Digital MarketingData-Driven MarketingWhy this year’s Data Privacy Day matters

Why this year’s Data Privacy Day matters

This new decade marks a turning point where marketers can leverage regulations like GDPR and CCPA to help make consumers more active participants in the everyday data value exchange.

30-second summary:

  • 2020 brings more transparency and active participation than consumers had a month ago when it comes to their privacy.
  • This year will see consumers become more accustomed to making privacy choices and actively participating in data exchanges. Companies will be better at presenting these choices with the information consumers need to make educated data decisions.
  • Businesses should be more proactive in helping consumers understand the benefits of engaging in data privacy experiences.
  • Consumer participation will put pressure on brands and publishers to improve content, experiences, products and services, eventually leading to better consumer experiences across the board.

Every year, Data Privacy Day is on January 28th. It represents “the importance of respecting privacy, safeguarding data, and enabling trust,” and has helped build awareness for the many ongoing international efforts to realize a more responsible data-driven world. 2020 marks a turning-point for citizens in the U.S., but not only for the reasons you may think.

Change can be confusing

Two years ago, when the European Union rolled out the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), confusion and uncertainty resulted among the very EU citizens the law was created to protect. Social media sites were riddled with questions and comments from annoyed internet users who were experiencing a “tyranny of GDPR popups” when trying to access their preferred news, videos, and social sites which are paid for by advertising. Some even questioned if the repetition of so many privacy-update notices actually had the unintended effect of numbing people to the new choices available.

Research statistics could also be interpreted as dire. In a recent survey conducted among 287,000 consumers around the world, more than three-quarters of people said they don’t read consent notices in their entirety, and more than half said that after reading these notices, they still didn’t understand how their data is used.

And now, the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) is law as of January 1st, bringing similar measures to enhance privacy rights and consumer protection. Will we experience the same initial reaction on this continent? What will a lack of engagement mean for the future of data privacy legislation?

Data privacy ushers a move in the right direction

First, let’s acknowledge a few facts. While pop ups and privacy notices can be overwhelming, they are succeeding in pushing the industry to be more transparent. Companies covered under the CCPA are now required, among other things, to disclose the kinds of data they collect from California consumers and how they will use it clearly.

Although a California law, CCPA’s effects will likely be felt by many more Americans either directly or indirectly, providing them with greater transparency and choice. Moreover, industry collaboration to address challenges is at an all-time high—working groups at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI), Privacy for America, chambers of commerce, and elsewhere are actively driving the debate over how legal frameworks should evolve to better serve and safeguard data.

The industry is moving in the right direction. This year’s Data Privacy Day highlights the beginning of a period of productive exploration of privacy options. Naturally, with more choice comes more decisions, which will inevitably cause some friction, but early adopters who engage with new available features will begin to shape the evolution of the data privacy experience.

Over the next few years, two outcomes seem inevitable—people will become more accustomed to making decisions and actively participating in transactions, and companies will become better at dynamically presenting those choices as they learn how much and what type of information people need and when in order to critically evaluate their data decisions. This should ultimately help make those choices more transparent.

A new frontier for customer experience

That’s precisely why businesses would be wise to be more proactive in helping consumers understand the benefits of engaging with these new data privacy experiences now.

Marketers and UX designers would be well-served to start learning how to integrate data privacy into products and experiences, encouraging interaction with the choices available and optimizing based on feedback received.

Because consumers may potentially be paying for some content or services out of pocket, there will also be pressure on publishers and brands to redefine the value exchange and improve what they deliver to consumers. Such competition will eventually lead to better service and experiences overall.

New data privacy tools to strengthen trust and engagement

To get started, brands and publishers can start to take advantage of some of the many consent and preference management tools available today that enable businesses to comply with data protection, privacy laws and regulations — such as the ePrivacy Directive, GDPR, and CCPA — by capturing consumer preferences and maintaining proof of compliance.

Many of these solutions have the flexibility to allow organizations full control over the look and feel of the platform, even building a customized front-end UI.

These tools can not only help brands and publishers keep an audit trail, but they also help build first-party authentication strategies that positively connect brands and publishers to their own audiences. A powerful side effect of this investment is that by continuing to develop and seamlessly integrate data privacy into branded experiences, companies also position themselves to thrive in a cookie-less ecosystem.

A focus on data privacy, with transparent notice to and choice for the consumer is the new normal. Moving forward, brands and publishers will need flexible and modern solutions to reach the point where they can begin to test different methods of value exchange including dynamic subscription or payment models. Whether and what order will come out of any resulting chaos and confusion remains to be seen. Only time will tell.

Lisa Rapp is the Vice President of Data Ethics of LiveRamp, a software-as-a-service company that provides the identity platform for powering exceptional experiences. A key element of Rapp’s role is providing support and consult to LiveRamp’s more than 1,000 clients, including brands, agencies, technology vendors, data providers, and publishers. She specifically counsels on the ethical use of data as a strategic business essential and conducts hundreds of Data Protection Impact Assessments each year; performing regular privacy, security, and risk assessments. Rapp previously served as director of product management for identity resolution at Acxiom, working closely with LiveRamp following the company’s acquisition by Acxiom.

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