Why data transparency is key to building consumer trust

Credit: Elmer Cañas
Credit: Elmer Cañas

Advertisers must better explain our value.

For many people in advertising, conversations about privacy often dissolve into an alphabet soup of acronyms. But this loses sight of the core issue: building back consumer trust.

As tech giants limit access to consumer data and regulators ramp up their scrutiny around data privacy, advertisers have the perfect opportunity to be more transparent about how we use data — and give people back control and consent. Brands should ask consumers what they want while clearly stating how they’ll use any information they choose to provide. 

When we do that, we can finally demonstrate the many valuable things that advertising subsidizes.

The ad tech industry has built an ecosystem around targeting ads based on people’s fleeting online actions. We’ve all been subjected to irrelevant ads because we happened to click on something. What if we could have easily avoided those experiences? 

We need to create a system that clearly explains the value exchange of advertising while granting people control over their own experiences. We can use our messaging acumen to explain how advertising funds content that people love, but might not think about. We can better tell the story of how complex the Internet is to run, and explain how advertising finances everything from bus stop shelters to museums, music, movies and news.

Then, the narrative becomes about protecting and comforting consumers while providing them with the best possible experience.

Privacy means transparency

People often conflate privacy with transparency.

Many people are fine sharing their personal details with advertisers if they can trust and understand the value exchange and maintain control. To encourage them, we have to transparently explain what we will — and won’t — do with their data. We need to help them delete attributes they don’t want saved and correct the ones that aren’t quite right.

We also must ensure they know that their information is safe and being handled by a trusted partner. We can debate over whether UID 2.0, FloC or other bird-based monikers are the way to get there. But we need to make it simple and clear to consumers. 

Advertisers and publishers can lead the way in data privacy conversations across industries. Let’s evolve to a new era of more transparent value exchange.

Nishant Desai is Group Director, Technology & Operations at Xaxis

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