Summit Snapshot: X-Factor -- Responsible Data Collection for Interest-Based Advertising Across Devices

October 7, 2017

Big Idea: The number of different devices we use is growing -- and so are the ways they’re talking to each other. Companies are trying to keep up, connecting cross-device data and marketing responsibly, to meet consumer expectations.

Innovation at DAA Summit 2017….

As marketers continue to coalesce the customer experience through the myriad devices we interact with on a daily basis -- which comScore now estimates to be between 10 and 12 devices per household -- they are also diligently heeding ethical standards and best practices in an increasingly dynamic ecosystem.

Representatives from companies that are enhancing this customer journey across devices spoke at DAA Summit 2017, offering insights into how they take a responsible, consumer friendly approach to cross-device data and marketing. Emmett O’Keefe, senior vice president of advocacy at the Data and Marketing Association, introduced and moderated the panel, which was titled “X-Factor: Responsible Data Collection for Interest-Based Advertising Across Devices.”

“There’s a lot going on with the question of how to make this cross-device marketing seamless for consumers, but still do it in a responsible manner,” O’Keefe said, opening the discussion. “That's where organizations like DAA [Digital Advertising Alliance] come in in a very significant way. DAA was ahead of the curve and has long been a leader on these issues.”

Guidance to DAA’s Principles for using cross-device data for interest-based advertising came into enforcement effect this February. Even the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cited DAA (page 11) for its role in helping brands define responsible practices in this intricate space. Nonetheless, responding to consumer expectations and preferences between growing numbers of devices remains a complex task for brands, both technically and practically.

Heidi Baltes-Braniff, corporate counsel at Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), discussed how IHG’s huge variety of hotels across the globe strive to offer guests a welcoming and seamless experience, without coming off as creepy or overstepping privacy. 

“We’re all about hospitality, and most people come into our hotels wanting to be recognized, wanting to enjoy the comforts of home in their rooms on multiple screens,” Baltes-Braniff said, noting that this presents IHG with managing “a quagmire of consent issues.”

On the other hand, said Baltes-Braniff, many guests may feel apprehension when it comes to various devices knowing what they want, and would prefer their interactions with the hotel to be manual or through other humans: “It’s about the balancing act of choice, education and information.”

Rachel Glasser, director of digital privacy and partner activation with GroupM, noted the same ambivalence among multimedia consumers, saying that expectations occupy “two extreme ends of the spectrum, with a million things in between.”

Photo: (left to right) Heidi Baltes-Braniff, Corporate Counsel, Intercontinental Hotels Group; Rachel Glasser, Director, Digital Privacy & Partner Activation, GroupM; and Ashish Chordia, CEO & Founder, Alphonso, Inc.

According to Glasser, the project of balancing these varying expectations will only become more elaborate as people incorporate more connected devices into their lives: “The hard thing is trying to gauge what the customer expectation is with new technologies as we create newer and more complex ways to market to people.”

Ashish Chordia, founder and CEO of Alphonso, a leader in TV data and ad metrics, confirmed Glasser’s projection, suggesting that TVs will soon be as connected as any other device. “Anything that can happen on your computer, in theory can happen on these smart TV’s,” he said.

Chordia also agreed that consumer expectations will continue to vary and change, even for individual consumers between different devices and settings. With that, however, he asserted that the ecosystem should continue to focus on the same fundamentals for all consumers.

Photo: (left to right) Ashish Chordia, CEO & Founder, Alphonso, Inc.; Rachel Glasser, Director, Digital Privacy & Partner Activation, GroupM;;Heidi Baltes-Braniff, Corporate Counsel, IHG; Emmett O’keefe, Senior Vice President, Advocacy, Data and Marketing Association

“People expect and want to have transparency; people expect and want to have control,” Chordia said, maintaining that “those two guiding principles generally solve for all extremes and the million pieces in between.”

While expectations will always vary, all panelists agreed that in general customers are embracing an increasingly connected world, sharing more and, as Chordia said, “constantly looking for a conversation with the brand.”

Hence, DAA and its Principles remain a vital asset to brands and companies in a cross-device world, providing guidance on creating notice and choice for consumers, respectful of individual preferences. Indeed all the represented companies have ingrained such responsible practices into their respective cross-device activities, which is informing consumers through transparent practices, and empowering consumers to control their experiences where relevant advertising is in play.

Hear from IHG’s Heidi Baltes-Braniff regarding IHG’s commitment to responsible data collection in a cross-device environment.

Thank you to Charlie Tomb for his editorial support toward our Summit Snapshot 2017 blog series.

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