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Data Fatigue: Individuals Are Weary Of Organizations Using Their Data

Data fatigue is real. Generally, the phrase has been used to illustrate the overwhelming amount of data that is coming into (for example) marketing departments. The all-important “data-driven strategy” has caused marketers to drown in massive amounts of incoming information, sacrificing other important pieces of the job, such as creativity. But where is all this data coming from? Individuals. And, at the other end of the equation, they are also experiencing data fatigue. 

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Our recent study into consumer data usage and privacy, We found that people feel helpless in the face of organizations using their data. A vast majority (70%) of people want greater control over their data and how it is shared, but a relatively small amount feel that they can gain this type of control. For example, 36% know apps and devices use their data when they agree to their terms and conditions, but don’t feel like they have a choice. Only 39% feel that they have any control at all over how their personal information is collected and used by organizations. 

This isn’t the whole picture though. People do believe and understand that society is being powered by their data. They know that, just by living their lives, they are leaving a vast data footprint that isn’t going away, and some even believe that there are societal benefits to sharing data when it is used properly (29%). Despite a basic understanding that data sharing can be beneficial, the consequences of things like privacy breaches are receiving close attention, with more than one-third of our respondents saying they’ve been negatively impacted. 

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A more “refreshing” route 

What we all need is balance. With a whopping 82% of individuals experiencing some level of concern on the collection and use of their data, organizations need to find a better solution. This is just the beginning. Organizations will continue to run into challenges as they seek greater access to consumer data. Prioritizing privacy and transparency, alongside providing more control to consumers when it comes to their data, are just a few things that can set us on the right path.

This means going far beyond the point-in-time interaction and giving respondents a consistently great experience that protects their privacy, builds trust and allows them to choose when and what to share. Our study found that 55% of individuals would share more data if they felt an organization was being more transparent and building trust and 57% say they’d be likely to share more data if they felt their privacy was protected.

Organizations need quality data to make decisions. People are weary of worrying about their privacy, their data and how it is being used. This means that it is essential to create an environment that puts consumer trust, comfort and privacy first. Key principles to employ include, but are not limited to:

  • Giving consumers custody and control over their own data (data sovereignty)
  • Baking privacy into systems and processes to meet what will certainly become increased consumer demands (privacy by design)
  • Providing a clear window into how data is being used, in a safe way that doesn’t compromise privacy (transparency)

These are some steps that can build trust, providing the foundation for consumers to willingly share the data brands need (including previously inaccessible behavioral data). It’s time to address data fatigue, thoughtfully and strategically, in order to continue accessing the critical consumer information needed for organizational decision-making. 

[To share your insights, please write to us at sghosh@martechseries.com]

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