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Data and Privacy – what does it mean to the modern marketer?

When the internet was non-existent – advertisers and marketers would commonly use other mediums, such as print, television, and outdoor media to showcase their ads to users. Fast forward and today marketers can now access data and analytics relating to user behaviour and insights with a simple click of a button. By gathering data from various information touchpoints, marketers can now study this information and run the right Ads directed to the user at the most favourable time within minutes. As companies get more serious about chalking out budgets for marketing, the greater the concerns around the privacy aspects of data. 

So… what is Data Privacy or Information Privacy

Data privacy or information privacy is a branch of data security concerned with the proper handling of data – consent, notice, and regulatory obligations.   To be clear, concerns around data privacy revolve around… 

  • How data is being collected and stored 
  • Whether this data is shared with third parties 
  • Regulatory restrictions such as GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, GLBA

Why is Data Privacy Important?   

Data is one of the most important assets a company has and this makes data collection, sharing, and its use an even more crucial subject. Leading companies – Google, Mozilla, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple have built empires based on the data economy. But the process – from the collection, to use, to analysis all require some level of trust and accountability. We see data scattered across multiple systems and can often be difficult to track. With most priority given to achieving the outcome of a digital Ad effort, data privacy often takes a back seat to more sought-after results such as revenue potential. This could result in mounting Privacy Fails, where brands are called out for losing adherence to privacy norms.   

Hence, before we reach this difficult situation, ensuring governance on how data is collected, stored, and used becomes a factor for brands to address.

Data Privacy and Regulation 

The more explicit the regulation, the more companies will be compelled to take data privacy seriously. The threat of fines combined with growing awareness and concern about personal privacy, and the possibility of losing trust will surely have an impact. 

For instance, the General Data-Protection Regulation (GDPR) includes provisions for:

  • Erasing all personal data at a user’s request, otherwise known as the ‘right to be forgotten.’
  • Notifying authorities of security breaches within 72 hours.
  • Requiring a ‘genuine and free’ consent from users for data collection and hard proof of this consent for future compliance audits.
  • Fines of €20 million or 4% of global revenue, whichever is higher  

Regulation over data is crucial for all those who have vested interests in data privacy. The bottom line to this stern requirement for privacy is the concern of a possible ‘leak out’ which occurs when third parties, commonly advertisers rake user information to their data management platform (DMP) and who then use this data for other purposes.  

While leading platforms like Google forbid DMPs from firing tags on publisher sites that use its Display Network, there is an exception if the DMP is connected to the demand-side platform (DSP) making the transaction.  As companies become dependent on data to gain an edge – they are more likely to take proactive protective privacy measures such as being ‘Compliant by Design,’ this gives them a direct advantage over others.  

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