Data Use: Finding the Balance Between Better Advertising and Consumer Privacy

Matt O’Grady, CEO

With data breaches grabbing the headlines almost daily, privacy and transparency are top of mind for everyone in the advertising industry. Recently, at Beet Retreat 2018, I tackled some of the big questions about privacy, including how to balance better advertising with consumer rights and respect.

It’s time to be proactive

At the foundation, marketers, data providers and publishers have a responsibility to ensure that any data they use is protected. Protected meaning, the right safeguards are in place to ensure the data doesn’t get into the wrong hands. Here at NCS, we’re proud of our a flawless track record in this area.

Data protection is always on our minds, and we’re proud to say we’ve never had a breach or any incident that disrupted the flow of consumer data from retailers. Although our retail partners are responsible for obtaining permission from consumers, any data we use is aggregated and anonymous, which protects privacy at every step.

Transparency is our responsibility

We also believe it’s critical to be fully transparent with consumers. They need to understand how their data is being used and how they can opt-out at any time.  

I believe transparency is the responsibility of every player in the industry, and it’s incumbent upon all of us to explain what can and cannot be done with the data.

To do that, the industry must:

  • Be transparent with consumers about how their data is being used
  • Provide a simple opt-in/opt-out for every potential data use case

Offer value in exchange for data

And yet, transparency is only one half of the equation. Value is the other half. That’s why it’s perhaps even more important to make clear to consumers how they benefit from sharing their data.

Value comes in a variety of packages, including personalization, convenience, and discounts.

But these offers only truly add value if they’re also relevant to the consumer. A coupon means nothing if it is good only on a product they’re not likely to buy. However, when advertising and offers are based on consumers’ real-world buying patterns and needs, relevancy increases and so does the consumer’s perception of the value of sharing their data.

That’s why it’s important for consumers to understand what’s in it for them. Only when they see how their data is being used to deliver relevant and useful benefits will we achieve the right balance between transparency and value.