Until industry standards are set, data transparency will remain a struggle for marketers

Consumers want more personalized online experiences and marketers need data to give them what they want—simple, right? Unfortunately, not quite.

Audiences want custom experiences when interacting with a brand, but they often have concerns about how and where their data is being used. Similarly, marketers want customer data to make more informed campaign decisions, but aren’t sure how the data platforms they use are obtaining customer information or whether the impression results they receive are fully accurate.

Enter data transparency. Simply put, data transparency involves providing a breakdown of how data is used and a guarantee that what’s being reported is accurate and safely obtained.

The rise of programmatic advertising in particular has led to a need for industry-standard data regulations. A recent Forrester study found that 67 percent of U.S. marketers think the advertising and marketing industries aren’t doing enough to address sharing and transparency challenges. The same study indicates roughly $10.9 billion could be wasted in low-quality display ads by 2021 if the problem of questionable data isn’t better addressed. 

Luckily, it seems that some advertisers are ready and willing to address these challenges. A recent World Federation of Advertisers study revealed that data transparency is moving up the agenda with 62% reporting segment mark-ups and data arbitrage are major priorities for 2018, up from 14% in 2017.

The takeaway? Marketers who are honest about how they source and use data (and better yet, set an industry-wide example for best practices) are more likely to succeed in 2018—especially with the impending GDPR implementation on May 25th.

That said, data transparency is still not a guarantee. Until industry-wide standards are set for how data is used, obtained, and reported, keep the following tips in mind whether you’re a consumer concerned about your personal data or a marketer hoping to create more relevant campaigns.

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