Jul 23, 2021

Data Privacy and why you need to own your customers’ data

It has gained widespread acceptance that Covid-19 was a catalyst for the massive growth in the digital economy that we’ve experienced for the past 18-months. With so many people working from home during and post-lockdowns, people and companies explored new technologies and ways of conducting business. With retail outlets temporarily closed, eCommerce websites was a huge driver for this growth. 

Nowadays as consumers increasingly adopt these emerging technologies at an exponential rate there are both opportunities but also responsibilities due to data safety concerns. 

With the ever increasing risk of cyber threats (including a large uptick in cybercrime during the COVID-19 pandemic), the media has paid special attention to data breaches and the reputational harm that follows.  

Companies have been forced to fast track internal guidelines around data protection, whilst governments around the globe have launched and updated legislation to help ensure the protection of consumer data.  

From a legal perspective, this is a complex topic, which is why we leave this side to our law specialist friends at Carlile Dowling. They know this topic inside-out and would be happy to discuss your needs. 

Owning and protecting customer data

What we’re interested in, from a marketing communications perspective, is our customers retaining and protecting their customer data in the event of a platform shut down or policy change that could drastically impact their business operations. 

When advertising to audiences online, we’ve traditionally relied on a wealth of information supplied to us from large platforms like Facebook and Google, that track online data. One of the simplest forms of tracking your online activity is through website cookies. The platforms have their own pixels that sit within ad campaigns eg. Facebook Pixel. 

With the right data we can create relevant and engaging advertising campaigns to the right people at the right time, and track the campaign’s success. We do this through analytics and readily available online data, during and post-campaign. Our clients demand this information to see if the money they spent was worthwhile and where improvements can be made. This always on, giant ecosystem has many moving parts and people connected to it. 

Third party marketing data protection responsibilities

The secure storage of the data we engage with mostly falls on third party partners such as Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon. They have created phenomenal businesses based on gathering and analysing mass amounts of information and data. With these corporations handling data protection, our obligations along with those of our clients have also been met. 

But what happens when a platform ceases to exist or changes a policy that disrupts your business practices? Major, multiple algorithm changes by Facebook and Google over the years have drastically affected businesses, sometimes wiping away multiple-six figure incomes a month. All because these changes meant the businesses could no longer effectively communicate with their audiences. 

The platforms own the data and can simply shut off your information supply that you’ve worked hard to develop; not to mention the money you’ve spent. What can you do when that happens? In short, nothing...unless you take control of your customer data before it’s too late.

Personal data is valuable and it needs protecting

With tech giants like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple able to change policies at the stroke of a key, which could result in your business losing access to its customer data on these platforms, this presents another issue for businesses: how to retain and protect that data. 

We’re not trying to best up on Facebook or Google. We're simply illustrating that any policy change by a third party that you rely on heavily can grossly affect your business and bottom line. 

That's why we always recommend that our clients drive prospects and customers to their owned media ie. their website. In doing so they will own the data and have the ability to advertise across multiple platforms, wherever they want. And nobody is going to cut off your income source. 

Become the ruler of your own destiny

It’s worth noting that if someone visits your website from Facebook, you can then advertise to them on LinkedIn, YouTube, TVNZ, the Google Display network, or any number of places you like. That’s because you’re not limited by the other platforms who otherwise would own the data. You can now rule your own destiny. 

Data protection and privacy are specialist areas of law. To ensure you are properly protected, we recommend you contact the highly experienced data protection, privacy and cybersecurity team at Carlile Dowling.

If you need a digital marketing partner to help protect your online advertising data and efforts, phone us on 0800 A SQUID or email [email protected].