Conversations about data transparency have been a hot topic among marketers. As advertisers increasingly rely on customer data to create campaigns, data transparency becomes more critical for building trust with customers. But what is data transparency, and why is it important?
Data Transparency — What’s the Big Deal?
The level of data transparency a business provides has a significant effect on its business relationships, whether that’s with customers, employees, or partnerships. 84% of senior executives at some of the world’s largest brands say they would consider leaving their current employers if they believed they were unethically utilizing user data.
Customers have become increasingly aware of advertisers’ data collection practices, and negative public sentiment has grown toward companies that are seen as misusing customer information. As a result, 86% of Americans have attempted to remove or decrease their online digital footprint.
The Accessibility of Data
Advertising agencies and platforms with transparent data practices are becoming the preferred choice of many businesses. Until 2017, many agencies acted autonomously when applying clients’ media spend without disclosing exactly how, where, when, and why they were buying specific ads. This was said to often lead to inefficiencies, mark-ups, spotty compliance, and even fraud.
In 2017, P&G Marketing Chief Marc Pritchard released a call to arms, urging the industry to move towards a better media chain. His statements give some insight into how essential data accessibility can be to a business:
“Better advertising and media transparency are closely related. Why? Because better advertising requires time and money, yet we’re all wasting way too much time and money on a media supply chain with poor standards adoption, too many players grading their own homework, too many hidden touches, and too many holes to allow criminals to rip us off. We have a media supply chain that is murky at best and fraudulent at worst. We need to clean it up, and invest the time and money we save into better advertising to drive growth.”
Since 2017, increased importance has been placed on the transparency and accessibility of customer data and ad spend reporting.
The Accuracy and Reliability of Data
When advertising platforms and businesses provide access to their data, marketers and customers can check that data’s accuracy and compare the effectiveness of a platform compared to its competitors. In the past, Facebook and Google have been found to provide inaccurate data to marketers, many of whom may choose to use third-party vendors with greater data accuracy instead.
Consumers Expect Transparency and Trustworthiness
By being transparent about their data collection practices and giving users access to consumer data collected from them, businesses can improve their relationship with the public. 79% of consumers say they are concerned about how companies use their data. Assuaging these concerns and allowing customers to see and choose what data is collected from them may give businesses a boost in customer trust and satisfaction.
Government Policies Regulate Data Collection
As public concern about data collection grows, many countries have begun to regulate the collection of customer data. Regulations such as the European Union’s GDPR include strict policies on data transparency and accountability.
If you want your online product or service to be available to users in the European Union, you have to comply with GDPR regulations. Due to the global nature of online platforms, almost all online businesses — whether they are based in Europe or not — now have to carefully follow GDPR guidelines.
GDPR’s Article 3, which covers the territorial scope of its regulation, states:
“2. This Regulation applies to the processing of personal data of data subjects who are in the Union by a controller or processor not established in the Union, where the processing activities are related to:
- the offering of goods or services, irrespective of whether a payment of the data subject is required, to such data subjects in the Union; or
- the monitoring of their behavior as far as their behavior takes place within the Union.”
How To Be Transparent About Data Usage
As transparency in advertising has become more important to the industry, general guidelines for building data transparency have emerged. Here are some steps you can take to improve your company’s data collection policies.
Decide What Data Will Be Collected and How It’ll Be Used
When deciding what data to collect, it’s important to first list the things you need it for. From there, you can decide which data is needed to fulfill those purposes and which is unnecessary. GDPR regulations, for example, specify that you should only collect and process the minimum amount of data strictly necessary for the purposes specified.
For data driven advertising, having an accurate and detailed profile of your customer can help in providing a personalized user experience. Thus, ensure that you collect data with customer consent, giving them control over what data is collected and how it will be used.
Explain How This Data Will Benefit Both the Consumers and the Company
When asking customers for consent to collect and process their data, it helps to show the client how that data collection will provide a tangible benefit to their experience. While customers are often wary of data collection, they also appreciate companies that personalize their experience and provide them with services and content tailored to their individual needs. Below are some statistics that show how important personalization is to customers.
When customers contact a company they have done business with before:
- 50% expect it will know their purchase history
- 45% expect it will know basic info such as their address, phone number, and email
- 29% expect it will know what they are looking for
When customers believe a company has done a good job personalizing interaction:
- 47% are more likely to do business with it
- 42% trust it more
- 29% feel the company is more innovative
Many customers are comfortable with sharing contact information if it helps them get a better experience:
- 37% are comfortable with sharing email to keep track of past purchases
- 37% are comfortable with sharing addresses to keep track of past purchases
- 36% are comfortable with sharing their phone number to keep track of past purchases
Present your data collection practices to your clients in a transparent manner, showing them how sharing data can benefit their experience. When shown how data collection may improve and streamline their online lives, many customers may willingly choose to opt-in.
