Privacy is a key opportunity to differentiate yourself

About 90 percent of consumers care on data privacy, although only 30% worldwide has switched providers for data policies, suggesting that there is a privacy market.

To understand how marketers can increase their market share, eMarketer last report on privacy as a competitive advantage breaks down case studies on how Apple, Amazon’s Alexa, WhatsApp and Facebook’s Reality Lab are creating, maintaining and in some cases losing consumer confidence with their strategic data practices and approach focused on privacy for product development.

In 2018, Europe enacted its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Shortly afterwards, the United States passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the subsequent California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which was signed in 2020.

While they are useful frameworks, this patchwork approach to data privacy rules is a leading challenge in enforcing privacy, according to 37% of U.S. vendors, Treasure Data found. Consumers, on the other hand, struggle to feel empowered when it comes to controlling their data. As the June 2020 Cisco global survey found, just under half of consumers did not feel they were able to effectively protect their personal data, mainly because it is too difficult to figure out what companies actually do with it.

At the same time, consumer confidence in technology is declining. The Edelman 2021 Confidence Barometer found that confidence in the technology industry declined 6 percentage points between 2020 and 2021.

In response to these changes in consumer opinion about privacy, technology giants like Facebook are exploring product designs that collect and process data on the device instead of the cloud. With 50 percent of executives worldwide claiming that cybersecurity and privacy are now incorporated into every business decision or plan, it’s safe to say that privacy and trust evolve beyond a concern for compliance. and become a strategic initiative.

Amazon Alexa

Despite rapid adoption rates, voice assistants and smart speakers still suffer from trust issues. Most U.S. Internet users who don’t own a smart speaker are wary of devices they always listen to and say they don’t trust companies to keep information secure, according to a 2020 NPR and Edison survey.

According to eMarketer forecasts, this 27.2% of the American population will have smart speakers at home this year and approximately 67% of smart speakers will be Amazon devices. Gaining the trust of its users required a steep learning curve for Alexa. To maintain consumer confidence and privacy, Alexa has launched several orders that help provide users with transparency. For example, a user may ask Alexa to repeat what she has heard or ask “Alexa, why did you do that?”

In addition, Amazon recently added the ability to ask Alexa to “delete everything I’ve ever said,” which removes audio history from processed interactions. To maintain consumer confidence in Alexa, Amazon also has a whole team called Alexa Trust dedicated to consumer perception of its smart assistant.

As eMarketer suggests, Alexa could do more to guide new users through privacy preferences from the outset and be transparent about how Alexa uses transaction data to personalize and target experiences.


Apple has established itself as a privacy-friendly company, but the company is willing to set the privacy bar even higher, as Apple CEO Tim Cook said that “the business based on data mining without consumer choice deserves reform. “

To that end, Apple has implemented a multifaceted strategy that includes privacy-focused advertising campaigns, which allow users to easily disable location tracking for iOS 13 apps, privacy “nutrition tags,” and transparency tracking requirements. of apps on iOS14.5.

Apple’s privacy nutrition labels translate policies into unique terms, which require app publishers to detail what data is being collected and for what purpose. This tool has already been successful, as 72 percent of U.S. iPhone and iPad owners were aware of the introduction of tags, according to a January 202 SunCell survey. Tags can also function as a tool for comparison, as users compare one app to another in hopes of choosing the most privacy-focused one.

Application tracking transparency, on the other hand, requires applications to request permission from users to track activities on other applications and websites. This tool is the platform’s smart attempt to prevent policy changes by deploying a tangible and tangible consent option for advertisers using the Apple ID for Advertisers (IDFA).

It seems that Apple’s privacy efforts are bearing fruit. Of those who switched to an Android iPhone in the last five years, 24% believed Apple was more secure, 18% did so for better privacy protections, and 15% did so for applications that have been monitored. for privacy and security, according to Consumer Reports. ‘research.

