Success series
Privacy Law Changes,
Marketing and Trust
Going forward with marketing - the opportunity in the times of lost customer trust
Digital advertising spend outpaced tv advertising globally for the first time in 2017- riding the wave of social media and changing audience habits. But is that wave going to come crashing down on the back of privacy breach scandals and regulation?

We can't predict the answer to that. What we can do as marketers is stay informed about the landscape and be empathetic. In this article, we examine the current turbulent landscape of privacy law changes with the impact on digital platforms. Following the uncertainty and disruption, there lay real opportunity to rebuild customer trust into long lasting loyalty.
"The real question, as the internet becomes more important in people's lives, is what is the right regulation, not whether there should be or not."
Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO
Recent political events have made social media giants the target of scrutiny like never before. This scrutiny is well deserved.

We have given these companies access to an unprecedented amount of data about us in exchange for this new form of media. Lawmakers, the public, and social media companies themselves are only just catching up to the scope of responsibility this power truly requires.
Top takeaways from Zuckerberg's hearings before Congress

The drivers of regulation - insane spying capability
Given that these increased regulation will mean changes to how your business is able to operate it's social media channels. Do you know the scope of personal data Facebook and similar companies are tracking?
Technology tracking capability examples:
  • Where you have been and where you are likely to go: Enable location services and GPS phone tracking allows social media apps to record everywhere you have been, and big data analysis and AI allows social companies to predict where you as an individual are likely to go. How this data is collected, how long its kept, and who else can access it (anonymised or not) is not clear.
  • The Websites you visit, Facebook user or not: Enable browser cookies and the use of tracking pixels allows ad platforms to follow it's users activities all around the web. Facebook uses these networks of pixels to track the web use of it's users AND non Facebook users alike. 'Shadow profiles' of people who don't sign up to the social media site but encounter these pixels, have the users behaviour tracked and predicted.
  • What you and everybody else looks like: Facial recognition features are well known. On Facebook every photo ever uploaded suggesting people tag a friend means they can link that person's appearance to their Facebook profile and any other data Facebook has on you. How they use the ability to recognise almost anyone, anywhere is a major concern as the internet of things and cloud based machine vision AI gives almost anyone access to the necessary tools to track each other on mass. How Facebook protects this data from third parties, let alone how they leverage it themselves, is going to need to be looked at.
  • Sentiment analysis. What mood you are in when writing messages or looking at the camera: Even if you don't take the picture or send the message, they can tell what mood you are in. Facebook has previously patented techniques for Augmenting text messages with emotion information, Techniques for Emotion Detection and Content Delivery, and Systems and Methods for Dynamically Generating Emojis Based on Image Analysis of Facial Features (read about it here). These become predictive tools for adding greater nuance to communication on social media. They allow consumers very emotional states are to be tracked, catalogued and recorded by social media platforms. Knowing that your customer is in a good mood before you show them an ad might be every marketers dream. But is it going to far turning into a dystopian nightmare that governments will have to crack down on?
A thorough and sensible regulatory global framework for online privacy issues is likely decades away. However both countries and companies are under pressure to make changes now. Especially in the face of scandal's like Facebook Cambridge Analytica - where 80 million users data were accessed without permission by a company using Facebook's provided tools.
Regulations are rolling out and the platform changes are painful for marketers
European lawmakers have already passed 'breakthrough' privacy laws (effective 25th May 2018 - The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation - GDPR). This has been Europe's effort to protect its citizens data - but no matter where you live Facebook, Instagram, Google and all other social media platforms have already made changes to try and ensure their services comply by the 25th of May 2018.

Other countries are catching up with their Privacy Policies:
  • Australia Amendments to the Privacy Act 198 (effective 22 February 2018). Read here
  • New Zealand - Privacy Law Reform. Read here

Simultaneously, other changes caused by the Cambridge Analytica scandal are hitting all digital platforms especially Facebook and Instagram. These changes aren't just toothless policy wording either - they are major back end software changes drastically impacting third parties.
    Some changes examples:
    • Instagram reduced allowed API request from third parties from 20,000 and hour to 200 an hour - a massive decrease that completely breaks hashtag Instagram Printing and content aggregator plugins.
    • Facebook has banned third party apps from collecting customer data. New apps are not guaranteed approval and forcing many existing apps to re-submit for approval including Interlike. Entire companies that have successfully leveraged Facebook are now left unsure if they will meet new criteria.
    • Facebook's ad platform features like Custom Audiences for targeting ads or monitoring analytics may be greatly reduced or curtailed. Lookalike Audiences are rumoured to be soon shut down completely.
    Not only have people and politicians lost trust in social media, but also social media companies to some degree have lost trust in themselves in the wake of Cambridge Analytica. The uncertainty will cause disruption as they make changes to try and get this right before regulators force yet more changes on them.
    Marketing opportunities rising
    While these changes are disruptive smart marketers will not only be able to ride them out, but actually use the propulsive force of change to get ahead of the competition.

    Increased distrust in social media alone doesn't mean everyone is about to stop using it.
    Much of the current discussion about distrust and dislike of social media is ironically taking shape on social media.

    If you operate in an organisation that treats customers as human beings and not just social media profiles, there is a great opportunity to win. If you are clever marketer, you can even advertise that win via social media.

    Great example of such win - Brick and mortar stores (shopping centres) and their VIP customer loyalty programs.
    In store value add activities present an opportunity to engage with customers in real life, create an authentic connection and promote a reward programme. These interactions are not about how much there can be hyper tracking of customers and their every move on social media, but about how good customers actual experience was at a physical location.

    These are still effective mechanics to get the information needed for social and eDM campaigns without making the customers feel like they are being spied on. In store events can be further complimented with photo marketing. Its a great way to enable customers to capture and share a positive brand experience. It is also a perfect opportunity to record customer data and allow for easy opt in to VIP loyalty programme:

    • Customer enjoys fun activity
    • Personalised photo helps to prioritise the memory
    • Customer is comfortable opting into reward program because they had a great time and received their photo - a tangible on the spot reward
    Westfield St Lukes does an exceptional job when it comes to creating meaningful interactions with their customers. Read a case study from their Peter Rabbit School Holiday in store promotion here.
    Get in touch
    At Interlike we have lots more ideas about how these upcoming changes to privacy policies may impact your marketing. Let's discuss alternative strategies you can use to keep your loyalty programmes and social media campaigns successful - especially if you operate in a shopping mall or brick and mortar retail location best poised to take advantage of the changing landscape.

    Call us on +64 9 3604026 or book a free discovery session here. Our success experts are always up for a good chat and a coffee.
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