Commentary

Responsible Measurement: Protect Your Customers And Your Brand

The rapid expansion of digital media over the last 20 years has made it an exciting time for marketing measurement. The influx of data and advanced technologies enable marketers to uncover new insights about what’s working and what’s not like never before. But this new era also comes with great responsibility to protect the consumer’s sense of privacy.

It’s just not enough to simply adhere to the privacy laws of the land. Brands that consider consumer perception of their marketing and proactively demonstrate that they care about consumers — including their privacy — will gain the hearts and minds of customers and prospects alike. Marketers don’t want their brand to be the first that comes to mind when consumers think of “those companies that follow me around the Internet.”

Fortunately, there are several steps that marketers can take to demonstrate responsible measurement:

Provide opt-outs: Consumer data with Zip code, age, gender or household income (HHI) information can be a powerful marketing tool to optimize creative messaging and target the right audience. The consumer gets the benefit of receiving relevant advertising, and the marketer eliminates waste in his budget. But despite the mutual benefits of relevant advertising, all consumers should be given the choice to opt-out of sharing their data. Opt-out policies should be transparent and readily available for consumers.

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Measure marketing, not people:  Despite the growth of addressable media, it’s not necessary to look at users’ personally identifiable information (PII) to improve marketing effectiveness. The data you collect becomes more actionable when you look at media performance in a more aggregate view. Using a multidimensional measurement approach will enable granular and effective media optimization at the channel, tactic, and audience segment levels without using individual consumers’ identities.

Predictive segmentation instead of retargeting: Many companies are using retargeting to improve their online conversion rates. However, blind retargeting of all Web site visitors can leave a bad impression on consumers, who may feel as if they’re being persistently followed by a marketer’s ads even when they have no intention of converting. Marketers can avoid leaving this impression by using the right mix of audience segmentation data and modeling techniques to target users that who the highest propensity to convert, rather than broad retargeting of site visitors alone.

Implement internal guards: Companies should put internal controls in place to guard against the use of PII data for marketing purposes.  There are tools available to help companies flag any PII data before it is shared with any outside parties. And if you must use PII, be sure to implement strong security controls, including encryption — and, wherever possible, the use of salting techniques.

Being a good marketing citizen means creating assurance that you’re protecting customers’ and prospects’ privacy. That is the right kind of perception to create for a brand.

1 comment about "Responsible Measurement: Protect Your Customers And Your Brand".
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  1. Colin O'Malley from O'Malley Privacy, December 7, 2015 at 4:20 p.m.

    It's so important to look beyond legal compliance, especially when using contemporary adtech tools.  The law just lags too far behind and you are more likley to hear from clients, who have been spooked by stories in the NY Times and WSJ, well before stepping across clear legal lines.

    This is a good set of steps to take for companies that are being proactive and it applies beyond the set of companies that are engaging in ad targeting.  Data minimization, consumer choice over collection wherever possible, and responsible data stuardship.

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