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Privacy Protections Spur Companies to Collect Personal Info on Consumers, Build Profiles


New privacy protections from tech giants and governments threaten to staunch the flow of user data that companies have long relied on to target consumers with online ads, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In response to tracking restrictions from Apple and Google, and new privacy laws in California and Europe, brands are rushing to collect their own information on consumers, toward the goal of building detailed customer profiles.

Tactics that brands are deploying to persuade users to share their personal data include loyalty programs, sweepstakes, newsletters, quizzes, polls and QR codes.

Avocados From Mexico, a nonprofit marketing organization that represents avocado growers and packers, is encouraging consumers to submit their grocery receipts to earn points they can redeem for avocado-themed sportswear. To enter a contest to win a truck, consumers scan QR codes on in-store displays and then enter their names, birthdays, email addresses and phone numbers. The group plans to use this information to target ads to customers.

Over the summer, Miller High Life ran an online contest for consumers to win a branded patio set with a bar, stools and neon signs. The company collected the personal details of nearly 40,000 people who signed up, including their email addresses, birthdays and phone numbers. The Milwaukee-based brewer reportedly has amassed more than a million customer profiles and says it hopes to have at least 13 million by 2025.

“You could think it’s a bad thing, like we’re trying to access people’s information, but people actually have no problem sharing that information because they’re getting a benefit out of it as well,” Sofia Colucci, vice president of marketing for Miller, told the Journal.

Chris Chapo, former vice president of advanced analytics for Amperity, a marketing technology firm, said the surge in online sales early in the pandemic allowed some retailers “to know a lot more about you.”

[Illustration credit: golden sikorka]

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