Personalized ads are great at capturing the attention of your consumers — but you want to ensure you don’t overstep boundaries by losing your consumers’ trust over privacy concerns. 

These days, people are increasingly online, leaving digital footprints wherever they visit. Marketers and data-providing companies extract insights from data and help their businesses create tailored ads for their target audiences.

However, consumers are growing increasingly aware of what it means to be a digital citizen. With that comes new fears of surveillance and other privacy concerns. This heightened awareness explains Google’s plans to get rid of third-party cookies and Apple’s stricter privacy regulations — it’s all to meet consumer demands.

How Do You Know You’ve Crossed the Line?

There are some direct and indirect ways consumers will notify you that you have crossed the privacy line. Thanks to rules such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, businesses are held accountable for using consumer data appropriately, leaving European consumers feeling more protected with respect to their personal data. 

If you lose trust with your consumers, then you will likely see them switch over to competitors that offer the privacy they’re seeking. Consumers are also downloading ad-blocking software. So, your ads might not even be reaching your consumers. To make sure your company avoids these pitfalls, practice appropriate knowing.

What Is Appropriate Knowing?

A good way to practice appropriate knowing is to review how you’re using data to provide real value to your consumers. Like in any relationship, it should be consensual. Don’t collect data simply with the mindset of pulling consumers down the funnel. Instead, help guide them. Consumers want to control their data and purchasing decisions.

Everyone can relate to seeing an online ad for something they just talked about with a peer. So much so that it became a viral trend to say specific keywords to your phone and see if ads would later appear for that same product. 

Privacy concerns are valid and should be taken seriously. And privacy must exist in the digital world just as much as in the real world.

Marketers need to adopt a consumer-centric mindset. Tell your consumers that their data is being used to improve the consumer experience, not to reach your business goals. By enhancing the consumer experience, you’ll automatically drive business results. You don’t have to exploit your consumers — you can gather their data ethically.

How to Avoid Creeping Out Your Consumers

Here’s how you can offer better experiences for your consumers without violating their privacy:

  1. Adopt a data ethics mindset.

    Gartner defines data ethics as a “system of values and moral principles related to the responsible collection, use and sharing of data.” By adopting a data ethics mindset, your consumers will begin to trust you more. In turn, they’ll be more apt to share data with you, which will inevitably be a win-win for both your business and consumers.

  2. Value transparency.

    Being transparent with your consumers takes many forms, such as cookie consent banners that explain exactly how you will use cookies or easily understandable “terms and conditions” on your website. Ultimately, you want to educate your consumers. People are more willing to offer their personal data if they know what you will use it for.

    For example, 62% of consumers surveyed by Cisco were willing to give their purchase history in exchange for personalized products and services. This just shows that if you are open with your consumers and build trust with them, then they will follow your lead.

  3. Focus on first-party data.

    Most marketers are investing in first-party data to quell privacy concerns. This allows them to leverage consumer behavior data to better understand consumer preferences, especially as third-party cookies are phased out to protect privacy.

    Consumers don’t like when their digital footprints are followed so closely. And brands don’t need to know someone’s entire online journey across different channels to figure out why that person started engaging with the brand. Brands need to shift their time and attention to optimizing the consumer experience on the channels they own. What matters is that consumers are there and are interested in what you have to offer. So, it’s time to optimize the consumer experience by utilizing first-party data.

Privacy concerns will increase as consumers become more conscious about how their data is used. As a result, privacy regulations will become more widely adopted globally, and restrictions will increase.

As the digital world keeps evolving, so will consumer behavior and trends. Privacy isn’t going anywhere. Consumers don’t want to feel as though they’re being spied on. They want control. The real lesson here is to listen — really listen — to what consumers are saying and adhering to their preferences. That’s what creates an equal relationship between your organization and your consumers and shows consumers that you care.

At Breinify, we know the importance of using AI to meet your marketing goals. We help you grow your business using data, consumer insights, and recommendations while offering more actionable insights than any other marketing tool. You can also optimize your content and find great content ideas using Breinify. To get the most out of marketing AI, contact us here.