Tougher Data Privacy Rules Are a Scammer’s Nightmare but Ethical Marketers Can Stay Calm

Tougher Data Privacy Rules Are a Scammer’s Nightmare but Ethical Marketers Can Stay Calm

If your business model includes secretly spamming people ceaselessly with retargeting ads, start worrying. Otherwise, you'll be happy to know you can still get Cambridge Analytica levels of influence without invading your customer's privacy. Here are the Cambridge Analytica rumors we're assuming are true: The agency gained access to personal data of millions of Facebook users. This data provided leverage that turned underdog campaigns into winners The GDPR rests on these foundational pillars, all of which we can expect to be present in most forthcoming data privacy regulations: Data Protection -- If you are collecting data it's your responsibility to protect it Clear Communication -- You must disclose your plans for using data and use it only for that purpose Affirmative Choice -- Give people the right to opt-in and opt-out of having their data stored or used Data protection is a technical issue beyond what we'll cover here. Here are three evergreen digital influence principles that will allow you to do just that: 1. Be transparent Tell people why you want their data and what you plan to do with it. All your marketing must add value. If you can't be transparent, it's time to stop doing and sharing what doesn't benefit your audience as much as, or more than it benefits you. Every part of the process adds value, so you're happy to opt-in. Highlighting benefits instead of features is more important than ever.

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Tougher Data Privacy Rules Are a Scammer's Nightmare but Ethical Marketers Can Stay Calm

We have witnessed a tipping point in digital marketing.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal marked the moment the average person realized the influence possessed by digital marketers. When the agency was exposed for gaining improper access to 87 million Facebook profiles, the public was jarred awake.

Evidence the social profile data was used to sway the 2016 US presidential election and the UK’s 2016 Brexit referendum is forcing governments and digital platforms to create rules protecting data and privacy. The European Union’s General Data Protection Rule, California’s Consumer Privacy Act and Facebook’s culling of hundreds of apps for data misuse are examples of what is to come.

What’s this mean for small businesses?

This is both a frightening and exhilarating time in the world of digital advertising. Data-driven targeting — available on most sophisticated ad platforms — has given every marketer leverage once reserved for those spending millions. Looming regulation has small businesses unsure of whether the retargeting features they rely upon today will be around tomorrow.

If your company plans to use digital advertising going forward, you have no choice but to adapt. That said, I’m not worried, and you probably shouldn’t be either.

We’ve seen this before.

Shake ups like this are great for good marketers. Abuse of the telephone brought the Do Not Call List. Email spam birthed the CAN-SPAM Act and SEO spammers forced Google penalties like Penguin, Hummingbird and Panda. In every case, the regulation cleaned up much of the riff raff and left the experts to continue prospering.

If your business model includes secretly spamming people ceaselessly with retargeting ads, start worrying. Otherwise, you’ll be happy to know you can still get Cambridge Analytica levels of influence without invading your customer’s privacy.

The digital advertising roadmap going forward.

Cambridge Analytica happened and there’s no going back. Now, your goal must be to figure out how you can leverage the power of data-driven targeting without the unwanted backlash. To do that, let’s assume the rumors about Cambridge Analytica’s “superpowers” are true. Once we know what that power looks like, we can determine how to stay compliant with protective laws like the GDPR and keep your audience happy while savoring every drop of data-driven power.

Here are the Cambridge Analytica rumors we’re assuming are true:

  • The agency gained access to personal data of millions of Facebook users.
  • It used this data to influence large groups of people to act favorably for its clients.
  • This data provided leverage that turned underdog campaigns into winners

The GDPR rests on these foundational pillars,…

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