How Marketing Is Being Impacted by Facebook’s Error
By now, practically everyone has heard about (now defunct) Cambridge Analytica for all the wrong reasons.
You can find our summation of the events here.
The really short version?
Cambridge Analytica used questionable means to access Facebook user data, then used that data to target voters for political campaigns. When Facebook found out, they told Cambridge Analytica to discontinue their use of the data but didn’t inform Facebook users their data had been compromised. Cambridge Analytica continued to use the data to aid the Trump campaign and eventually the story broke, Facebook landed in hot water and people began to ask questions.
Aside from Facebook’s losses, the marketing world lost something too—it’s insider ways of dealing with data. Consumers are suddenly aware of how their data may be collected and used, amplifying existing insecurities and creating new ones.
But just what kinds of new big data concerns did Cambridge Analytica bring to the table?
- Consumers Are Beginning to Consider Big Data Collection in Meaningful Ways
In the marketing world, it’s an open secret that some companies collect data in some pretty shady ways.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal drew significant attention to this, and now more than ever, the average consumer is considering data collection and how it affects them. They’re asking questions like, “how is my data being accessed?” and “is my privacy being invaded?”.
The answer to those questions is simple: If it’s online, it’s accessible and probably being accessed.
- Consumers Are Going to Protect Their Data More Vigorously
If there’s one thing that has consumers on edge right now, it’s privacy protection. In the minds of consumers, Cambridge Analytica has taken their user information and dishonestly repurposed it for maximum marketing efficiency.
It isn’t just Cambridge Analytica that has consumers worried—from Yahoo!’s 2014 data breach to the omni-present threat of those pesky Russian twitter bots, people are generally freaked out about who can access their data and what they might be able to do with it.
Naturally, they want to protect something, and in the digital world, the only thing they have to protect is their data. In the wake of Cambridge Analytica, people have begun to educate themselves on exactly what data from their Facebook user profiles is accessible. Most major social media platforms have rolled out new user terms of service and privacy agreements in the interest of retaining users with privacy concerns.
- Consumers Will Be More Suspicious of Targeted Marketing Efforts
When sponsored posts first began to appear in our Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds, they weren’t as frequent and tended to be more generalized, mostly used by larger, well-known companies just looking to reach broader audiences via a popular digital medium.
In recent years, targeted marketing via social media has become incredibly efficient, largely thanks to segmented marketing strategy utilizing aggregated data. At first, people assumed that it was due to their internet search habits (which is partially true), but the Cambridge Analytica scandal has made consumers far more concerned about corporate data acquisition and use.
Rather than simply assuming marketers are using their search queries to generate advertisements, consumers are beginning to realize just how specified target marketing efforts are becoming—and they’re more than a little put off.
- Consumers May Be Worried About “Logging in With Facebook”
For the average consumer Facebook has found its way into becoming a means of digital convenience. Choosing to “login with Facebook” has become a quick and convenient way to access accounts on many websites people frequent on a regular basis.
Consumers are beginning to understand that those seemingly innocuous terms they agree to by logging in with Facebook are actually collecting significant amounts of data on them, and the more apps they log in with via Facebook, the more data is added to their profile.
Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal has opened the average user’s eyes to the ways data can be collected, particularly from apps, this feature may start to shift from a point of convenience to a point of contention.
While those in the marketing world understand these concerns, we also have a more nuanced view of big data’s benefits and security when responsibly accessed and utilized. We understand that when data is well regulated and aggregated, personal details become lost within the more useful and generalized segmented consumer profiles used in direct marketing.
The point is, in the new era Cambridge Analytica has so clumsily ushered in, it’s important to convey this nuanced understanding to your consumer. Helping customers understand your responsible data collection and usage will ultimately earn their trust, resulting in their willingness to share data or at least tolerate continued collection and aggregation of it.
Cambridge Analytica, ironically, might have finally exposed the lacking big data ethical standards that they so readily took advantage of.
About Hayden Sammak
Hayden has been a key contributor to the Stratabytes blog since 2016. A college student at Temple University, he brings powerful insights to the millennial generation’s reaction to current events, as well as marketing, social media and advertising trends. When he’s not providing Tips & Tricks to our blog readers, Hayden enjoys cooking and spends much of his free time reading. He is also an avid fly-fisherman and all-around outdoor enthusiast. He is currently pursuing his undergrad degree in English.