Apple’s Privacy-Minded Moves Should Be Just the Beginning

And here are two steps brands could take

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Earlier this month, Apple made a small step toward making privacy levels more transparent with the signing in with Apple feature. Ultimately, Apple is giving users more granular control over their data. Also, Apple’s iOS 13 operating system now lets users grant one-time access to location.

Under this scenario, if an app needs the data again, it must repeat the request for permission. These moves underscore how it’s going to become imperative for brands to give consumers more clarity around why their data is collected and more control over how it’s used. With 75 billion connected devices expected in the world by 2025, standards need to be set now.

It’s a huge moment in data marketing history. Tech platforms and brands can build trust rather than foment distrust with consumers about their data. Here are two big things marketers can do to be more transparent about the data they are collecting on their apps and websites.

Better preference center

The most obvious move is to follow Apple’s lead and give your users more control over the data you collect. Apple’s new universal log-in feature promises not to use iPhone data for targeting. It also lets users bypass using Google and Facebook’s log-in features, alleviating some people’s concerns with over-sharing data on those platforms.

Nearly every organization should rethink their level of transparency when it comes to data collection and usage.

Brands of all types should create preference settings for their digital products where users can determine the instances where they want their data stored for future use. Maybe some consumers only want to be targeted with offers that reflect their daytime habits. So, perhaps marketers can offer them an “only use my data to send me great lunch and dinner recommendations” option where data collection stops after 7 p.m., or brands can offer users the chance to only receive notifications via mobile, web or email.

So how can brands enact or even elevate this “better preferences” mindset? Let’s take Stitch Fix, which does a great job of collecting data around the types of clothes customers are interested in. Stitch Fix, and every other brand for that matter, can include an icon on its preference center that users can click on to find out—in a pop-up window, perhaps—what the company is doing with their data and why.

TL;DR and videoed explainers

When printed out, privacy policies can be as long as football fields in our post-GDPR world. It’s no wonder 91% of people never read them.

Well, companies need to think outside of the box. For instance, “too long; didn’t read” (TL;DR) versions are perfectly legal as long as the full document is as easily accessible. Brands can take that notion a step further by offering the full version and a TL;DR next to a video option, which can explain the privacy policy within a few minutes. These streamlined explainers can also detail the benefits of sharing data about how it makes digital experiences more relevant. Also, companies can show what kinds of data they are not collecting.

Making your policy easier to understand will show your customers that you want them to know you are collecting and using their data to better their experience. These options will create a level of trust with them that may not currently exist.

What’s next?

Brands and tech platforms aren’t the only ones that need to think long-term around data transparency. Governments need to do the same to improve services such as first responders and street safety. These concepts can be improved by data.

Indeed, nearly every organization should rethink their level of transparency when it comes to data collection and usage. There’s a reason why 70% of U.S. adults online trust recommendations from each far more than statements from brands. Therein lies an opportunity, though, for brands to stand out with higher levels of data transparency and become more trusted at every touchpoint.