How much is your online privacy worth?

Would you be more willing to share your data if you could be rewarded for it?

two women looking at multiple security cameras
Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

For so long now we’ve ignorantly or knowingly in some cases given away our data, online behaviour, preferences and interests for free. That simple act of getting rid of the annoying cookie banner on websites, and accepting the terms and conditions of software updates on our smartphones.

Data companies have then sold off this information to the highest bidder to advertisers keen to use this information to identify and target potential customers. And we all know how annoying it is when you’ve been browsing for a new pair of shoes that then haunt you and follow you around the internet.

If you’ve not seen an ad for Mahabis slippers, where have you been hiding and is there room for me too please? They clearly must sell a lot of them, but the frequency of their ads is off the charts and I’ve toyed with the idea of buying a pair just to make the ads stop!

I stumbled across Gener8 yesterday. Here is a company looking to stop people’s data from being exploited and sold for free and rather reward them for the data that users are willing to share.

As a marketer, I’ve used data for advertising purposes for years but always thought that there needed to be more balance between respecting privacy and making advertising more relevant.

The choice and control is now back in the hands of the user with Gener8; given the option to either keep your data private or be rewarded from it.

This comes in the form of a web browser and if you choose to share your data and interests, you ensure that the ads you see are based on your preferences and you can collect points that can be redeemed for rewards when your data is used. It’s a win win — download it and give it a try.

Whilst Gener8 are disrupting the industry when it comes to privacy and control, there are other positive changes happening too.

The recent Apple iOS 14.5 update has a key focus on privacy and data sharing policies, known as Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Framework (ATTF). This essentially puts the power back in the hands of users in providing them with a more transparent choice to protect their privacy and information.

You’ll have likely seen if you have an iPhone that when an app is downloaded from the app store, a pop-up will appear asking if you grant the app permission to track your activity across apps and websites owned by other companies.

Apple’s policy will prohibit certain data collection and sharing unless people opt in to tracking on iOS 14 devices via these prompts.

They claim that the change will effect every advertiser who runs ads across the Facebook network, especially those relating to activity around app downloads and website conversion tracking.

Facebook claim that small businesses will suffer as a result of the update as they will struggle to utilize budgets effectively and efficiently. But I’m not convinced by this claim and I think they’re more interested in preserving their revenues.

With 2.7 billion users, advertisers would be daft to walk away completely and this update places greater emphasis on collecting data within their own environment rather than relying on third party tracking.

For so long now within the advertising space, we’ve allowed Facebook to mark their own homework when it comes to performance; attributing any success they can from a post view look back window. So these changes are a step in the right direction for industry measurement uniformity.

And with all those users, it’s own proprietary data could be it’s key point of differentiation vs. other online providers so I don’t think it’s quite the victim of these Apple changes that it claims to be.

Whilst the true impact of these iOS changes remains to be seen, it’s likely that the suppliers of programmatic (third party data providers) will be the hardest hit because their data mining practices will be impacted. The quality of this data has always been questionable anyway.

These methodologies relied on the ‘cookie’ way of following specific users and then following up with high frequency ads again and again. Anyone who inadvertently clicked on an ad (clumsy thumbs) in error would be continuously followed despite having no interest at all. Must explain those damn slippers!

Programmatic advertising had started to focus on micro-targeting to smaller, niche audiences which wasn’t necessarily what brands wanted as it limited the reach of those who saw their adverts.

So moving forward there will need to be heavier reliance on first party data to aid with profiling and targeting, and then getting the brand in front of a broader audience in contextually relevant environments.

These changes, be it Apple’s new privacy framework or moving to a new browser like Gener8 have ultimately put the power and control back into the hands of users. This is a good thing, and ultimately marketers like myself and the rest of the advertising industry will need to adapt our approach and measurement frameworks accordingly.

So wherever you stand when it comes to privacy, these changes are a step in the right direction as it gives people a choice. If you’re willing to share your data, then you might as well get rewarded for it. Companies have been making money off you for years, so why not start taking it back. Download Gener8 today!

Husband, Father to 1 — lazy writer, marketing professional, recovering social media addict….trying to find more quiet time in this noisy world

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