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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds SIMON PERRY: There’s more known about you, as a consumer, now than probably any time in history. And it’s known by people that you have no idea who they are, either. So I think there are legitimate concerns for privacy.

Skip to 0 minutes and 23 seconds You as a consumer should be thinking about this. I’m constantly encouraging my daughter, who’s 13, to think about these things. She hasn’t quite got to the point of thinking that’s important, but it’s beyond the idea of embarrassing photos on Facebook. It’s more what is being compiled about you, that you don’t know about. So I think from the marketer’s point of view, knowing that consumers will be concerned with that, is something they have to actively respect. They have to be respectful of the consumer, that information gathering about them should be open– what’s been gathered, and what’s been used. The temptation of course, is that they’ll get all they can, but that’s a short term gain, I think.

Skip to 1 minute and 20 seconds I guess the first thing is, one is realising this data’s being gathered, two, being bothered about it, and then three, finding a mechanism to do that. It seems inevitable that, as people become more informed, then services will spring up to allow them to control the data that they have about themselves shared with other companies. Whether those tools could be effective– I mean, it’s a massive business. If you think about a business like Google, it is pretty much this business model is knowing about you, and then therefore selling ads to you, as well.

Skip to 1 minute and 59 seconds So there are things that people can do on a small scale, so the Google advertising– if you go to the top right hand corner, that allows you to click in there and say, I don’t want to see this type of ad anymore. Which in fact, it sounds like it’s being good for you, but it’s actually being good for them, because it’s telling them exactly what you like, and what you don’t like. It depends if whether you accept that being advertised to is an inevitability. If a service is free, you are the product, so they need to advertise to you. If you accept a free product, you accept the marketing.

Skip to 2 minutes and 36 seconds But I think also, as well as people being conscious of the data that’s being held about them and trying to control that through services, people will move away from those free services, because it has been this wonderful world where stuff is free– but at what cost, long term?

Skip to 2 minutes and 58 seconds We can’t really afford to have our own private set of tools for gathering the data, so we use the Google Analytics one, which is a free service that Google offer. There is a downside to it, frankly, because you’re telling Google everything about your site. So there is a negative on that. And if we got the point of having sufficient income to be able to not have that, it’s something we’d seriously consider, because the privacy of our data, as well as our readers– it’s not like it’s being compromised. The reader isn’t being compromised. But we don’t want to be giving all that business intelligence to Google, really.

Is free ever really free?

In this video, Simon Perry, News Publisher from OnTheWight, who you met in week 2, examines privacy issues from the perspective of a consumer and a marketer.

As a consumer, he is concerned that companies may be gathering data about him without his knowledge and consent. At the same time, he recognises that by using free services, he himself (or data about himself and his behaviour) is actually the payment in such transactions, as with Google Analytics for example.

Many of us may feel the benefits of free social networks are worth the data price that we pay.

Simon suggests that marketers should be open about the sorts of customer data they collect and what they do with it, so that customers can make an informed decision whether or not to proceed. By simply grabbing all the data they can, marketers pay get short term gains but the backlash when such activities come to light could be very damaging to their brand.

He notes that people may choose to move away from free services to keep their data more private, and that companies are now emerging to manage and control the data access permissions that individuals have granted.

We will hear more about this in the next Step, where Reuben Binns introduces some key themes from his PhD research in this area.

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Digital Marketing: Challenges and Insights

University of Southampton

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