Social Currency: Your data could pay your future phone bill!

by Freddy Aursø

Have you heard about the GDPR?

Currently implemented across Europe since May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR) has been one of the most disruptive mandates to digital data collection in recent history. The new privacy regulation aims to give citizens greater control of their data by requiring companies to prove lawful possession and to disclose any breaches.

Following several high-profile scandals involving the misuse of private information in 2018 (see Cambridge Analytica), this comes as a welcome change for those seeking greater assurances that their digital presence is securely protected. Another intended purpose of the GDPR is to prevent businesses from holding onto data for extended periods without using it. In effect, data usage now comes with an expiry date and non-compliance with any of the rules means hefty fines to the sum of 4% of global revenues or €20 million – whichever is higher.

Amid these new regulations, companies are scrambling to ensure they can continue doing business. For most, this simply requires updating their privacy policies, the effect of which may seem minimal at first. For others, they have been forced to relinquish some of their dependence on behavioural data collection by third-party cookies – particularly for targeting digital content [1].

Something worth the trouble

For most, the ability to freely capture data has become more difficult with stricter laws resulting in a new era where data has become a hot commodity for businesses. What could once be easily obtained now carries high value and organisations must now look to find inventive methods of encouraging consumers’ willingness to hand over personal information. The value of the information shared is accordingly determined by the incentive provided.

In an age of rapid digital transformation, while it may seem like an uphill battle, a survey of 6000 conducted by Mindshare found that more than half of UK customers would actually be willing to share their personal data in return for financial incentives, cash and other reward points [2]. The second most popular incentive for handing over data was in exchange for free products and services [3].

For example, this could mean your phone bill being paid, simply by opting in to have data collected by your service provider! The loyalty program approach has perhaps demonstrated the best approach to creating personalised experiences by reward repeat interactions and building brand advocacy. However, if the incentive isn’t attractive enough, customers are likely to be turned off or refuse to engage with the brand at all.

Context takes centre stage

Without the ability to easily target specific customer groups, social media has become an increasingly important media placement channel for larger advertisers. Strategies that focus on more organic audience content are expected to make up for the shortfall in paid audiences. Because this does not require explicit opt-in from customers, they can be easily marketed to as long as there is no collection of sensitive information.

Once again it is important to keep digital transformation in mind when planning for effective data collection. Contextual advertising will also come into greater play, the strategy here being that display ads will be based on content viewed rather than the customer audience e.g., a news article, website, news feed, mobile app screen or a video game rather than the consumer’s profile. Many sites are already making this option available to advertisers and we can expect such practices to magnify as GDPR comes into effect.

The GDPR isn’t all bad news. For businesses, it provides an opportunity to foster deeper relationships while customer and audiences will benefit from more personalised experiences. Marketing and innovation teams can also gain from collaboration with technology that assists in gathering and segment this data more efficient segmentation.





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