Can you brief us about yourself, your experience in the industry so far, and how it led you to become the CEO at Qonsent?
Qonsent is the brainchild of a brilliant, diverse group of folks—from the media, marketing, technology, legal, and security industries—that came together to develop a solution that addresses growing data privacy issues. Before co-founding Qonsent in 2021, I was previously the EVP of Data Strategy at WarnerMedia where I oversaw the development of WarnerMedia’s Innovation Lab, the WarnerMedia Investments portfolio, and also led the enterprise-wide data and privacy strategies.
Can you provide an overview of Qonsent and its core offerings as a Privacy Enablement & Engagement Platform? What are the vision, mission, and values of Qonsent?
- Qonsent is a data privacy enablement and engagement platform that helps brands integrate ‘privacy by design’ and ‘privacy by default’ into products and processes to stay compliant, while also rebuilding consumer trust through transparent data practices. We’re setting a new industry standard around Performance Privacy and Performance Giving with our platform, which bridges current market gaps for brands, advertisers, publishers, creators, enterprises, and consumers.
- Our SmartQontract system is an encrypted, auditable ledger-based system that provides a simple, plain-language agreement between the brand and the customer. The system maintains total transparency with the consumer—from Notice & Disclosure, to Informed and Affirmative Consent.
- Qonsent’s mission, vision, and values
- Our mission is to enable compliant, first-party data capture across any consumer touchpoint and to build trust between brands and consumers.
- Our vision is to set a global, cross-industry standard that allows brands to easily comply with data privacy laws while ensuring consumers have complete control over their personal data.
- Our values are collaboration (both internal and external teamwork), innovation, and transparency.
As a CEO and having expertise in Data Strategy & Media Innovation, what are your primary responsibilities and goals within the organization?
In true startup fashion, I proudly wear several hats as CEO—everything from finding new business and closing sales, to UX/CX, design elements, and even marketing. And of course making sure the ship runs smoothly and that anyone on the team can come to me and have open, honest conversations about professional and/or personal issues. We’re a small team and in the trenches together so while there’s never enough time in the day to get everything done, I’ve learned that good leaders will always find time for their team.
Privacy has become a significant concern for individuals and organizations. How does Qonsent help businesses address privacy challenges and ensure compliance with privacy regulations?
- Organizations of all shapes and sizes are developing first-party data strategies to tackle privacy legislation and cookie deprecation.
- Transparency is key when collecting data so clearly outlining and stating the terms (e.g. what, why, when, etc.) allows customers to understand the value exchange and ensures brands meet legal compliance thresholds.
- Our Smart Qontract system is an encrypted, auditable ledger-based system that provides a simple, plain-language agreement between the brand and the customer. The system maintains total transparency with the consumer—from Notice & Disclosure, to Informed and Affirmative Consent.
- Smart Qontract maintains consistency of record to ensure compliance with/across multiple applicable laws such as GDPR, CPA, CPRA, and so on.
Can you provide examples of innovative media campaigns or strategies you have developed that have delivered exceptional results for your clients? What made these initiatives stand out?
- We empower advertisers, marketers, and publishers to capture fully-consented data in a seamless, non-disruptive way through any touchpoint, which leads to a superior customer experience and allows brands to continue customizing their campaigns.
- This data-driven strategy focuses on understanding and catering to individual customer preferences, behaviors, and needs, resulting in more relevant and engaging campaigns.
- Consumer trust is integral to loyalty and has a direct impact on the bottom line. The crux of our technology is offering consumers transparency and the ability to provide consent.
- For instance, through our recently announced engagement with Vericast, we’re helping brands build trust and relationships with consumers and navigate the world of data privacy. In fact, with campaigns that clearly articulate the value exchange, data usage, and offer choice and control in a frictionless way, we are seeing opt-in rates as high as 90%.
With the rise of streaming TV platforms and the increasing concern for data privacy, how do you see the landscape of behavioral advertising evolving in this new data privacy world?
- There are several key trends and developments that are shaping the future of behavioral advertising when it comes to data privacy. Brands are starting to leverage first-party data, which is collected directly from consumers with their consent, to build trust and strengthen engagement without relying on third-party data.
