Privacy and personalization: 4 tips to make it right

Jul 6, 2016 | Personalized Marketing

Consumers want more personalized messages … but also increased data privacy. There’s a conflict of interest in the way that advertising currently works.

We’re told that consumers want personalization – indeed studies have shown that one in three consumers would prefer to see personalized products or services. However, the fundamental way in which advertising works, with recommendations based on likes and interests leaves personal privacy at risk.

personalized message

The new research from Gigya, a customer identity management provider, found that 96 percent of consumers are concerned about data privacy.

Yet, according to Venturebeat study, consumers are frustrated with non-relevant messages, causing them to unsubscribe from emails, stop visiting the companies’ websites, and even stop buying from (or even advocate against) the companies.

consumer privacy

The latest Capgemini research analysed over 220,000 conversations on social media to gauge customer sentiment on the themes of personalization and privacy for retailers. Collected data relating to 65 of the largest global retailers, collectively generating revenues of over a trillion dollar, showed the following worrying results:

– Consumers worldwide are strongly dubious of retailers’ privacy initiatives: 93 percent of all consumer sentiment on this subject was negative

– Security and invasion of privacy are key data issues: The report finds that the main factors contributing to negative sentiment are data security (76 percent) and intrusive behaviour by the retailer (51 percent)

– Striking the balance between privacy and personalization eludes most: Only 14 percent of retailers are perceived positively by consumers on both personalization and privacy initiatives

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So how can brands collect the valuable data while respecting consumer privacy?


Brands often are not aware that third parties are tagging their sites. Clearly, you need to gain full control and visibility over third-party tags. And you need to continuously monitor them to identify unusual behavior and non-compliance. Brands, however, can additionally protect themselves by restricting sale of their data to third parties. Use a marketing optimization solution, for example, that doesn’t require third-party data sales to activate it. (Marketing Land)

personalization & privacy the line.

The key thing to keep in mind is that consumers may not be happy about their personal data being used, but don’t see it as actively dangerous or overly invasive. However this perception is shifting. Every week there seems to be another high-profisecurity breach where customer data is compromised. From Ashley Madison, to eBay, to the TalkTalk breach, awareness of technology-related privacy issues is greater now than ever before. Uber has even bragged about its ‘God View’ which lets employees track specific users on individual rides. (The Drum)


It’s critical that marketers use technology that supports all ePrivacy regulations to stay on the right side of law. Our technology must respond to regulations in different jurisdictions, as well as to consumer privacy preferences. This, in turn, will protect brands as privacy concerns are clarified and new rules are developed. Everyone involved in data collection needs to consider its usage and how to engage consumers across devices without compromising personal privacy. Advertisers – ensure you choose your data, activation and retargeting partners carefully. You need to have a holistic view of all the partners you work with to understand how to be responsible.


‘Preference panels’ are playing an increasingly important part of the mobile app and website experience, as customers demand a more customisable experience from brands. Latest Forrester research suggests this will only increase, as the option gives a more transparent and trusting element to a business, as customers can choose at a granular level how much personalisation they are comfortable with. In some circumstances, it might make sense to make multiple versions of a digital experience, be it an app or a website, to cater for the different tolerance levels of your customers. Forrester suggests predictive analytics tools, stating that ‘predictive analytics can be used to predict individual creepiness ratings for each of your customers. Once you have scores, you can use them to automatically adjust the experience’.


It makes sense to determine whether customers are comfortable with the features of your digital experience by setting up controlled experiments to measure how frequently real customers are engaged. A/B testing is often the common denominator, however researchers warns of “individual customers may rate differently on the creepiness scale”; suggesting that finding out what the scales of personalization are before implementing something can be priceless.

test your privacy

The Knexus platform provides fully personalized experiences delivered into chosen digital touch points, ensuring high relevance, timely content that matches customer needs and exceeds expectations, resulting in maximized engagement ROI.

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