Consumers are beginning to accept that their data is being tracked, but not all data is useful to advertisers—or them.
For the latter, the issue is how the data is generated and used to target an ad. It’s the difference between Reebok using data’s that’s been randomly gathered and saying, “Hey, I noticed a pair of old Nikes in your trash. Want to buy a new pair?” or using data curated and shared by the individual: “I see you’re training for a marathon. These sneakers might help.” For consumers, it means being bombarded by pointless ads.
But a new software tool could change that.
“Everybody sort of recognises that the way our data is being collected is broken,” Marc Guldimann, co-founder of Enliken, said in an interview. “But a free market solution benefits everybody.”
Enliken is free web tracking software that works with nonprofits to help users create a profile of the data they feel comfortable sharing. Created by Carnegie Mellon graduates, it can be launched in two ways: Users visit Enliken directly to install the software, or are emailed by a nonprofit like Autism Speaks and then asked to set it up.
After that, consumers surf and click like normal then occasionally get asked for info like where they shop or what shoes they buy. They’ll always have the choice to opt out, however, so they curate their data on their own terms.
With Enliken, consumers give an accurate snapshot of their habits and preferences that advertisers can use to make smarter ads.
In fact, allowing consumers to cherrypick what they share may be better than taking the legal route, which could block too much tracking thereby putting a clamp on advertisers’ profits and “disrupting the digital economy,” said Guldimann.
“The more data that’s around, the more advertisers can charge from impressions and drive innovation” with social platforms like Facebook, he said.
And consumers will also begin to feel comfortable with tracking data once they recognise the benefits to curating it.
“In the beginning it was all about deleting cookies and ending hacking,” said Guldimann, but “people realise Facebook is worth so much because of it’s data, and now people want their share. People are Ok with data being used to target them with ads, so long as it’s talked about upfront.”
From there, Enliken sells the data it’s aquired to advertisers, then donates a bulk to the nonprofit after it takes a small cut.
Learn more about how Enliken works in the video below: