Data Privacy and Marketing

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Data Privacy and Marketing

Examples of platforms that focus on user data privacy and don't sell/share user but also serve as an advertising platform are Minds and Capterra. Trends at the intersection of data privacy and marketing include contextual advertising, data privacy as a competitive advantage, and data onboarding. A deep dive of these findings has been presented below.

High-Privacy Platform Examples


  • Platform Description: Minds is an open source social video network that also has an app component. According to their Crunchbase profile, the "Minds' platform model emphasizes internet freedoms such as free speech, privacy, anonymity, end-to-end encryption, and open source software within their products and delivers viral reach to users who exchange a digital currency for views, allowing users to get rewards for quality content with points and cash rewards from fans."
  • Data Collection: According to the platform's privacy policy, they do not ask users for any personal information unless the information is "required to provide certain features of the services including, but not limited to user rewards, password reset, payments and two-factor authentication or [sales]." Additionally, the company encrypts data both while in motion and while at rest. They also give users control to opt-in the use of their personal information, decide if their data can be collected by the company, and decide if they want to delete their personal information. The company says that they give all users the right to remain anonymous and note that they only collect personal information when it is voluntarily provided by the user.
  • Data Sharing/Selling: The platform's privacy policy states, "Minds does not willfully disclose the Personal Information of our users to anyone except to comply to applicable law or protect our rights."
  • Advertising Platform: Minds has an advertising platform called Boost Campaigns.


  • Platform Description: According to it's Crunchbase profile, "Capterra is the leading online resource for business software buyers. Founded in 1999, Capterra features validated user reviews and independent research across hundreds of software categories."
  • Data Collection: Although Capterra collects some personal data from their users, this data is only collected when its voluntarily provided by users in the form of registering an account and providing reviews on the website. The platform can be used without registering for an account. The company's privacy policy notes that this information is only used to administer services to the user. The company also appears to collect non-PPI data relevant to website behaviors. The company will also collect a user's LinkedIn profile details, only if the user chooses to log in to Capterra via LinkedIn.
  • Data Sharing/Selling: Capterra does not appear to sell or share any personal user data to any third-parties, although it does sometimes transfer data between Gartner's other business lines, as Capterra is a part of Gartner. Additionally, the company said they may share some data with their own service vendors as needed to conduct actions on their website (e.g. payment processors etc).
  • Advertising Platform: Capterra runs a pay-per-click advertising platform for its software vendors.

Trends at the Intersection of Data Privacy & Marketing

Contextual Advertising

  • Within the advertising realm, context-centric advertising has been predicted to be among the biggest trends in media for 2020. Among media professionals surveyed, "82% agree that contextual targeting will gain favor as new legislation (e.g. CCPA, GDPR) gives private individuals more control over their personal data." Likewise, consumers surveyed have reported favor of contextual targeting.
  • According to insights published by Criteo, contextual targeting is when advertisers display ads based on the content of a website. For example, placing an ad for dishes on a recipe website, or an ad for running shoes on a marathon runners forum. Criteo explains contextual advertising as "the digital version of placing a print ad in a niche magazine."
  • Contextual advertising is winning favor among consumers because, while on one hand they want their personal data protected, on the other hand, they still want to see personalized advertising content, say industry experts.
  • Although contextual keyword targeting still involves some compliance risk, suggests Sonia Pham, head of business analysis at Illuma Technology, a key solution to this will likely be AI-based approaches, as these solutions "delivery a more sophisticated way of understanding context and when it might be influential to a campaign." Such solutions are piquing the interest of advertisers.
  • In Spring 2019, Oracle acquired a contextual ad tech company (Grapeshot) for $35 million, which many industry insiders have recognized as a clear indicator of this growing trend.

Data Privacy as a Differentiator/Competitive Advantage

  • According to cybersecurity and data trends expert, Ryan Brooks, companies and brands today face severe reputational risks among consumers if they fail to protect user data. In fact, companies today must promote data privacy as one of their core tenants of business operations in order to gain the trust of consumers.
  • This preference among consumers provides a key opportunity for advertisers and marketers to use the concept of data privacy as a differentiator among their competition, especially considering research that shows only 25% of consumers believe most companies are responsible with their personal data.
  • Likewise, Gartner has predicted that by 2023, brands that provide user-level control of marketing data will "reduce customer churn by 40% and increase lifetime value by 25%."
  • In order to get on the cutting edge of this trend, Ryan Brooks suggests that companies will have to be transparent about what specific data they collect, how it's used, and why, as well as remaining focused on getting consumer consent regarding data collection.
  • According to the Cisco Data Privacy Benchmark Study 2020, businesses that bankroll data privacy practices see an average return of 2.7 times their original investment. Likewise, the Cisco report corroborates the idea that companies investing in privacy are gaining a competitive foothold over their constituents.

Data Onboarding

  • Data onboarding is a digital marketing strategy that AdAge predicts will be worth $1 billion in 2020. "Data onboarding is a data-driven marketing trend that involves the transferring of offline data to an online environment for marketing needs. Data onboarding is mainly used to connect offline customer records with online users by matching Personally Identifiable Information (PII) gathered from offline datasets to find the same customers online."
  • Although data onboarding has been around since the mid-2000s, says martech and business expert, Mike Sands, the practice has been gaining momentum in recent years as advertisers lean towards individualized marketing tactics. Performing these individualized marketing tactics requires a company to 'resolve customer identity' by collecting and matching customer identifiers across touchpoints. Doing so allows marketers to provide personalized content throughout the customer journey.
  • This trend is being driven by the rise of omnichannel marketing. This rise has increased the adoption of data-management platforms and CRM data onboarding, as marketers work to present relevant messaging throughout the omnichannel experience.