Data is very important for businesses of all sizes, but how do you know which data is truly helpful in understanding your customer? How do you collect this important data without crossing any lines or being too intrusive? First, start off with the goal of your product or service. Next, create a user persona to represent your target market. Then think about their day-to-day activities and compare it to your goal. After this, research ways to collect data to further learn about them. If you are overwhelmed by the data tracking options, here is how to distinguish healthy data tracking that is helpful for your company versus data tracking that could hurt your potential customers and your business:
Healthy Data Tracking
Websites save user data to better personalize and improve the customer experiences with first party cookies. These are small data files placed in web browsers to remember your language, layout preferences, or the contents of a shopping cart. This helps maintain a positive user experience by keeping important and relevant elements intact. There are also third parties that work with websites to insert additional tracking methods like their own cookies and web beacons such as analytics and page tagging.
Companies use third parties to record what users read, click, and visit online. This method of collecting data is ethical if it involves giving users the ability and opportunity to opt out your company tracking using third party cookies, usually in the form of a pop-up box that contains settings and data preferences. Remember you want to have the user to have the power to control their info. If they feel you are abusing their private info it can hurt your company’s reputation and at worst get you into legal trouble. You want to give users the choice of giving you information freely. You can use subscription or contact forms, quizzes, and surveys for your company website or email marketing. Make it easy to unsubscribe from your email list if you use email mail marketing. The data you gather from these methods, should assist in your marketing and advertising plans. You don’t have to have all these methods going at once. Apply data collection methods based on your business goals.
Unhealthy Data Tracking
While data collection isn’t inherently bad, what you do with the data you collect is important. Sometimes data collection for advertising can veer away from its true purpose. Using ads through Google Ads and on social media platforms should have the goal of showing user the most relevant and useful ad. Track only what is relevant to help you sell your product or service. Never sell the data you collect to data brokers. Data brokers are companies that can merge anonymized online data (like from a public record) with personally identifiable information to build a detailed profile of you and sell it to other companies that don’t have your information. Avoid purchasing from brokers as well. Pause and think about how you feel when you get an email or ad from a company you never were in contact with. This can demolish any organic relationship building with potential customers.
Researchers at the University of Washington have shown that mobile ad networks tracking capabilities could be manipulated for highly targeted surveillance. Some banks can also use data collection to determine your creditworthiness. Insurers can use data to assess your premiums. These ways of using data collection, are examples of controversial and potentially damaging ways to use data. This is causing many users to turn to private browsing and ad blocking software causing a loss of revenue of content creators. As a business make sure when you collect your data keep it safe and come up with an ad strategy that is ethical and brings value to your customer.
We can help with healthy data collection for your website and ads. Call 248.528.3600 or visit our Google Analytics page for more info.