Industry Experts Warn Brands to Improve Customer Data Transparency

At an online privacy event taking place today, industry experts warned that brands risk losing out on the advantages of online media and regulators stepping in to enforce stricter fines if they do not become more transparent about how they gather and use consumer information for marketing purposes.

Professor of Management & Marketing at London Business School and chairman of Which?, Patrick Barwise, commented: "Real consumers don't want to spend their time reading through lots of text and ticking boxes. If you look at Apple's terms of service they are [literally] even longer than Macbeth... There has to be more understanding of what real consumers are doing. We need to come back to actual consumer behaviour."

Timothy Abraham, a director at Xaxis, said that initiatives such as the 'Your Online Choices' campaign have made headway in promoting transparency, which has helped contribute towards a more informed acceptance of online advertising among the public.

He pointed out that there is still a long way to go when it comes to transparency however: "Many people know what cookies are, so while they're not perfect, the fact people know what they are [and don't opt-out of them] is some form of consent from a consumer. [But] if you look at IDFA [Apple's alternative to cookies], then I'd say that most people don't know what that is."

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