Data Privacy Drives Positive User Experiences

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    GDPR and the California Privacy Act are thorns in the sides of marketers and developers. But they don't have to be! Just like good user experience is crucial to success and adoption, transparent privacy disclosures drive positive sentiment by increasing acquisition, engagement, and retention.

    Groan-worthy Legislation

    The European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) a few short years ago. The U.S followed up with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Both of these legislative introductions solicited groans from thousands of web design and development agencies worldwide- me included.

    The Internet had basically been the Wild West in terms of regulation and laws. Our biggest challenges were building sites for Internet Explorer and mobile. But now, benevolent leaders around the world said that in order to do business in their countries or state, we had to abide by their rules.

    While I saw the implementation of those regulations as a new potential revenue opportunity, they were also just one more thing (a big thing!) in the ever-evolving world of the Internet.

    GDPR and CCPA are a new proverbial thorn in the side.

    The Goal of Privacy Laws

    Privacy laws are spreading worldwide. Conducting business in regulated states or countries means having to update your websites or software to abide by new laws. The goal, however, isn’t to place undue burdens on small businesses (although it often feels that way.) The goal is to give consumers and businesses the ability to understand how their data is being stored and shared and, in some cases, giving them the ability to choose how the data is used.

    For digital advertising and social media networks, whose goal is to drive engagement and get clicks, data privacy and control seems the most obvious place to start. But these laws also affect every public-facing website, including those of small businesses.

    At the end of the day, we’re all consumers. To understand the benefits of these laws and regulations means simply putting on your own shoes and reflecting on your own privacy wishes.

    Privacy Transparency

    When Apple implemented the ability to block tracking across apps and websites, it was a big step in controlling your data. Now, I always disable tracking when a new app is installed. I haven’t fully researched the implementation of this and whether it is truly blocking app tracking but it’s a good start and makes me feel more in control.

    Think With Google released an article recently that interviewed 7,000 people and reported on their findings related to privacy behavior. The research showed people not only want to understand how their personal data is being used, they also want to control how it is being used.

    Their research concluded people want data privacy interactions to be meaningful, memorable, and manageable. When individuals know how their data is being used, they are more likely to open ads without reservation because they know the ads will be relevant to them.

    Improving Acquisition and Retention

    Transparent and manageable data privacy can also have a positive impact on customer acquisition and retention. When you acknowledge how you use customer data and how customers can control that data in plain, easy-to-read language, you’re likely to see a boost in both acquisition and retention.

    Data privacy increases trust in your company and boosts the likelihood that window-shoppers will become active customers. Regular reminders of data privacy practices with existing customers also increases and maintains trust levels.

    The bottom line is that data privacy laws and regulations aren’t going anywhere. It’s time to reflect on what your company does now and how to improve upon it so your competition doesn’t gain the advantage.


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    About the Author

    Matt Zentz

    Matt Zentz launched Marketpath from a small Broad Ripple bungalow in February 2001 with a focus on custom web application development. He built the first, basic version of a hosted CMS called Webtools and shortly afterward expanded his team and created the first version of Marketpath CMS.

    Matt has worked for a national consulting firm, taught computer programming to high school juniors and seniors , and led the information technology arm of the auxiliary business units at Indiana University.

    Matt graduated from Indiana University in 1999 with a B.S. in Computer Science and has built custom web applications since 1995. Matt is husband to an amazing & supportive wife, has three beautiful children, supreme master to Archimedes (Archie) the dog, and mostly tolerant victim of 2 flying rats (cockateils).

    He coaches various kid sports, enjoys furniture and home renovation projects, and plays guitar and piano. Matt is also active with his church as a parishioner, technical advisor and board member on the festival committee.

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