Eye peeking through private data.
Len Smofsky Dec 11 ,2018

If you’ve read some of our articles in the past, you’ll know that we are devoted advocates of personalized video content. After all, we have our own personalized video platform – it’s our bread and butter.

We believe in the power of personalized videos because they increase customer engagement and can boost conversion rates significantly. With that said, there is a rising concern associated with personalized content that has become a modern dilemma of sorts.


A perceived lack of privacy. One study found that 75% of consumers surveyed found personalization to be a bit creepy. However, almost half of those involved in the study said they wouldn’t do anything about the “creepiness” and would continue to shop with the brand.

Another 22% said they’d look around for other brands, 21% said they’d tell their friends and family, and 9% said they do/would write negative reviews on the internet about brands who take personalization “too far”.

After reading these numbers, you might ask: “How should I proceed?”


The other side of the personalization coin is this: Consumers love it.

Consider the stats in the survey mentioned above once more. Half of the participants said they would continue shopping with a brand even if they felt their data was over-exposed.

In other words, they still privilege personalization over absolute privacy.

A 2016 report from Accenture revealed that brands lacking personalized experiences resulted in a loss of $756 billion. Other reports have shown a 20% increase in sales from personalized experiences, with customers 26% more likely to open emails when personalized to them.

And let’s not forget the popularity and adoration of brands such as Netflix, Spotify, and just about every other top-selling app out there. They thrive largely because of their abundance of personalization features.

Personalized content is powerful and its here to stay. But how do we get over the privacy issue?


Transparency. Just being honest about how you’re using your customers’ data will close the trust gap.

Here’s an illustration you’ll appreciate as a business owner or manager: you hire a consultant to give you some pointers on what you could do to improve vital business processes. They quote you a price – let’s say they charge $3,000 to complete three to four tasks.

However, when those tasks are complete, they “decide” that another task – let’s say a series of audits – needs to be added. Now the price goes up to $4,500. Even if those audits were essential, you might feel cheated and deceived because they weren’t transparent about the entire project from the start. Your level of trust in them will drop, and you probably wouldn’t hire the consultant (or recommend) them again.

The same principle applies when it comes to personalized videos and privacy. Be upfront with your customers and they won’t make a big deal about their data being in your hands. But keep in them in the dark, and they just might call it quits with you.


  • Make “data usage” clear – Don’t bury the terms of data usage in dense paragraphs of size three font. Go against the grain here and clearly state how customer data will be used, with whom it will be shared, and for what purpose.
  • Give customers data sharing options – If possible, give customers options in terms of what data they want to share. Keep in mind that this could cut them off from certain personalized experiences, but if your content is good enough, they might allow it anyway.
  • Stay away from content that’s overly intrusive – Strive to create personalized video content that doesn’t put you in potentially compromising legal situations. That means avoiding experiences that may require intrusive personal details or expose overly-sensitive data to outside and undisclosed parties.


Privacy is an anxiety-inducing concern for many people nowadays.

With movements like GDPR in Europe and recent scandals such as the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica fiasco, we can see that data privacy is an issue that challenges modern technology.

Nevertheless, you can overcome the privacy challenges of personalized video content as long as you are transparent and get permission from customers where applicable. By doing so, you don’t have to sacrifice the opportunities of personalized content and you’ll avoid violating the standards of customer privacy.

About the author: Len Smofsky

Len Smofsky

Len has over 25 years of experience in visual communications and strategy. Over the last decade his focus has been primarily in the digital area.

Specializing in corporate communications, Len founded one of Canada’s most successful production companies. His company created leading edge video production, TV commercials, digital strategy and media.

In 2006, Len and Larry formed a partnership to create a new BlueRush with the intent of creating personalized customer experiences using a unique blend of digital media and deep technology capabilities. BlueRush works with clients in the financial services, healthcare and packaged goods industries leveraging current digital technologies and services, creating great user experiences at all points in the customer journey.


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