Privacy: friend or foe?

Posted by Kate Jurras on Fri, Jul 13, 2012

norbella2 resized 600For the July blog series, we asked some of Boston's greatest thought leaders to speak on a particularly complicated (but relevant) subject: tracking, targeting, and privacy. Their responses were surprising, fascinating, and applicable - and we think you'll find this series quite interesting! This post is by Jessica Carmona and Stephanie Paquette, of Norbella. Jessica Carmona, Associate Media Director, NorBella. Lead strategist and planning supervisor sharing her knowledge to the team and clients, ensuring the NorBella Team keeps a fresh prospective when creating media plans and buys. Stephanie Paquette, Digital Media Supervisor, NorBella.  Stephanie is involved in all facets of the digital media planning, buying & strategy at NorBella. She is constantly staying active in the marketplace to keep up to date in the always changing digital landscape.

Digital Media continues to be the fastest growing and most engaging platform. Consumers are constantly sharing, researching, purchasing, posting, tweeting, the list goes on, but what consumers are not focusing on is how all of this data is being utilized. Privacy on the consumer side has been a hot button for the past couple of years in the digital media space. The industry overall has made some strides on educating consumers; however, the majority of consumers still do not understand how they are being tracked, where the information is stored and how marketers are using this data.

Where do you draw the line?

As media professionals we love the data and the amount of info we are able to gather on people, because it makes our campaigns perform better and more relevant to the user. On the flipside as a consumer the amount of data that is collected is frightening. In regards to drawing the line we believe best practices are to protect the individuals PII (personally identifiable information) by purchasing clusters of behaviors vs. being allowed to purchase a specific person (i.e. John Smith)

How do you use data for targeting?

Data enables us to eliminate wasted impressions on users who do not fit the criteria of the product offering. We use data based on online & offline behaviors to reach a mass audience within our client’s target. For example, using offline purchasing data and online behaviors for pet food manufacturers, we are able to target pet owners in specific stages of their dogs life, serving those users relevant messaging

What are the best practices?

The highest concern is always making sure users understand how and why they are being tracked. We ensure at a minimum that the AdChoices icon is visible on all digital creative units. Educating users on online tracking will create a better experience between brands and consumers, by enabling brands to interact with the most interested users.

In terms of using data best practices, we feel you should always source from multiple data provides. This would allow for more stable/accurate information.

What privacy concerns do marketers need to be aware of?

By not educating consumers on the ways in which they are targeted on and offline, brands may run the risk of consumer backlash once consumers figure out how they are being tracked. Another concern is if the industry does not regulate itself the FTC will step in and pass “Do Not Track” legislation, this would change the way digital advertising is utilized and purchased.