Ethics and Digital Marketing (Part 3)
Ethical practices can be challenging in any industry. In digital marketing and advertising, it can be even more difficult to keep up with the changing landscape in which ethics play out. Thanks to the sheer speed of digital evolution, standards rapidly shift, and any good digital marketing professional needs to keep pace. JumpSIX Marketing has covered ethical digital marketing in past blogs. In this follow-up, we’re going to look at how the industry has developed in recent years and why ethics matter more than ever.
Clarity, Trust, and Transparency
In 2018, it seemed like every week there was a new story in the headlines about something nefarious being done with our personal data without our knowledge. This has become perhaps the biggest ethical issue in modern digital marketing. Collecting certain types of data about users is essential to serving relevant advertising rather than bombarding them with anything and everything in the hope of getting something right. Not only that, but the more advanced digital products get the more data they need to tailor certain experiences to individual consumers.
Balancing Convenience and Consumer Trust
As with anything in our always-connected society, there isn’t necessarily a single easy solution to the question of data collection. Even if you’re serving digital ads to millions of people, they’re still individuals rather than a single, homogenous group. Each one of those people will respond in their own way when finding out how they’re being tracked online. This is where transparency comes in.
In the first quarter of 2018, the European Union introduced new legislation to tighten control over what companies can and can’t do when it comes to data collection. It also gave more control to the consumer to access what data is being collected about them. While it might not affect companies in the US directly, it does offer an insight into what companies that make use of consumer data can do to instill trust.
What Businesses Can Do
How do modern companies collect and use consumer data in an ethical way? Ultimately, it’s too complicated for a single, concise answer. But the best place to start is openness and transparency. Making it clear that you’re collecting data on site visitors or service users — along with why and what it’s used for — can go a surprisingly long way to instill trust. While it’s not legally required for the most part in the US, you should also give an option for opting out of data collection practices.
What Consumers Can Do
The onus isn’t entirely on companies themselves to keep up with data security. Consumers are much more informed about privacy and data collection now, but many are still surprised to find out what companies know about them from their browsing habits. Consumers shouldn’t rely on companies being entirely transparent about where (and what) their data is.
Taking steps to protect your privacy online — being careful about the sites you visit, using a password manager and regularly changing passwords, using tracking protection, and just keeping up with news about data breaches — is vital.
Talk to Our Digital Marketing Team
If you’re running a business or providing a service, it can be even harder to keep up with cultural shifts in digital practices. Whatever industry you belong to, you can find the right team to handle your online presence, from the basics of your website to keeping up engagement with your users on social media. Talk to the team at JumpSIX Marketing about our range of services today.