During Privacy Battle, Brands Adjust Location Targeting Strategy

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Can privacy and personalization ever be compatible? It’s not a question consumers regularly ask, even though concerns over targeting and apps that continuously log location data grow greater by the day. For marketers, however, the answer to whether privacy and personalization can coexist, and what happens to location data in the wake of tightening restrictions, has important ramifications.

Will marketers be able to continue to deliver the personally curated experiences their customers have come to expect without storing sensitive data? And how will changes like Facebook’s recent privacy update, which limits how much location data is sent to the company, impact brand marketers in the long term?

As Dan McCormick sees it, retailers and brands right now are caught in a bind. As the co-founder and chief operating officer at Constructor.io, a firm that provides advanced search services to websites, McCormick has worked with ecommerce marketplaces and stores utilizing the latest in targeting and personalization strategies. He says retailers right now understand the extraordinary value of customer data, but they are also keenly aware that more and more consumers are wary of having their data collected.

“Sweeping legislation like GDPR in Europe and Facebook’s recent pivot toward privacy has retailers on edge about how to leverage data while addressing consumers’ privacy concerns,” McCormick says.

According to BIA/Kelsey’s latest forecast, national brands will spend $62.7 billion to reach local consumers this year, a $600 million increase compared to 2018. Multi-location brands are now spending 25% of their budgets on location-based marketing, and more than 50% are using location data to target customers. But tightening restrictions on location privacy could threaten to upend the burgeoning market.

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