Staff Writer

There are plenty of reasons to make sure your code is clean and that you’ve plugged any potential security gaps in your mobile app. Here’s another one: it can be a significant competitive advantage.

Several independent studies have shown that as many as 85% of mobile applications have at least one vulnerability when initially deployed. That’s why 80% of organizations report their company is at risk from mobile threats and those threats are increasing.

If you are the app developer that leads to a security breach, there are potential legal and financial consequences — especially if it’s a flaw you should have caught. Beyond that, the damage to your reputation can be catastrophic. According to Forrester Research, the majority of consumers say they would not buy again from a company that caused a data breach or even one that shared their information with a data broker.

Privacy and Security as a Selling Point

E.U.’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have raised the profile of data privacy for consumers. Recent news reports about high-profile data breaches have only added to public awareness. People are more aware of data privacy and security than ever before. Companies are starting to use data protection and privacy as a competitive advantage in marketing.

Inspiring Customer Confidence

Whether your mobile app is for businesses or consumer-facing, when you can demonstrate privacy and security, you increase confidence in your app. Consumers want to know their data is safe and they have some level of control. Businesses must protect their proprietary data and take proactive steps to safeguard it. The more confidence you can inspire with both consumers and businesses, the better chance you have to market your apps.

Marketing to Privacy Actives

People are giving more than just lip service to data privacy and security these days. The Cisco Consumer Privacy Study looked at evolving consumer attitudes about protecting their data. The survey uncovered what it called a new group of people they deemed “Privacy Actives.” This group, which accounts for 32% of those surveyed, not only puts a premium on data privacy, but they have actively switched companies, providers, or apps because of data privacy or security concerns. These Privacy Actives can cost you business if you aren’t taking their concerns seriously.

Here’s the good news in this: this group is more likely to switch if you can convince them your app is serious about privacy and security. It’s also a significant target group for marketers. They tend to be younger and more affluent. They are also more than twice as likely to see themselves as early tech adopters.

When it comes to marketing to the privacy and security-conscious, go directly to your customers and ask them what level of privacy and security they need to see in your products. Make them part of the process in the same way you would get feedback on user experience (UX) in your app. Use what you find to enhance your app and to help you avoid potential pitfalls. Make privacy and security part of your overall marketing strategy. This means putting the message front and center. Don’t bury your policies in an endless TOS. If possible, shorten (and simplify) your privacy and security policies in a way that people can actually understand them. Make it clear how you are using their data and how you are protecting it.

Building Trust & Reputation

It’s not just Privacy Actives that will avoid your products if you don’t care about their data — 61% of all people surveyed said they won’t use apps or products if they don’t trust how the data is handled. This goes well beyond the actual security of their data. The majority of people said their impression of the company producing the product is shaded by the priority the company puts on security and privacy. And 67% of people responding agreed with this statement: ”How they treat data is how they treat me.” That means if they think your mobile app isn’t secure, it will cast your entire company in a negative light.


The majority of senior business professionals in a recent survey said marketing data protection in mobile business apps is an effective way to attract new customers. Perhaps that’s why 75% of companies are now marketing data protection as a way to attract new customers. Mobile app security can be a competitive advantage if you embrace it. If you fail to do so, you risk losing customers.