Digital marketing thrives because of data; digital marketing is measurable and one can customize the advertising strategies based on user data. There are several tools available for the advertisers to track user behavior online. A recent survey report shows that consumers are choosing to stay invisible in order to protect personal data online. This might create a “data blackhole” making things uncertain for the digital advertisers.
According to a survey by technology research firm Ovum, consumers are trying to find “new tools that allow them to remain ‘invisible’ — untraceable and impossible to target by data means“. This is likely to choke digital advertisers by making them unable to access the critical information they need to target their audience. The survey involved the consumers from 11 countries around the globe; 68% of the respondents preferred to opt-in “do not track” feature had it been available easily.
“This hardening of consumer attitudes, coupled with tightening regulation, could diminish personal data supply lines and have considerable impact on targeted advertising, customer relationship management, big data analytics and other digital industries,” the London-based research firm said in a statement. According to Mark Little, a principal analyst at Ovum, users have plenty of options when it comes to new tools to secure their personal data online. Recently, the quantity of data retained by Google and Facebook has been questioned by the experts along with the data use policies of these internet giants. Also, a joint Canadian-Dutch investigation revealed recently that mobile messaging service WhatsApp violated privacy laws in at least two countries in terms of “retention, safeguard, and disclosure of personal data.” Most smartphone users had to grant access to their entire address book to use the messaging app which is against the Canadian and Dutch privacy laws.
All these might lead to stricter policies to protect user data online. Several advocacy groups asked FTC to create a Do Not Track list in 2007. Mozilla’s Firefox deterred tracking; Microsoft also made Do Not Track option default in the “Express” settings of the new Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8. Twitter is a strong supporter of DNT feature as well. “If you have DNT enabled in your browser settings, we will not collect the information that enables this feature, so you won’t see any tailored suggestions. We hope that our support of DNT highlights its importance as a privacy tool for consumers and creates even more interest and wider adoption across the web,” says Twitter Blog.
By enabling Do Not Track features, users can stop tracking – something similar like Do Not Call Registry. However, unlike Do Not Call or Do Not Disturb policy, there is still no strict law for those who violate the Do Not Track feature.
From PPC remarketing to new age video advertisement, user data holds an important role in digital marketing. If Do Not Track Technology becomes stronger and stricter laws are introduced to honor consumers’ choices, then there will be a huge gap to fill up. After Google’s algorithm changes, digital advertising is struggling a lot to figure out the new strategies that will work. If DNT becomes more effective there will be another turmoil – but, as always, the industry will definitely figure out new ways to survive. How the industry copes is something we need to wait and watch.