Consumers are caught in a limbo of wanting and expecting personalized experiences but are also quick to opt out of targeting on websites. With privacy laws getting stricter, companies are being forced to build strong data strategies in order to personalize the customer experience, while also being proactive in protecting user data and building trust with consumers.

Mitigate the Risk of PII Collection with Consistent Scrutiny and Analytics Tool Audits

To remain compliant with escalating privacy laws, companies must continuously monitor and audit their current platforms. This ensures that customer Personally Identifiable Identification (PII) is not improperly exposed or accessible where it shouldn’t be.

Capturing PII within your Google Analytics account, for example, is against Google’s terms of service and privacy policy. Failure to comply with these policies can lead to suspension of your Google Analytics account and potential data loss.

To audit your Google Analytics account, review the pages and query strings. PII often appears in query parameters from marketing efforts such as email. You can view this data by navigating to Explore > New Exploration, select the Page path + query string dimension and use total users as the metric. Further, apply filters to search for ‘@’ in the Page path + query string to identify email addresses.

It’s also a good idea to check your event parameters and custom dimensions, particularly for businesses tracking user-generated fields such as form fills and form submits. It’s important to ensure PII is not being collected as users progress through your website.

If PII is found, stop collecting this information immediately. Work with your development team to strip query parameters within your tag management system. Additionally, remove existing PII from your Google Analytics account via a data deletion request. But, be aware that this solution may result in broader data loss.

Lastly, regularly audit Behavior Analytics tools. With multiple teams accessing these tools, it’s imperative to ensure PII, such as emails, passwords, addresses or credit card information, isn’t visible during session playbacks.

Shield Against Growing Data Protection Uncertainty With an Identity Management Strategy

Companies have relied heavily on PII to identify their customers across data sources. The widespread presence of PII increases the vulnerability to data leaks and breaches. To mitigate these risks, especially when data is present in the data warehouse, implementing a data governance strategy is crucial. This strategy should include strict access controls, limiting who has access to this data. Furthermore, the secure management of PII within the data warehouse demands additional time and resources, confirming the need for secure data handling practices.

Identity management is assigning a unique identifier to each individual serving as an alternative to PII. This approach enhances data security and reduces compliance risks. By applying these identifiers consistently across your data sources, you can break down data silos, yielding deeper insights and allowing for a more integrated view of your customer.

Bridge the Widening Gap Between Data Privacy and Personalization with a CDP

Customer Data Platforms (CDP) enable businesses to deliver personalized experiences without the use of PII. CDPs securely manage first party data from multiple data sources, segment users based on similar attributes, and activate on the data. CDPs facilitate the use of encrypted values, like hashed email addresses, which protects consumer data while still allowing for personalization specific to each user.

By utilizing unique identifiers, companies can consolidate customer’s information across different data sources, such as website, CRM, or app data. This integration creates a holistic view of your customer’s behaviors and actions across these platforms. This data can then be used to create audience segments based on specific behaviors, which can further be leveraged in marketing efforts. This segmentation strategy results in a personalized experience unique to each individual.

Eliminate Privacy Uncertainty by Optimizing Consent Banner Design

Consent management is not only important for complying with privacy regulations, but also for fostering trust between businesses and their customers. Consumers want to know what their data will be used for and that it is protected. However, customers tend to quickly click through consent banners to continue browsing; therefore, consent banner design is especially important.

When consumers opt out of cookie tracking, it has implications on both the companies and consumers. Companies lose valuable insights into user behavior, analytics as reported conversions, and the ability to tailor experiences to the user, which leads to better brand experience. A study by Epsilon shows that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. This indicates that while users want personalization, they may not understand the implications of declining cookie tracking.

Businesses should continuously monitor opt-in rates and work to optimize them. If your business is seeing low or decreasing opt-in rates, consider A/B testing different versions of your consent banner to identify higher conversion designs.

Test messaging on the banner to see what may influence the users to accept or decline tracking. Offer an option for users to manage their preferences together with the ‘Allow’ and ‘Deny’ options. This can include toggle sliders for each of the following categories: essential cookies, targeted advertising cookies, personalization, and analytics. Provide transparency about the purpose and use of the data you are collecting to help users make informed decisions about their data privacy.

In An Unpredictable Data Privacy Landscape It’s Critical to Protect Customers Data from Potential Risks

While many of these tactics go beyond legal requirements, implementing these strategies can significantly enhance a company’s reputation, particularly in an era of stricter privacy laws and more skeptical consumers. Companies that make the extra effort are more likely to be perceived as more trustworthy and responsible in the eyes of the consumer.