Data location vendor worked with GDPR regulator on data consent model, yielding 70% opt-in rates
Teemo says that transparency gives consumers a sense of control and they respond positively as a result.
Last August French privacy regulator CNIL cited two French location-intelligence companies (Fidzup and Teemo) as non-compliant with GDPR consent rules (as well as French privacy law). Both companies supply location data, collected from mobile apps, to retailers and brands for targeting and attribution. The companies were given 90 days to come into compliance.
Privacy regulators wanted help. That was the public story. However, CNIL did this as a means of reaching out to Teemo to help define a consent process for the collection and transfer of location data in the absence of clear guidance in the formal regulations. CNIL picked companies as examples to bring awareness to the need for clarification of the rules. That’s according to Teemo CEO Benoit Grouchko.
Teemo then worked cooperatively with CNIL to develop specific consent language around third-party use of location data. The screen below was created with input and approval from CNIL and is now rolling out broadly across France. Presumably it will be a kind of template for others seeking to collect location data and potentially other categories of data.
New Teemo location-data consent form (geolocation preferences)
Source: Teemo (Feb. 2019)
Getting consent to third-party use of location data. Roughly translated, the notice above says that the app being used is free because it is supported by advertising. It goes on to state that ads can be personalized and nearby offers made available from third party partners and advertisers through the smartphone owner’s consent to the use of location and the device ID. It reassures users they can later withdraw consent if desired.
The key element here is specific notice that user location data is being shared with third parties. There’s also a prominent link to a list of those third party companies (partenaires géomarketing). There’s another link that spells out what user rights are (exercer vos droits).
Opt-in rates approaching 80 percent. Teemo’s Grouchko said that the company has seen a very strong response to this language so far. “We see opt-in rates that can go as high as 80 percent when we’re transparent about data sharing with third parties,” he said. “We were positively surprised by the numbers.”
Grouchko offered the theory that with transparency comes a sense of control. He argued that the majority of users are less concerned when they feel they have control over their data, adding that how and when companies seek consent matters. “When the user experience is better we see more than 70 percent opt-in rates and not less than 50 percent.”
This is not unlike asking users to opt-in to receive notifications. When it’s done in context and makes sense to the end user, opt-in rates are higher.
Why you should care. Grouchko believes that the U.S. market is where Europe was a couple of years ago regarding data, privacy and public awareness. Most location data companies have been reluctant to discuss these issues with the public directly for fear of scaring or alienating audiences.
But by not tackling the issue head on, journalists have stepped into the communications void with articles that imply or explicitly argue companies are deceiving consumers. In reality there’s a spectrum of behavior and there are better and worse practices, good actors and bad actors. Regardless, marketers and data providers can no longer avoid the conversation with consumers; U.S. laws are about to change.
“We need, as an ecosystem, to do the right thing,” says Grouchko. “We may lose a bit of data but it’s absolutely necessary.” He points out that the French example shows that fears of a “datageddon” are way overblown. “Not only has the market survived, but it has come out better because it’s much more sustainable now.”