You probably don't like seeing advertisements everywhere you go if you're like me. They're annoying, making it hard to focus on what's important. As the world moves toward a more digital way of life, many businesses adapt to this changing landscape. With billions of people connected to the internet and a near-endless amount of information available at their fingertips, advertisers have no shortage of options for which demographics they can target. The problem? One person's data is another person's gold mine. Many companies have been using data from users' browsing habits to personalize ads without asking for consent or knowledge to maximize their profits. Not only does this cause an invasion of our privacy, but it also leads to irreversible damage to our mental health and relationships [1].

More than 80% of a company's data is typically unregulated [2], which means extensive data visibility is limited. Data minimization is a new form of advertising that relies solely on already stored user information rather than collecting data as they move through their digital lives. It can make ads less intrusive and more relevant and save users from having to share unnecessary information with advertisers. So how do we find a balance between data minimization and personalization?

Role of Advertising

We all know how annoying it can be when dealing with ads. We’ve all been annoyed and delayed by advertisements, whether on our computers or phones. But that might not be the case for long. In the last decade, the amount of time we spend on our phones has increased dramatically. As a result, we’re now using our phones as mini-computers instead of just making calls and texting people. This shift in behavior has led to a change in how advertisers market to us. They’re now following us around the internet with customized ads that reflect our recent searches and interests.

Most consumers are unaware that they are being tracked by these companies when they search on Google or visit websites with advertising programs. These companies track your data as soon as you wake up until you go to bed to present you with ads online.

With increased pressure on companies to protect their customers’ data, the future of advertising may be data minimization. With GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) now in full effect, many digital advertisers are looking for new methods to collect data without infringing on customer rights. One possible solution gaining traction is data minimization which I’ll deal with in the following section.

What is Data Minimization and its Role in Advertising

Data minimization is the new frontier for advertisers. There are many ways the advertising world evolves, but data minimization is one of the most interesting ones. It’s an approach to digital advertising that only delivers the most relevant ads to consumers. They get fewer ads overall and are exposed only to more personalized ones. And so advertisers can get better results while respecting user privacy simultaneously. This less invasive approach could also help avoid some fears of using big data for advertising purposes, such as cyber breaches and privacy issues.

Why would Advertisers Care about Data Minimization?

GDPR requires entities to request consent to collect personal data. This regulation aims to protect European citizens' privacy and eliminate the risk of hacking or another misuse. Data minimization means companies spend less effort collecting information about their customers. Companies may also find it easier to comply with regulations without spending too much time collecting data.

How can you adapt it today?

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Many companies are going to be looking for a solution for GDPR compliance. If you are a digital advertiser, you should start thinking about how data minimization can work in your company. Social media is the number one driver of traffic for most businesses today, and it's tough to get ads on Facebook without collecting personal information from users.

  • Cookie Tracking- One way to adopt data minimization is by using a cookie instead of your typical email list. Cookie tracking doesn't require as much user information. It won't collect any personal information from your site visitors unless they give it willingly after being made aware of what will happen with their data.
  • Privacy Friendly Search Engines- Often, the lack of privacy stems from a lack of information. Promoting alternate options to traditional search engines allows users to gain awareness and, in turn, helps users adapt to more secure forms of search. Organizations benefit by encouraging privacy-friendly options to stay compliant with data regulations and control the data shared.
  • Restricting Information Shared- Another potential solution is limiting what information is shared with social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Restricting information sharing will help reduce the number of targeted ads displayed.

Finally, it's important to remember that not all advertising is bad. Advertisements can be helpful if they're educating or offering something new and innovative. They may provide ways to save money and improve the consumer's life. The key here is to research what type of ads are being served up and how they'll benefit the consumer.

Conclusion

If you’re an advertiser, data minimization is a must. It’s the key to differentiating yourself in a sea of competitors and getting the most out of your advertising spend. If you’ve been asking yourself how to adopt data minimization for your company, the answer is simple: by following these four steps:

1) Define what data you can collect and store responsibly

2) Determine what data you can get away with not storing

3) Develop a process for anonymizing your data

4) Make sure you have a solid security plan in place

By following these steps, you can limit how much of a user’s data you store and collect, which will help your company stay compliant with new privacy laws.

References:
[1] When targeted ads feel a little too targeted, https://bit.ly/3g5E3NA.
[2] 80 Percent of Your Data Will Be Unstructured in Five Years, https://bit.ly/3rVkxsA.