“Data is the currency of choice” – that’s what we’re hearing from customers.

It appears that GDPR has shifted mindsets and given the power back to consumers to make more informed decisions.

Thinking back to 2017, I remember having conversations with marketeers and MD’s who were panicking over GDPR and how it would impact their businesses.

If we fast forward to Q4 2019, the main thing it has changed is the consumer being far more cynical of how brands use their data. They are more aware of the choices available to them when engaging with a brand.  

This is particularly true and visible when it comes to opting-in to marketing communications.

But surely customers have always had a choice haven’t they?

Well yes, to a point…though I think we can all agree that in a past not so long ago, marketeers have also pushed so much content at customers they’ve had little choice – especially around receiving digital marketing communications. Unfortunately, this hasn’t really changed. In fact, it may be getting worse.

However, audience habits are changing quickly. Users are consuming more digital content more than ever and the demand for knowledge, social proofing and video over text and validation from peers is increasing astronomically. Consumers now better understand the value of their data, and that they do have a choice to share it and ignore pushed content.

This is never more poignant than in social media and with the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandals, consumers are now more cynical around their digital habits.

“27% of Britons have WhatsApp as their preferred app” and guess why? It’s an app that doesn’t contain any ads.

The changing tides of consumer habits

To back this up, I recently attended an event in London (MAD//FEST) and heard a talk by Max Pepe, VP Marketing of Ogury. He gave some great detail from a recent research study around consumer habits in mobile marketing; aptly titled ‘3 conclusions from 287,000 consumers on mobile marketing’.

In the talk Max stated that “71% of consumers would rather share their data than pay for content”.

This statistic clearly means consumers are still fully prepared to give away information about their browsing habits in exchange for content and knowledge – but the difference is that now the user is far more aware of their choices around opt in vs opt out and more want to understand what or how their data will be used.

Globally, only 13% of users would share contact details to access content.

Whilst consumers are more aware of their choices around opting in, there is still a a cynical attitude towards brands handling consumer data. In fact, only 8% of respondents claim to have a better understanding of how their data is used and 29% would prefer to pay for content than exchange personal information.

This stat and more can be found in Max’s report here: https://www.ogury.com/blog/the-reality-report-287000-opinions-on-mobile-marketing/

It’s a good read and there are some further insights and topics within the report, such as:

·   Why consumers are still in the dark over their data despite GDPR, why this matters, and how to address it;

·   The ways in which consumers prefer to pay to access content, and how to respect their privacy wishes;

·   Despite decades of Martech advances, consumers are still left annoyed by the ads they are shown.

Marketeers need to get creative with content delivery

This extends beyond the typical content we see such as blogs, articles, pages and propositional messaging.

Here’s a few tips on what marketeers should be focussing on:

1.     Consent messages need to be shorter and clearer

2.     Deliver clear messages aligned to consumer needs and wants, not spray and pray

3.     Speed and experience are a priority for consumers (but irrelevant ads are twice as annoying as a poor experience)

4.     Consumers prefer email or in-app phone ads over push notifications

5.     Make signs simple and only collect relevant data (check out Notion below)

Only collect the necessary data

77% of respondents found targeted messages just ‘annoying’. There needs to be intent from consumers to accept an engagement and acknowledge that there is a fair exchange of data.

“Consumers are happy to share their data for access to free content – when given the choice.

They understand this data will be used to help advertisers & marketers. So if the industry focuses on asking permission from consumers, and gives them a fair choice regarding content access and marketing, not only will this result in more compliant data for marketers to leverage, but it also shifts the advertiser-to-consumer relationship dynamic.

It becomes one of mutual understanding and trust.”

Make the process simple

Check out Notion. They have a simple one field sign up form. It doesn’t save passwords, ask for irrelevant details or require boxes to be ticked. They simply ask for an email address – job done.

As a user you are only ever 1 click away from creating an account.

But how do they gather more data you ask? Well, Notion wait until you’ve created an account (the point of no return) before they ask further questions to enrich the data.

Find out more about Notion’s great approach to a UX friendly sign up form here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-notions-sign-up-form-converts-so-well-harry-dry/


Consumers recognise the value of their data to brands and use that as leverage to make choices about their consumption of content.

“Unless users are given a fair choice, there will always be an underlying resentment towards the ads they are shown. Because no matter how ‘relevant’, they act as a constant reminder that their data is being used to make money, without their permission.”

To summarise into three key points:

#1 – Navigational data is the currency of choice for consumers when it comes to a fair exchange for content

#2 – Consumers are frustrated by push advertising messages, especially on mobile, despite it being the product of over two thirds of digital ad spend in the US alone

#3 – Consent notices are too long, confusing and technical. Consumers don’t care about GDPR, they care about fairness and clarity. 

Thanks for reading. If you would like to improve how you are currently engaging with customers over content and their data, then let’s have a conversation.

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