We can all agree that the rise of the internet has simplified interactions between brands and consumers.
What used to take hours or days to reach your target market can now be accomplished in minutes or seconds. It enables businesses to grow faster and reach new heights than ever before.
However, with instant access to information anytime of day or night comes an increasing reliance on technology. That is why many people are concerned about personal privacy and companies’ overall access to this information.
So, how do businesses that rely on digital marketing, online advertising, and campaign tracking data attach to general consumer data protection laws?
Continue reading this blog to learn more about how to strike a balance between digital marketing and consumer data privacy.
What Is Data Privacy In The Digital World?
In general, data privacy is a subset of data security that is concerned with the proper handling of data. It includes permissions, notification, and legal requirements to prevent data misuse and mishandling.
On the most primary level, data privacy is the right of consumers to control how third-party organizations use their personal information.
These are examples of personal data, though it may occasionally be expanded to a wide margin:
1. Personal Contact Information
Name, Address, Phone Number, Email Address.
2. Trackable Disclosure
Social Security Number, Birthdate, Driver’s Licence Number, IP Address.
3. Banking Details
Credit Card Numbers, Bank Account Numbers.
4. Usage Details
Website tracking, cookies, and previous visits.
In general, data privacy and security entail the development of policies and procedures that ensure:
1. Data collection that is legal and ethical.
2. Data collection and sharing with third parties.
3. Data and information handling regulations and restrictions.
Here are some examples of how anyone can abuse personal data:
1. Gathered information without the user’s permission.
2. Profitably sold to third parties.
3. User behavior tracking and monitoring.
Why is Data Privacy Important?
Data privacy is always important, regardless of jurisdiction. People want assurances from companies that the information they provide will be handled carefully. As a result, many organizations have implemented data protection practices demonstrating their commitment to storing and handling user-provided data with care.
Companies that engage in unethical customer data management practices or suffer data breaches due to a lack of security measures risk ruining their reputation and losing a lot of money.
Understanding The Significance of Data Privacy Laws
Data privacy laws have become more strict over the last decade.
Some parts of the world take data privacy more seriously than others, but the overall trend is toward tighter data control and regulations.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union is perhaps the most well-known and influential privacy law. The GDPR law was passed in May 2018 and triggered a wave of privacy laws that significantly changed how businesses interacts with customers on the internet.
This data management method restricts data collection and involves developing security measures to prevent breaches and leaks.
On the other hand, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is another legislation governing how websites collect specific data from visitors.
It explicitly informs consumers about how their personal data is utilized.
Can Digital Marketing and Data Privacy Coexist?
Of course, these new regulations restrict digital marketers’ ability to use data to create a personalized experience for shoppers and customers.
Your digital marketing team must communicate openly with customers, explaining when and why their data is collected. You must also correctly secure that data. Customers will share personal information with companies with trust. Your company will benefit.
Data collection and technological advances will continue to grow and evolve as privacy regulations. Data privacy must be respected, safeguarded, and promoted in digital marketing strategies, practices, and processes because it is unavoidable.
How To Safeguard Customer Data Privacy?
These simple steps can be taken by both large and small businesses to protect their customers’ personal information online:
1. Learn about the laws that govern you.
2. Allow the customer to opt-in or out of data collection.
3. Always practice transparency.
4. Improve your website’s security against data breaches.
5. Advocate for the protection of customer data privacy.
General Methods For Digital Marketers To Protect Consumer Data
Digital marketers must adapt to changing laws and user expectations. It involves making changes to how they run campaigns and collect data.
Here are 9 best practices for data privacy in digital marketing:
1. Understand The Personal Information You Handle and Collect Only The Information You Need
It is evident that the more information you have about your customers, the more likely you will reach your target audience and increase sales.
However, gathering too much information is becoming increasingly problematic. Any unnecessary personal information you’ve collected puts you at risk, especially if there’s a breach. Limiting collection to what is necessary reduces the possibility of loss or theft.
2. Appoint Someone To Be In Charge of Privacy Within The Marketing Team
3. Understand The Laws You’re Subject To
Your company most likely collects customer data to maximize reach through marketing channels such as phone calls, email, mobile ads, and traditional mail.
To protect consumers’ privacy, each channel is subject to privacy laws. Data Privacy laws differ depending on the jurisdiction, industry, and collection method. Privacy laws also govern the use, purchase, and sale of personal information.
4. Accept Permission And Be Transparent About Customers’ Data Utilization
Customers benefit from transparency. Customers will be willing to share their personal information if they know it will be used fairly and ethically by your company.
As stated in the Google case, the permission requirement emphasizes the importance of transparency in obtaining consumer approval.
The consumer must know how and on what subject you intend to market to them and who will do so, including any marketing affiliates or partners.
5. Always Allow Opting Out
Organizations can send marketing emails to customers about their products and services, but each marketing communication must include a straightforward means of opting out.
Whether you market by phone, email, or text message, always provide a way for customers to opt-out. Organizations should quickly assess whether they can process an opt-out across all systems that store personal data. Here are some guidelines to help businesses avoid data privacy violations:
1. Confirm that all digital marketing tools allow you to opt out.
2. Monitor and commit to legally required timelines.
3. When working with a third-party vendor, always test the subscription system.
4. Make it simple for customers to unsubscribe and provide them with list options.
6. Obtain Permission For Cookies
Cookies can store a wealth of data that could be used to identify an individual without their knowledge. As a result, they can be considered personal data and are subject to data privacy laws such as the GDPR and the e-Privacy Directive in certain circumstances.
To comply with the GDPR and the e-Privacy Directive’s cookie regulations, you must obtain website users’ consent (permission) before using any cookies other than strictly necessary cookies.
7. Train Your Employees
An organization’s marketing teams must be trained and aware of the issues to ensure privacy-compliant marketing practices are embedded in business operations.
Your employees must be aware of the importance of protecting consumer data and the most recent threats to avoid incorrectly sharing consumer information. Regular employee training and communication about best practices can cover consumer data privacy.
8. Restriction Of Personal Data Access
Not every digital marketing team member requires access to all the data your company handles. Limiting data access means you have fewer threats.
9. Keep Customer Information Safe
Implement appropriate security measures to protect personal information. It includes deciding who should access the data and adequately securing company databases, networks, and websites.
When storing or transmitting sensitive data, you should use encryption standards relevant to your business needs. Firewalls are also helpful in keeping unauthorized users out and protecting data privacy.
Future Of Digital Marketing and Privacy
Since digital advertising tactics have evolved, it is time to look at your audience and find ways to resonate with them more effectively rather than relying on analytics for all your marketing decisions. Here are a few of our forecasts.
1. More Choice Given To The Consumer
This means that brands must be prepared to provide numerous opt-in and opt-out points to ensure that users are comfortable with the entire data collection process.
2. Transparency Plays an Important Role
This means that marketers must be prepared to take people behind the scenes and clearly explain how certain types of information are used.
3. Less Selling Of Digital Data To Third-Parties
This means that marketers should expect to sell less digital data to third parties in the future.
4. Expanded Use Of AI and Behavioral Activities
The good news is that technology is evolving to meet demand. Other options for providing advertisers with similar data sets are on the way.
Many of the newer data-driven marketing tools on the market use specific versions of artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze customer behavior more efficiently.
Concerns about data privacy and regulations are impacting the way digital marketing works. As users become more aware of the risks of sharing their data, advanced tracking and cookies are discouraged. It requires implementing innovative solutions by digital marketers to remain effective while meeting changing expectations and regulatory standards.