Data Privacy in the Digital Age

by | Apr 30, 2020 | Data Privacy

Significance of Data Privacy

Data privacy is at the top of users’ minds in 2018. With Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica breach still fresh in the headlines, increased privacy regulations in Europe, and the ever-growing number of apps asking for permission to gather data, consumers are becoming more sensitive.

After news broke that Cambridge Analytica had harvested info from up to 50 million Facebook accounts, enough people vowed to #deletefacebook that the company felt compelled to issue an apology ad. In reality, it is unknown how many Facebook users actually deleted their profiles, but a survey by The Atlantic found that nearly 60% distrusted the company with their data, and 82% had decided to self-censor information they shared on the platform.

Meanwhile, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect, requiring businesses to obtain explicit consent from users, not only to collect data, but for each and every purpose they plan to use the data for. This only applies to companies who operate in the EU or work with EU citizens, but the regulation is rooted in concerns that many Americans share. People are worried about who gets their data and why.

Using Location Data

Location data can be one of the stickiest points for consumers. According to a study by HERE Technologies, more than 75% of consumers feel “stressed, nervous or vulnerable” about sharing their location data, worrying about everything from burglaries and stalkers to governmental spying. That’s why it is particularly important to communicate with users on how the information will be used.

It is a common misconception that sharing less data means seeing fewer ads. In fact, consumers will be exposed to just as many advertisements, regardless of what advertisers know about them. The ads will simply be less targeted, less interesting, and less useful.

User-specific location data can be used to serve someone a special discount code as they walk by their favorite ice cream shop, or alert them of the brand new collection in the shoe store on the other side of the mall. Anonymized information on what demographics frequent a certain area at lunchtime can even be used to make sure the out-of-home ads displayed in that area match the target audience.

By collecting user data, advertisers can create more relevant and useful messaging for their target audience. However, the onus is on businesses to respect their users’ data, to ensure a relationship that adds value for all parties. StreetMetrics uses app data from users who have expressly given their permission to share it, and in return, helps vendors deliver more relevant ads to their clients’ target audience.

StreetMetrics is committed to helping transit media vendors put brands messaging in front of the right audience at the right time, and maximize their reach.  However, in a world where standing out is difficult, and data privacy is a huge concern, we’re committed to solutions that are both mutually beneficial to the end consumer and the advertiser by understanding engagement and preferences for offline transit advertising.

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