If you use the Internet, social networks or mobile apps, then I can guarantee that advertising-technology companies are tracking and mining your personal data to enable marketers to personalize experiences and more effectively market to you.
This is a fact of life, and it’s not necessarily good or bad.
However, three trends are clear:
- Understanding and managing one’s privacy online is terribly complex. This includes everyone from digital Luddites to expert technologists and privacy wonks. I work in the ad-tech industry and I definitely don’t feel I have a full grasp on where all my personal data go.
- Habituation and acceptance of data sharing is the norm. So far, there has been an absence of bad outcomes associated with app terms, conditions, warnings and actual usage. Therefore, society largely hits the “I accept” and “I agree” buttons with little or no thought — like a monkey pulling a lever for a peanut. The cat is out of the bag. We’ve pulled our pants down and strapped monitoring transmitters to our waists.
- Not only are people ignorant of where all their personal data reside and how they are being used, we haven’t begun to contemplate how our data crumbs may be used in the future.
This is a ripe environment for consumer paranoia and even backlash. If you work in the marketing industry, especially the ad-tech industry, the burden is on you to earn and sustain trust.
The importance of trust is nothing new. But technology has raced past social norms and laws, creating a period of flux where marketers and consumers are simply trying to find their bearings.
(Photo: Ian Muttoo)