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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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