- There’s also a shift toward contextual targeting where ads are displayed based on the content of the page or the context of the user’s current activity, which allows advertisers to deliver relevant ads without directly accessing individual user data.
- Advertisers will also invest in advanced measurement and attribution models to assess the effectiveness of their campaigns without compromising user privacy. These models will focus on aggregated and privacy-safe data, providing advertisers with valuable insights while protecting user identities.
- Streaming providers are offering more ad-blocking and/or ad-free subscription models, which is forcing advertisers to find other, creative ways to deliver value and relevance while respecting consumer preferences for a more ad-free experience.
- Last but not least, these streaming providers are starting to leverage authenticated audiences and their first-party party data to enhance and enrich better addressable audience segment creation.
Biometrics, including technologies like facial recognition and health data, have become increasingly prevalent. How can organizations ensure the responsible and ethical use of biometric data in accordance with privacy regulations?
- Consent is crucial and something I want to stress as many people may not fully understand the implications and potential risks associated with sharing their biometric information. Individuals often have very little control over this type of data once it’s been collected—in fact, they often don’t even know it has been collected in the first place. Add in a lack of transparency of how that data is stored, used, and shared and you have a data privacy nightmare—for consumers, businesses, and governments alike.
- When we’re looking at facial recognition—and even biometrics as a whole—I boil it down to five guidelines that are meant to give organizations a solid starting point:
- Implement privacy by design: Whether you make the technology or simply touch the data, privacy should be an integral part of the system architecture, ensuring that data privacy principles are embedded at every stage of the technology’s development—everything from access controls to security audits.
- Obtain consent through transparency: It’s critical to be transparent with individuals about the collection, storage, and use of their facial biometric data—ensure consent is freely given, specific, and informed.
- Define specific parameters of use: Limiting the use of facial recognition data to specific, legitimate purposes that have been communicated to individuals is key—only collect what you need, minimize the retention period, and safely delete or anonymize data when it’s no longer needed.
- Give users access and control: Give individuals access and granular control over their facial biometric so they can correct, delete, or restrict its use—they should also be able to easily withdraw their consent.
- Keep up with the latest regulations: Regular privacy and security audits will ensure compliance with relevant data protection regulations—GDPR is the most common framework and perhaps ADPPA will one day follow suit.
Can you discuss any specific industries or sectors where data strategy and media innovation have the greatest potential for transformative impact? What unique challenges or opportunities do these industries present?
- Just like with AdTech and MarTech, the IoT sector is ripe for transformation as it faces similar challenges with a lack of interoperability between different OS systems (e.g. Apple v. Google).
- There’s a lack of integrated identity solution systems across them as well. Challenges, once worked on, will become huge opportunities to enable the right collaboration and interoperability between disparate IoT devices, which will make the customer experience seamless and far superior.
- With that comes data integration, identity integration, and privacy integration—challenges that, with the right approach and proper solution, will become a huge opportunity to increase product sales, lead to more advertising opportunities, and streamline systems, personalizations, as well as recommendations between disparate devices.
How do you foster a culture of innovation and data-driven decision-making within your organization?
- Our culture is rooted in team collaboration: an inherent openness to new ideas that anyone can bring to the table. It also involves no small amount of self-education to drive innovation across the team for creative, as well as effective, problem-solving and communication.
- The Qonsent team also offers tremendous value through cross-disciplinary experience. By bringing those different perspectives and areas of expertise together, innovation is at the very heart of everything we do—we learn from each other.
Looking ahead, what are the future plans and developments for Qonsent? Are there any upcoming features or enhancements that organizations and users can anticipate?
- Yes, we have new features and enhancements in the works such as being fully HIPAA compliant, for instance, which is happening very soon.
- Through HIPAA compliance, brands will be able to collect health data in a safe, secure, transparent, and compliant manner. This will create opportunities for more engaging consumer/patient experiences and patients will also have peace of mind knowing exactly how their data is being collected, shared, and stored.
- We’re also going to be rolling out a self-service platform that enables quick access to our market leading user experience products. This will make it far easier for any brand to get up and running and deploying our products and services with very little integration or hand holding.
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