User Privacy and Preferences: Why You Should Care


Privacy Laws are the New Norm

Countries, states, and provinces across the globe are enacting a patchwork of digital privacy frameworks and cookie consent laws, a few using the acronyms GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act). Although many regions have not yet legislated user privacy protections, web analytics and marketing teams should take note for a few key reasons.

Web Analytics Tools Can Collect Private Personal Data

Digital analytics tracking often entails collecting users’ personal data like IP addresses and browsing behavior. Unprotected, inferences can be made to narrow in on an individual's identity. Let’s walk through a few other reasons you should be proactive about protecting your users’ privacy.

It is a Strategic Advantage to Respect Users' Privacy

  1. First and foremost, it is ethical to conduct business in a respectful way. Aside from sanctions and legal liability for violating user privacy, there is nothing gratifying about violating user trust. You can gain affinity with your user base if you noticeably respect their privacy and in turn they are more likely to become engaged, long-term customers. Digitally stalking users and incessantly spamming them with the products they last viewed can decrease trust and engagement, harming your business’ reputation and inviting revenue loss.
  2. Creating cookie and privacy preference management features on your site reduces your risk of litigation and builds a trusting relationship between you and your customers. You may have users that opt out because they don’t want to be tracked, but the users that opt in may be more engaged and willing to provide preference information. Chances are good that users that opt out probably didn’t intend on providing additional signals that can be used for segmentation and marketing in the first place.
  3. Being a trustworthy company that people feel comfortable doing business with is a competitive advantage. You can choose to have your user experience reflect a pushy, relentless car salesperson that follows a prospect around the lot and applies pressure or you can have a usable, helpful experience that fosters stickiness and conversion.

Use Marketing Budget More Effectively

It is a better use of marketing spend to track and market to a subset of highly engaged customers that will evangelize your brand than it is to use brute force to trick people out of their privacy so you can use enormous ad spend to follow them with a few extra personalized banner ads. You can build your own trust center or explore tools like OneTrust and Cookiebot to provide privacy and preference management for your website users.

Scott Fillman, EdD
Co-Founder & Analytics Implementation Engineer, Subschema