While 31 percent of U.S. smartphone owners would allow app tracking to avoid paying a subscription for them, according to a global AppsFlyer / MMA survey, Apple’s IDFA changes have had a devastating impact . Last month, Venture Beat reported that iOS advertisers experience a 15% to 20% drop in revenue and unattributed organic traffic inflation.

In light of Apple’s new policies and tools, Google has announced that it will require app developers in the Google Play app marketplace to provide details about data collection and usage. In contrast, Facebook has opposed Apple’s measures stating that these changes would “severely affect” the social media advertising business. Similarly, WhatsApp has reported that the new privacy requirements only advance the iMessage app for iOS.

While Apple’s changes are examined as door maintenance, the company has led privacy. As eMarketer points out, its first-hand data experiments may cause users to question Apple’s intention to use personal data, forcing the technology giant to proceed with caution to preserve the trust it has gained over the past two years. .

How are you

After WhatsApp users received an automatic notification requiring them to accept new terms and privacy policies to continue using the app, their data began to be shared with Facebook and the messaging app’s reputation as to “privacy as a priority” was tarnished.

Shortly after purchasing the $ 19 billion privacy-responsive messaging app, Facebook prioritized a revenue-generating strategy and began sharing data for personalization and ad targeting features. , causing an investigation in the EU, fine and integration of data “pause in the EU” pending compliance with the GDPR.

Given that the ultimatum to accept the new terms or stop using the app was not explicit about what data would be collected, shared and with whom, WhatsApp users interpreted the new terms to mean that Facebook could access the encrypted messages. WhatsApp sent countless clarifying messages informing users about the conditions, which delayed the launch by almost three months. The app announced that the rejection of the new terms would result in a gradual loss of functionality.

As a result, Signal and Telegram downloads soared with 7.5 million downloads and 5.6 million downloads, respectively, between January 6 and 10, according to Apptopia.

Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp diminished the trust that had been built over about five years of service. Deployment was further hampered by misinformation and a sense of betrayal. As eMarketer points out, when a company builds on trust and privacy, it must continue to meet and exceed user expectations on these principles.

Facebook reality labs

Facebook Reality Labs has a mission to help people feel connected anytime, anywhere, which is why approximately one-fifth of the company’s workforce works at Reality Labs.

The challenge here is to regain the trust of users to take full advantage of the potential it envisages for Reality Labs, as trust and privacy are essential to introducing a new computer interface. According to a June 2020 eMarketer / Bizrate survey, in the ranking of the largest eMarketer social networking platforms on the largest social networking platforms in June 2020, Facebook came in last, as only the 3.4% of American adults trust the tech giant with personal information.

Facebook’s new approach, called “The Big Shift,” emphasizes data minimization and provides privacy throughout its design process. According to Andrew Bosworth, head of Reality Labs, Facebook will start with the assumption that they cannot “collect, use or store any data” and will keep the burden of reporting why certain data is required to produce a viable product.

Reality Lab’s comprehensive principles for responsible innovation include 1) never surprising people, 2) providing important controls, 3) considering everyone, and 4) putting people first. These principles, along with in-house teams focused on privacy, trust, responsible innovation, and a privacy review process, aim to redeem Facebook in the eyes of consumers.

It is still too early in the launch of new privacy changes by Facebook to determine how they will manifest in augmented reality (RA) and virtual reality (VR) experiences. While only 8.5% of Americans own virtual reality headsets, Facebook’s 2020 Oculus accounted for 53.5% of global headset shipments, according to counterpoint technology market research.

Bosworth, with his optimistic and privacy-focused approach to Reality Labs, has said he will focus on technology development and product experience before worrying about the business model. Unfortunately, Facebook’s history has shown that the development of technology before the business model manifested itself with, as eMarketer says, “significant risk and potentially perverse incentives.” In addition, Bosworth’s own history of posting the Facebook news feed has shown that, despite his claims, his observations do not establish any policy. In short, the company’s data minimization stance has lagged behind.

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