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Balancing privacy and personalization: 3 factors that influence data-sharing

When we surf the web, we leave traces everywhere.

Everyday we share information about our mood, daily routine, name, address, age, and all kind of preferences. We leave marks on the websites we visit, but also of the physical places we visit, roads we travel, products we buy, and ideas we like or dislike.

This scenario implies both opportunities and risks.

The opportunities relate mostly to the customer experience online or, in other words, the quality of our time spent online, which improves when customers share their preferences. Risks, on the contrary, are represented by privacy issues related to personal data.

But what are the factors that influence customers’ willingness to share personal data in exchange of some kind of gain – such as a better user experience, discounts, or rewards? We found three main reasons.


1. Trust

The first, crucial factor is trust. Trust is the basis of social coexistence, web included, particularly when it comes to brands. People trust their favorite brands as much as their favorite people, and they are willing to share personal data with them just like they do with their closest friends. This is why the ability of companies to convey a sense of strong attention to privacy and security is essential.


2. Our preferences

It may sound obvious, but what influences where and to what extent customers actually share personal data are their own preferences. We are usually open to sharing our information on websites or apps that we like or that we visit often. Conversely, we are less likely to fill out endless forms or questionnaires for services we do not like very much or frequent very little.


3. The payoff

The third and last factor is critical, and can be summed up with the idiom “give to get.” In short, the customer is willing and happy to share personal data if, and only if, he gets something in exchange. Typically, the payoff can consist of special promotions or offers. However, on the web the types of payoffs are varied, and can also include a simple (but relevant) improvement of the customer experience. In this case, customers deliberately decide to share personal preferences to improve their user experience. In this way, marketers are able to conceive and provide specific messages for every customer.


The marketing strategies that were born to improve this process of adaptation of messages depending on the users’ preferences are traditionally targeting and clustering (we talked about it here). However, to create an actual custom-made experience tailored to each client’s preferences, the only answer is personalization.

A valid example of this approach is Doxee Personalized Video, which allows companies to engage in one-to-one dialogue with each client through ad hoc video messages able to boost the quality of the customer’s experience. In this way, clients’ willingness to share personal data is leveraged and maximized. In fact, Doxee’s Personalized Videos are different for each client, and they are built specifically on the basis of the data that each person has intentionally decided to share previously. In this way, while privacy protection is guaranteed, Doxee allows users to improve their own experience depending on their willingness to share data. The more data a user shares, the better the quality of communications.

An even bigger opportunity for both the recipient and sender is to capture a customer’s interest in “real-time,” and then change the story that is told, For example, through the power of personalized interactive video or what is now “acronymized” as PIV, the customer can make selections and self-identify what areas are of interest. This can include content in the video itself, or information available via web page links. What options the viewer selects within the video are critical to understanding where they are in the “buying process,” and can be put back into the analytic engines that drive the next customer communication.

In conclusion, users are increasingly aware of the value of their personal data and are more and more careful to share them only with trustworthy companies. However, by itself, this is not enough to ensure the capture of user’s data. The key to success is to provide relevant, engaging content based on what you know about customers, and what you learn. Self-empowered user experiences are what customers want, and what you can use to capture invaluable psychographic data that advance the two-way dialogue.

Learning the reasons why customers share their personal data — and using it to optimize the customer experience — is one of the secrets to success in marketing. Find out how Doxee-enabled personalization can help you generate interest, effectively use and capture relevant data, and evoke a positive response.

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