits marketers’ liability. 

Data collection is a pivotal part of a strong digital marketing strategy, but it comes with great responsibility. By prioritizing security and gathering information with consent, marketers can responsibly use data to inform their campaigns. Without taking the necessary steps to protect user privacy, marketers open themselves up to attacks, risking both their customer’s data and their own.

 

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