Open data supercharges data-driven decision-making. Without it, business growth, innovation, and customer intelligence would be decades behind.
Data made the world wide web possible. Now, open data helps people achieve once impossible ideas. Over the last several decades, a free flow of data powered an internet economy capable of generating millions of jobs and contributing trillions of dollars to the US economy.
During this period of unprecedented innovation, many platforms built on top of the web have grown into dominant walled gardens. Each wields enormous power and influence in our everyday lives, ranging from how we work to socialization habits. In response, governments worldwide have restricted data flow to protect consumer privacy and rein in Big Tech’s influence.
The EU’s General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) helped citizens gain control over their data and introduced significant regulation over data collection practices. Since 2018, multiple states have enacted new laws, including California, Virginia, Colorado, and Utah.
Similarly, media platforms such as Twitter and the Apple App Store created privacy policies in the name of consumer trust—and woke users. However, considering the platforms’ dominant influence over internet usage, the guidelines are nothing short of self-serving, making these walled gardens even more prevalent. Each platform controls a user’s access to network-based content, making it difficult to leave.
Benefits of Open Data
Our connected world demands open data. The list of benefits is endless. Whether you are a company or marketer, open data has potential you can leverage for your specific needs or use case, including reducing costs.
As the internet evolves, so too must rules and regulations to ensure equity and value for society. Here are the primary benefits of open data on the web marketers should consider:
- Business growth
- Customer intelligence
Many of the businesses you know and trust launched new products and services using open data. Therefore, the notion that good data will always cost money isn’t accurate. Data contributes to the richness of the internet, enabling us to use various devices to easily navigate websites, find the information we need, and communicate with others.
Imagine only seeing ads for goods and services you want—and at the right time in your life. What would you think of advertising if it actually benefited you and wasn’t a nuisance? Access to open data on customer intelligence helps marketers give you what you want, when you want it.
So, while the internet has swung from open to closed systems due to monopolies over data, most of the digital advertising industry relies on the open web. And while we support responsible laws to safeguard data privacy from bad actors, we also advocate for data usability to maintain a functioning internet economy.
Balancing Open Data and Peoples’ Privacy
Open data provides utility: it helps us find the information that matters most to us and filters out the content not relevant to us. Without access to helpful data, data scientists and marketers can’t create the targeting tools required to design cohesive customer experiences. The question moving forward is can we protect privacy and data without damaging the internet as we know it?
The web’s openness is one of its greatest strengths, providing access to interconnected people on an unprecedented scale. Ham-fisted regulatory solutions may sink the user experience on the modern web, which is core to everyday lives. Even the walled garden experience would likely suffer due to less competition.
We must also consider how any privacy policies will affect stakeholders in a digital ecosystem, from consumers to governments and companies of all sizes. This includes the smallest mom-and-pops and the world’s largest platforms.
Before You Go
Again, data privacy is essential, but so is usability. So the web must balance both concerns. A data as a service company (DaaS) must comply with all privacy laws to protect customers and earn their trust. At the same time, we believe it would be a failure of capitalism if fewer businesses had access to the data they need to fulfill their missions and innovate.