Make Disclosures Apparent Across All Platforms
When creating your disclosures, ensure that they are shown to customers on all platforms where that data is collected. Doing so helps to keep your data collection transparent and compliant with regulations.
GDPR requires businesses to disclose a minimum of information when asking for consent to collect their data. These minimum disclosures, quoted from their guidelines, are as follows:
- Who your company or organization is (your contact details and those of your DPO, if any)
- Why your company or organization will be using their personal data (purposes)
- The categories of personal data concerned
- The legal justification for processing their data
- For how long the data will be kept
- Who else might receive it
- Whether their personal data will be transferred to a recipient outside the EU
- That they have a right to a copy of the data (right to access personal data) and other basic rights in the field of data protection (see the complete list of rights)
- Their right to lodge a complaint with a Data Protection Authority (DPA)
- Their right to withdraw consent at any time
- Where applicable, the existence of automated decision-making and the logic involved, including the consequences thereof
A full list of information for disclosures is also provided on the European Union website.
Follow the WFA’s Principles for Data Ethics in Advertising
The World Federation of Advertisers, whose board contains experts from 19 of the largest companies in the world (such as Mastercard, Mars, P&G, Unilever, and Visa), has established four principles in its guide to data ethics in advertising. They are as follows:
All collection and usage of consumer data should be done concerning the person behind the data. Companies should strive to use data to improve people’s lives by understanding the interests of all parties involved.
When using data in advertising, companies should avoid dividing groups and eliminate biases. Companies should acknowledge diversity and be inclusive toward all people. It is necessary for companies to constantly examine data sets, mindsets, and governance approaches to ensure inclusivity when collecting and processing data.
Open and transparent data practices should be a priority for companies, and these policies should be compliant with and accountable to global and local governance. The same standards should be applied by the company in every instance — across suppliers, publishers, and platforms.
Even though the world of online advertising is complex, especially with the introduction of artificial intelligence and automation, companies should always strive towards more honest and open data practices.
Data Transparency Will Drive Growth for Years to Come
Honest and transparent data driven advertising can help businesses build long-lasting relationships with their business partners, customers, and employees. Increased consumer trust and loyalty can help a brand thrive and create a foundation for years of further growth.
Partnering With a Transparent Programmatic Advertising Platform
When building data driven advertising campaigns, working with a platform that prioritizes transparent data analytics in advertising is incredibly important for analyzing advertising effectiveness. Instead of managing large amounts of customer data yourself (and worrying about regulatory compliance), you can partner with a platform that takes care of that for you.
AUDIENCEX’s unique blend of tech and talent gives agencies and brands the tools needed to reach large audiences using precise targeting on various channels, along with the expert teams needed to oversee and manage these campaigns effectively. With real-time analytics and optimization, our strategists monitor key performance indicators so you can have confidence that your marketing budget is being used well.
AUDIENCEX’s Programmatic Channels
Customers these days are omnichannel, and your marketing strategy should be too. With AUDIENCEX, you can reach your customers wherever they are, all from one platform.
Access to 24 enterprise-level DSPs from one trading desk allows you to run programmatic display ads wherever your clients may be. Platforms include Google Ads, The Trade Desk, YouTube, TikTok, MediaMath, and more.
Consumers are spending more time on mobile devices, and marketers can use this to run efficient and effective mobile advertising campaigns. Ads can be targeted based on location, site visit data, and customer history. Cross-device targeting allows you to serve ads across multiple mobile devices, funneling potential clients toward conversion.
Innovative Digital Programmatic Channels
Through programmatic audio, businesses can serve ads to customers via audio content, from podcasts to digital radio. Unlike traditional radio ads, you can choose your audience, targeting your ad to your specific buyer persona. AUDIENCEX provides a wide selection of audio inventory from all major publishers in one place. Unlike traditional radio campaigns, you can track the effectiveness of your ads through detailed and transparent analytics reports.
A variety of programmatic video solutions through AUDIENCEX’s service allow you to serve engaging digital video ads to increase brand awareness, with pre-roll, mid-roll, social, CTV placements, and more. A compelling video creative partnered with programmatic advertising can create effective full-funnel campaigns.
Search ads can help you reach clients ahead of your competition. When your target audience runs a search for a subject related to your service or product, you can be the first page they see, even if your competitors have the number one organic spot.
Digital billboards and other digital out-of-home media can help you reach consumers while they’re on the go, delivering marketing messages to a wider audience. Unlike traditional billboard advertising, digital out-of-home media can be targeted by location and time of day. This type of media also allows you to fluidly change messaging as necessary as the campaign progresses without significant costs.
Build Your Marketing Strategy with AUDIENCEX
Are you looking to build an effective and compliant omnichannel marketing campaign? See how AUDIENCEX’s transparent and effective programmatic advertising solutions can help you reach your full potential today.
If you’re ready, reach out and schedule a free consultation to talk one-on-one with a member of our team about your needs.