All businesses that run today have one key asset common to all. It is known as data, and specifically the data of their existing and potential customers. This data can come from our search history to what we bought from Amazon or what advertisement we clicked on Instagram.
The data may include our name, gender, preferences, marital status, and even our addresses.
The perpetual growth of enterprise requires a perception of two key players: current and potential consumers. The greater you know them, the more you can enhance the way they interact with your product(s) and if they will even be targeted by your product or not.
How is the data collected?
These days, as companies have evolved, they have found new ways of collecting data. But, unfortunately, so much of it is compiled with us subconsciously knowing but eventually doing nothing about the same. We do not realize that this small amount of data is crucial for the company in our everyday lives.
In the age of continuous connectivity, watches, phones, and the Internet of Things (IoT), customer data is being collected right around the clock. Machines can now quickly identify your face through a camera eye and even recognize your voice through a microphone. Additionally, they can register your financial transactions every time you make a purchase.
The following data like demographics, health activity, patterns, preferences, locations, and much other information is collected daily. And although we might take some precaution steps, collecting this data aims to improve our customer experience — so it’s easier to neglect and enjoy it.
But, still, want to know how companies do it? See the points below:
No, these are not your everyday treats. These are virtual cookies. Cookies support companies in tracking visitors, outlining multiple page views and single visits, ensuring unique web pages, and allowing users to stay logged in. So thank these cookies for not having to re-enter your passwords daily.
Ever seen a pop-up on your screen requesting your permission for cookies? Well, everyone sees that so many times in a day. Yes, that irritating pop-up which you accept without reading. Clear out cookies on your devices regularly and avoid accepting them for one-time visits to a website.
In-Store free Wi-Fi
Ever walked into a Starbucks or any other retail shop, and you were always ready to provide any number of details for free Wi-Fi? We have all been there.
Companies that offer free Wi-Fi not only obtain the info from your social media profile or email address, but they can also follow your activity on the network inside the shop.
With your Wi-Fi activity, they can see if you hovered onto Amazon inside their store or did any other activity on the Internet of their value to help decide on your purchase. This information is critical to know how consumers react to low prices, in-store deals, Amazon price matches, etc.
Use a VPN while surfing public Wi-Fi, or better yet, use your hotspot and avoid all the hassle.
Social Media Activity
We know for a fact that social media giants track you. They follow every single move of yours, how you interact with a said advertisement, what posts you like, what location you visit, and so on.
Connecting someone’s Google or Facebook account to the log-in of all other platforms has become a model. It is also the simplest way to create an identifier for the customer to tie all other behaviors.
Limiting information sharing on social media is another way to prevent unwanted data collection.
Also, it is highly advisable to check the individual details before making any new connections on social media. You can use the Nuwber database to look up the identity and other information for authenticity. That way, you’ll be able to control who has access to your sensitive information like date of birth, location, etc.
GPS / Location Tracking
Every time you download an app or open a website and allow location permissions, your location is stored. Location data helps these companies to show you the proper advertisement at the right time.
For example, have you ever been to a grocery store, and then when you opened your phone, you see an advertisement for home delivery of groceries from another store? Well, this is due to the GPS tracking of the app.
Block location access when you don’t need it, and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble from data vendors.
It will be fascinating to know that almost all companies monitor how you interact with the email they sent you. For example, they know when you open it, which device, and what links you click.
This data is analyzed to understand better how various apps are used and monitor consumer behavior. Furthermore, targeted advertising, behavioral analytics are being performed using this data.
There are companies known as ‘Data Companies’ who sell our data to another company to target their customers better. A data company may not always be an independent entity. Nowadays, almost all companies purchase or even sell customer data to third parties. Acxiom is one big data company that survives for the individual goal of gathering, analyzing, and selling consumer and business data for targeted promotion operations.
While you can’t stop data companies from using your data, you can minimize the amount of data that reaches them with smart Internet use.
We conclude from the above that companies have so many ways of collecting our data. This article will help you stay more cautious next time you click ‘accept’ on any website, as it might be tracking your locations, selling your data to other vendors, or even tracking most of your web activity.