Consumers Need The Inside Track On Privacy

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lisa-joy-rosner“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Lisa Joy Rosner, chief marketing officer at Neustar.

The behavioral advertising train has left the station. It’s speeding along with customers’ data as its freight. Not all customers, however, want to go along for the ride.

As marketers, we know that personalized ads and content drive better brand campaigns and a better customer experience. We know that about half of consumers believe personalized ads are more engaging, educational, time-saving and memorable.

But that still leaves the other half who distrust the train. They don’t know who’s driving, where it’s going and what ultimately happens to the freight.

The only way to get 100% of consumers all aboard is to protect their cargo and give them the inside track on how you’re doing it.

Explain The Standard Fare

The ad tech industry supports the data collection standards created by the Digital Ad Alliance, Network Ad Initiative and other organizations. And we know support for those concepts makes a difference because nearly half of consumers report being less worried when they understand the personalization process. But we can move the train even farther down the track in several ways.

Consumers want to know what information is being collected, why, how it will be used and how it is being protected. We need to make it easier for them to find and understand the privacy principles and policies posted on our websites. Opt-outs need to be accessible and clear, too. A 50-page treatise won’t be understood by anyone but the lawyers.

Engineer With Privacy By Design

Policies are just one leg of the journey; we need internal processes, too. Privacy-by-Design (PbD) principles, developed in the 1990s and recommended by the FTC for all US businesses in 2012, offer a framework to guide internal functions and staff that work with personal data. These principles are developed and implemented proactively, to apply privacy and security policies from the outset, not after the fact. PbD principles can be used to define who can access data and for what reasons; to define when, where and how data will be encrypted; and even in building design, so sensitive information isn’t inadvertently heard or seen by someone that doesn’t have the need to know.

Hire A Special Conductor: A CPO

A chief privacy officer, or other executive, should drive the train, managing privacy and security issues. These execs are privacy educators and cheerleaders, making sure everyone is aware of policies and has the resources needed to make sound data protection and security decisions. CPOs don’t have to be engineers, but they do need to understand the organization’s data flow and security.

Invest Across Your Whole Network

We can balance privacy and personalization by baking transparency, greater consumer controls and PbD principles into practices and policies, starting at the ground level. By doing so, we can create a customer base more comfortable and open to the process, and in turn, gain a real competitive edge. By protecting consumers’ sensitive cargo and giving them the inside track, we can keep the behavioral advertising train chugging along.

Follow Lisa Joy Rosner (@lisajoyrosner), Neustar (@Neustar) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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