How to make location-based advertising less “creepy”

6 July, 2018

Over the past few years, issues surrounding data collection have come up again and again in the news. Data collection is nothing new, but with high-profile data breaches happening at major companies and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) being implemented in the EU, people are starting to pay more attention.

Consumers want to know what control they actually have over their own information and how it’s being collected, stored, and used by the companies whose products and services they enjoy. In fact, 40 percent of companies acknowledge their current approach to gathering information is “off-putting” to customers, creating pressure for them to become more transparent about their practices.

Increasing transparency and cutting back on creepiness

Many sites and apps have settings that allow them to access a customer’s location. For instance, Google automatically taps into a mobile user’s whereabouts when they type “near me“ or ”nearby” into the search bar, as long as they have location settings enabled. Some stores can even track you down the aisles using the pings and signals from your smartphone, allowing them to detect exactly where you spend your time.

Imagine shopping at a grocery store and getting a notification on your phone about a coupon for rye bread—while you’re browsing in the bakery section. There can be a fine line between convenience and creepiness. And as brands grow more dependent on personalization and data usage, customers are left feeling uneasy about their methods.

We previously discussed how to enhance location-based advertising with blockchain technology—here are some other ways to mitigate the “off-putting” factor for consumers:

  1. Making it easy to find out exactly what data has been collected on an individual. This information should be available to customers and put in terms that are easily understood, in order to create more trust and willingness to participate in the marketing tactics that are being implemented.
  2. Explaining the reasons why information is being collected, so that customers will feel more comfortable with the brand’s methods overall. Michael Jones, general manager of retail merchandising network Anatwine, exhorts companies to “put yourself in your consumer’s shoes and ask if you are driving some kind of value by asking them to give up more of their privacy.”
  3. Allowing customers to make a choice about what information is collected and how—making them more willing to voluntarily share data. Using polls and surveys to gather feedback, companies can find the best method for collecting the data they need without compromising trust. Many customers will share their location data, for instance, and feel good about it knowing that they had a choice—and that their data is being used in ways that benefit them.
  4. Creating a better overall customer experience by using customers’ data for purposes besides strictly advertising, such as by offering certain desired products or services, developing rewards programs, and more.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from these data collection and privacy issues, it’s that building trust is much more valuable than potentially misleading—or creeping out—the people you serve.






Image via Pxhere.

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