The Wild West of Data

Written by: Bryan Kaczmarek, Account Director, All Things Media

Data privacy has been in the news regularly in recent months, as Silicon Valley executives are hauled before the United States Congress in an ongoing conversation over what big tech is doing with the data it’s collecting on its users. And with what some would argue is too-passive law and regulation on how data can be collected and used, this is a problem that’s not going away anytime soon.

While tech companies are not actively listening to you all day long (we hope), they are creating apps and websites that are constantly tracking what their customers are doing, where they are going, and what they are buying. End users typically have little to no understanding, or control, over how their data is being collected, used, and then re-targeted in the form of personalized ads. Both the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Union are showing interest in what’s happening with this data (the EU has already implemented some restrictions with GDPR).

However, there is a benefit to what I would call ethical tracking of users for both the content developer and the end user with strictly anonymous tracking. By reviewing how users are consuming content on a platform, decisions can be made on how best to enhance, upgrade, and adjust a platform and its content. As citizens begin to more closely understand what’s happening with their privacy, it might be time to take a closer look at how data is used and sold.

And applying analytics does not have to be ethically complicated. Standard analytics programs, such as Google, can give anonymous user tracking by converting a user to an ID. For example, if you’re a small business posting daily blogs, you can easily collect information on which posts are seeing the most clicks, how long users remain on the page, and if the traffic is coming from desktop computers or mobile phones. No business has unlimited resources, so making smart decisions about where to spend your time creating content is critical to business success.

At All Things Media, we support our clients by tagging their digital content. From there, we offer guidance on how to best execute new initiatives. It’s a win-win for both businesses and consumers – the business is creating what the consumer wants, and the end user in turn spends more time engaging with the business. We’re not in the business of selling data – we ethically use it to improve the user’s experience.