Building a privacy-first internet: How developers and enterprises can adapt to the new privacy normal

privacy online

Whether you’re ready for it or not, Apple’s highly anticipated data and privacy changes are now set to launch. These changes will have a widespread impact on businesses that advertise or operate on mobile.

With the upgrade, a new data consent window will appear in all apps that collect and share data with outside parties for advertising purposes. Many consumers will view the new consent features as a positive step forward to better privacy protection and toward more consumer control in shaping the Future of the Internet – ultimately a net positive.

For developers and enterprises, each consumer’s decision to consent to or refuse “tracking” will no doubt shape the business models of the App Store economy and the wider internet for years to come.

Clarity, transparency, and consumer control are good for iPhone users– and the internet at large. But there are still steps that developers and enterprises can take to ensure that they not only comply with Apple’s new rules, and find success in the next era of the privacy-first internet.

Here are three strategic recommendations that can help developers and enterprises adapt to the new privacy normal:

Tell users why you need their data and how they benefit from opting into data sharing

While the language used in Apple’s mandatory AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) notification cannot be changed, developers can add a primer message appearing ahead of the ATT consent – your best chance at making a case to the user. This message can include any text so long as it is accurate and not misleading, and should be utilised as a way to build trust with the user.

When possible, use plain, concise language clearly articulating what kind of data is being collected, what it is being used for, and (most importantly) the value exchange – why the user benefits from sharing that data.

Also Read: Dinner date with data: How F&B retailers can use retail data to drive sales in a post-pandemic world

To see if different languages affected opt-in rates, Foursquare tested out several versions of our primer messages on our own app users. While still early days, our results showed a straightforward explanation of the value exchange (“Support City Guide. Your data allows us to provide this app for free to you.”) yielded the highest number of opt-ins.

We shouldn’t be surprised that consumers respect when businesses are transparent with them. After all, if the user trusts an app, they’ll be more likely to consent to data-sharing.

Consider other forms of identity

As mobile advertising IDs (MAIDs — also known as IDFAs) are phased out, enterprises and developers need to understand that the Future of the Internet will involve multiple types of identifiers, and it will take time to find the solution that works best for both the business and its users.

During this period, developers must be nimble and willing to consider other forms of identity to see which works best for them.

For many, creating logged-in experiences could be one of the best ways to build consented relationships with their target audiences. For example, publishers can ask consumers to register using their email address to access content only available to logged in users in exchange for interesting, unique content.

Publishers with logged in readers can then build on their direct connections to offer other personalised content or digital experiences.

Plan for the future by re-examining your data strategy today

For businesses that have been doing marketing in the same way for a long time, they must start to plan for a future in which scale is in shorter supply and accessing device-level identity may be more challenging.

To adapt for the long-term, double down today on investments on data science, or find partners who are already doing so. Plan to keep adding scale and incorporating new types of data — such as online interest data — that will help fill in the gaps left by the loss of MAIDs.

Also Read: Online privacy starts drawing people’s attention

It’s also important to have a holistic strategy across first-, second-, and third-party data to be strategic and vet your partners to ensure they are also adhering to the same privacy principles as your company, because your reputations will be linked.

Exactly what the Future of the Internet will look like is still a mystery, but there’s no reason for enterprises to move forward blindly. Following the iOS14.5 privacy rollout, we can also expect Android to follow with changes to the availability of Google advertising IDs (AAIDs) in late 2021 or early 2022.

By taking the above steps and, perhaps most importantly, committing to being flexible, you won’t just be “riding out” the impending changes but will actually be adapting both your business and the ecosystem to a more sustainable — and privacy-sensitive — place.

Editor’s note: e27 aims to foster thought leadership by publishing contributions from the community. This season we are seeking op-eds, analysis and articles on food tech and sustainability. Share your opinion and earn a byline by submitting a post.

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