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Mobile advertising agencies must show they take privacy seriously

Industry experts are warning that mobile advertising agencies must clearly demonstrate their commitment to consumer privacy if they are to secure new business.

As mobile phones advertising explodes with the burgeoning uptake of smartphones, so people are growing more wary of what happens to their data, a trend that is driving much consumer antipathy toward the routine use of Unique Device Identifiers (UDID) on their gadgets.  They want phones, not trackers.

Big Data – opportunities and dangers

As we reported recently, mobile gadgets and social networking are jointly creating an unprecedented era of Big Data, which is driving new research into how this information can be used.  Already, it can be deployed to help companies understand their consumers’ needs, to help consumers find the product they’re seeking more easily and even to help government agencies respond more effectively to a crisis.

But with massive volumes of data come additional risks to privacy. While it undoubtedly makes sense for Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to place the development of mobile platforms at the top of his brainchild’s priority list, it’s also increasingly making sense for mobile advertising executives to reassure users that their data will be used wisely and judiciously.

Top brands like privacy

In a recent blog, Scott Meyer, CEO of the up-and-coming privacy and data control company “Evidon”, makes a cogent case for the widespread use of the Digital Advertising Alliance’s “Advertising Choices” icon.  Evidon’s recent partnership with mobile-ad firm Tapad is a case in point.

Tapad was built from the outset upon non-UDID-dependent privacy protocols and provided clear mobile web opt-out for its consumers – features which enabled it to place the Advertising Choices icon on all the mobile impressions it delivered through its platform. And it drew massive interest from some the USA’s largest advertisers as a result: premier brands are very serious about privacy.

As Meyer argues, this isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s positively good for business, too. He writes:

“You see, top brands take privacy very, very seriously. And that is the lesson to be learned here: anyone who is doing anything behavioral in mobile can and should use the Advertising Choices icon. … If you want to earn the trust and business of brands, you have to be able to preserve the trust they’ve earned with their consumers.”

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