The Modern Balancing Act: Personalisation vs Data Privacy

The Modern Balancing Act: Personalisation vs Data Privacy

19 May 2022 |

Data, Insights, Privacy

If you show the right message, to the right person at the right time, you will have a 99% success rate. As marketers, we tailor our messaging and ads around personalisation. Large-scale data collection, algorithms and predictive models allowed us to push personalisation to the next level -“hyper-personalisation”. A good example of this is Amazon’s product recommendation feature. Netflix and Spotify are also leveraging these to provide highly relevant, curated content to each user.


Hyper-personalisation, for better or for worse?


Despite the benefits, hyper-personalisation is constantly being challenged. From a data collection perspective, sharing devices and logins can make it hard for machine learning to accurately build a user profile. Netflix has tried discouraging this behaviour by adding an extra fee on profiles caught password sharing.


For users, there’s the topic of “privacy” and use of personal data. This concern has led to an increase in usage of ad blockers or privacy filters from the public. Instead of creating a unique experience and making people feel special, “hyper-personalisation” has become intrusive; or my favourite common thought, that your phone is listening in on you. To give the power back, big players like Google and Apple have made platform changes to give users the choice to self-regulate.


But Will Users Self-Regulate?


According to a research by Google and BCG, 2/3 of consumers want ads that are personalised to their interest yet 45% are uncomfortable sharing their data to create personalised ads. If we think about it, this creates a zero-sum game for both marketers and users alike. Both sides can still win by asking users, what information are they open on sharing. Postcode? Email address? Gender? Social Media Profile? Any data is good data for marketers to target.


The other question we need to ask is “Does the public know how to control how much data they share?”. Most people working in the industry are well-aware; but if you ask the public, only those who are digital savvy know about it. However, knowing about it does not make you act on it. For some, it can be too much effort to adjust each device or app to protect their data.  


What Can Brands Do?


For brands and marketers alike, hyper-personalisation can still be a marketing lever despite concerns in data privacy. The challenge is to make the users believe that it was customised only for them. We shift the focus on customer’s perception and look at what they consider as valuable. A direct communication with the customer as well as continuous feedback creates transparency on how their data are being used. Spotify Wrapped has done this perfectly as it showed an impressive display of consumer trust on the brand.


More and more data is generated faster than ever before. The data explosion has put the spotlight on privacy and security. Users, brands, and even current laws cannot keep up with the pace. As marketers, we will need to adapt as the industry finds a new balance. Reach out to your ADMATICian to discuss how to balance between the fine line of personalisation and privacy.