Ask the average Joe on the street who the rightful owner of a lawnmower they’d lent to their neighbour is, and they’d reply: “Me, Stupid!”
“What if your neighbour then lent it to another mate without your permission?”
“I’d still own it! And I’d be hacked off that they gave it to someone else without asking.”
Fair enough. But ask the same sort of questions regarding data and the answers are not so certain.
That’s my data!
In a survey we conducted with YouGov, four out of 10 young adults think the data about their online activities belongs to social media companies. As you probably know — it really doesn’t! Personal data belongs to whoever it is about.
This confusion should be a concern to anyone wanting to legitimately use data for targeted advertising. If someone thinks they don’t own something they’ll believe they have no control about how it’s used. Meaning that data is likely to be abused by unscrupulous companies, with legitimate advertisers losing out on revenues and getting a bad name by association.
What are you doing with my data?
Those who do know that they own their data are concerned about how it is shared. A considerable 78 % of the public are worried about how their online information is passed on to third parties.
This is bad news for advertisers as more and more people are getting so concerned they are withdrawing access to their data. A third of respondents say they’ve made changes to their social media privacy settings since last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. Remember that? A jaw-dropping 87 million Facebook users’ details being shared without permission! 87,000,000! That’s the population of Germany!
And users aren’t finished. One in five are going to make more changes to their privacy settings in the future.
Users withdrawing access to their data will make targeted advertising more difficult to this growing proportion of the population and will hit your bottom line harder than a Nadal first serve.
Take a look at my data
Users need to know that they have the legal right to control who can use their data. And with the right tech they can not only do this, but also get paid to do this. Our research showed that nearly half of those questioned would like to see more tech innovations that help them control access to and monetise their data. Additionally, a third of respondents would be willing to receive money in exchange for sharing their information.
This means users will be more likely to want to share their data with advertisers that are of interest to them and the info that advertisers get would be more accurate. It’s a no-brainer win/win.
But we all need to be telling users that this can happen and enabling them to make this happen. Otherwise, the situation is only going to get worse for everyone.
As such, user knowledge is key. Knowledge about their rights; knowledge about who owns their data and its value; knowledge about how and where it is used; and knowledge about how to control and monetise the data sharing process.