Research Technology and Ethically-sourced Data
As we learn more about how powerful “big data” has become, the need for enhanced data privacy is growing rapidly. However, advertisers, researchers and others who rely on understanding specific online audiences find themselves in a conundrum: how can we study the opinions, sentiments and behaviors of people without sacrificing their privacy?
This may come as a surprise to you, but data collection is not inherently dangerous; people simply need more control over their personal data. That said, we do understand the concerns about the lack of transparency in data procurement, and the Research Technology (ResTech) industry has evolved to meet the growing need for safer practices. Here’s how we enable data-driven knowledge without sacrificing privacy.
People Need More Control over Their Data
Virtually everyone with an online presence has some concerns about their personal data and how it’s being used. People are tired of data being gathered without their knowledge. They want to know when their personal data is being collected, and more than ever, they want to know how it’s being used. And that’s a fair request.
It’s time for data companies to stop developing workarounds to avoid the most important part of data collection: consent. Without a doubt, getting people’s explicit consent is the first step in ensuring that they have control over how their data is being used. We’re seeing the debate over data permissions pit power players like Facebook and Apple against each other, and the outcome has shown that it’s time for us to embrace change.
Does explicit consent slow the data procurement process? Sure. Does it require extra work from data companies? Certainly. Despite these hurdles, ResTech is up to the challenge – because we believe ethically-sourced data is the future.
ResTech is Changing the Way Data Is Gathered
Explicit consent puts control directly in the hands of consumers and web users, but let’s take consent one step further – what if more data companies required people to opt in to share their data? That’s precisely how ResTech is changing the way data is procured by researchers, advertisers and anyone else who needs insights into online audiences.
It’s no secret that Lucid is in the data-driven answers business, so I have firsthand knowledge of the work that goes into creating, managing, and innovating a data platform.
A big part of improving privacy means altering the mostly ‘wide net’ way data has been gathered in the past. As data continues to grow in value, there will surely be greater scrutiny of data collection methods. I recommend taking a forward thinking approach, and planning for the trends we’re seeing emerge; not just the minimum that’s required of us today.
Gathering Insights Without Relying on Cookies
For years, marketers have been using cookies to track website visitors, improve user experience, and collect data that helps them target ads to the right audiences. Web browsers, however, have moved to restrict cookies to protect consumer privacy. Marketers know it’s time to look for and adopt new approaches to track consumer sentiment that are cookie independent.
The digital media industry’s need to track ad effectiveness isn’t going to change, even if it’s no longer able to rely on third-party cookies. ResTech offers a fresh solution for reaching audiences without cookie tracking: DIY market research tools. ResTech was designed around the idea of ethically-sourced data, which means it relies on consent-based insights (where people must opt in to participate in studies). So, one option for companies seeking insights is to have them directly ask people to answer the questions they used to rely on cookies for.
Another solution to the tracking-without-cookies problem (which will benefit advertisers) may include in-app or interactive TV environments. We are exploring new methods that aren’t reliant on third-party cookies. Lucid, for example, is committed to preparing for the future by directly partnering with media platforms and publishers to enable server-to-server integrations on first-party identifiers. And this is only the beginning.
The Future is Bright for Insights and Media Measurement
As an industry, ResTech is constantly looking ahead. We know the requirements surrounding data privacy will evolve. Why fight it? It’s in people’s best interests, and it’s simply the right thing to do.
By investing in the good actors of the data industry, we can encourage the use of ethically-sourced data. As big data continues to expand, ResTech is helping to shape its future. While this approach may require additional steps, it also enables data-driven knowledge in a privacy-conscious way. And I can promise you this: the effort is paying off.