Personalization, Privacy & The Creep Index
Earlier this week, Google emailed thank-you cards out to advertisers. Each contained a "personalized" video that showed company names in a variety of BIG ways to say thanks. It was super-cool; even though you knew it was an automated template, you couldn't help but feel special. Google does big things; it is what makes Google, Google.
This got me thinking about personalization and privacy. This past Saturday, MediaPost's Search Insider Summit examined the topic of privacy. Personalization, in the Google thank you example, was warm and fuzzy. But, advertisers face a dilemma today: how much is too much. At what point will consumers feel invaded and violated? How do you make advertising more relevant without becoming creepy?
I think we need a movement to educate consumers. I understand why consumers are concerned about the collection of their personal information, but it seems there is a lack of understanding as to exactly how information is stored and used. I like to think of it as buckets, with pieces of information about each user falling into one or more bucket. Then, those buckets are used to make the product better, the advertising better and profits better. The more efficient the marketing efforts are to move a product, the lower the cost of the product can be to consumers.
Yesterday, the Obama administration called for a "privacy bill of rights" for online consumers come with a department to enforce a "code of conduct". The report calls for easy to understand privacy policies, as opposed to a "Do Not Track" function in web browsers initially proposed by the Federal Trade Commission.
I know this is a short post, but I am hoping to start a conversation among readers. Some may say that my angle is a much too simplified way to look at it, so please feel free to comment on your position at the end of this post.