What Facebook’s Second Wave of Data Privacy Tools Means for Advertisers

Facebook finally rolled out the ‘Clear History’ feature, now known as the ‘Off-Facebook Activity Tool.’ This tool will show users a summary of the apps and websites that have shared their user data with Facebook and gives users the opportunity to control what information, if any, is shared with these websites. According to Facebook, the company “won’t know which websites you visited or what you did there, and won’t use any of the data you disconnect to target ads to you on Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger.”

As advertisers, it’s important for us to understand how to prepare for the impact and to keep these updates top of mind as we move further into the second half of the year. 

online privacy

Is Consent Enough to Make Audio Recordings Safe for Human Processing?

Recently, a number of high-profile tech firms have been uncovered permitting human employees to access private conversations consumers believed were only processed by AI.

Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa have all been placed in the limelight, and now Facebook has also come under fire for letting human employees access sensitive personal conversations for transcription purposes.

In the case of AI assistants, private conversations are primarily harvested from consumers who own and use their devices directly. However, there is an emerging body of evidence that these technologies are also harvesting secondary persons’ conversations — completely unknown to those individuals.

A Return to Contextual Advertising?

Digital advertising and marketing have long been positioned as “the future” of advertising. But with the rapid changes in media and information technology of the past two decades, the future has arrived. Google recently promoted the idea that “we’re now in an era where digital marketing is just marketing.” But as the industry advances and as new protective regulations around personal data privacy are introduced, it’s also possible that some of the change could involve relying more on previously established methods. Specifically, it is possible that we are on the verge of a return to contextual advertising as the dominant form of online ads.

4 Major Takeaways About Consumer Privacy Concerns

Location data firm Factual commissioned a study conducted by the University of Southern California applied psychology master’s program to take the pulse of consumers on data privacy. Unsurprisingly, not all consumers demographic groups share the same levels and types of concern. Here are four major takeaways from the survey of 1,002 smartphone users aged 18 to 65.

How Technology Companies Can Establish and Benefit from a User-First Culture

As more and more states pass separate privacy regulations into law, we will likely see an increase of noncompliance and fines across the board. Subsequently, we might see more companies begin advocating for the US to develop its own version of GDPR at the federal level in an effort to simplify compliance for companies nationwide.

To stay ahead of the imminent data privacy regulations, companies need to establish a culture of transparency and compliance. Consumers will be more confident in businesses that offer a clear value exchange when asked to share their data, and marketers and publishers will build stronger relationships with users. 

Alexa, Draw a Line Between Convenience and Control

It’s that factor, consumer data and Amazon’s vast store of it, that stands out most in Jason Del Rey’s reporting on Recode’s new podcast series, Land of the Giants. Specifically striking is the episode on Alexa, in which Amazon employees openly speculate about a future in which smart microwaves will hook up with Amazon’s growing healthcare ambitions to tell you when it’s time to stop making popcorn and smart countertops will join the intelligent kitchen conversation. As Del Rey notes, Amazon execs talk about this future openly, dropping tidbits about customer obsession along the way and appearing truly unperturbed by the thought that such interventions into our domestic lives may go too far or generate unintended consequences. Optimism for the quality of Amazon products and a fervent belief in the company’s benefit to consumers—without due consideration for products’ risk and would-be limits—seem to pervade the corporate culture.

First-Party Versus Third-Party Data: What You Should Know

Using first-party data is a win-win. As marketers, you are fostering an ongoing relationship with your customers and prospects by better communicating and serving them. But there needs to be a strategy and long-term commitment. In a survey of US digital marketers by Advertiser Perceptions and programmatic agency MightyHive, respondents said they were, on average, tapping into just 47% of their company’s first-party data potential. It takes the right strategy and technological infrastructure in place to activate first-party data at scale.

Third-Party Data and Third-Party Cookies Are Not the Same

Google’s recent announcement that it will change how its Chrome browser handles cookies has created some confusion about the impact on advertisers and ad tech platforms, particularly around the creation, selling, and buying of third-party data. Unfortunately, much of the confusion stems from a lack of clarity on the key terms. 

Although third-party data and third-party cookies sound similar, they are very different things. I often find that marketers and media confuse the two.

This Company is Forging a New Path for Digital Advertising with a Focus on Consumer Consent

Brave is an example of how privacy-forward digital advertising business models that foreground consumer content can work for all parties. Users are not tracked all over the Web and choose how many ads they would like to see; they will also soon get rewards. In return, advertisers can be sure that the people seeing their advertisements are actually interested in looking at ads, and they can also boost loyalty or reach new customers by offering rewards for ad viewing.

Perhaps most importantly, with GDPR in place for more than a year and CCPA and other state privacy laws in the works, advertisers and platforms are less likely to get sued.

12 Years After the iPhone, Marketers Need to Lean Into Digital Wellness

Once upon a time, “getting a Starbucks coupon as you walk by a Starbucks” was the Holy Grail example of the potential power of mobile marketing. With the iPhone turning 12 years old this week, it’s a great time to observe how drastically more sophisticated digital relationships between consumers and brands have gotten thanks to the supercomputers in our pockets.

Mobile is now about building a customer journey and taking patrons to the next level rather than a single, location-based transaction. You hear it a lot: the customer journey reigns supreme, but there’s a good reason for “customer journey” becoming like the Greek chorus in marketing. Consumers are inundated with messages from brands, so marketers need to be judicious about how, when, where, and why they reach out to customers.

How Targeting Fuels Audience Activation and Satisfaction

Consumers benefit from targeting. When there are clear rules and guardrails in place for tracking and targeting, shoppers enjoy a more relevant online experience and a panoply of ad-funded digital services.

Traditional ads still have a place in the marketing mix, of course. But the future of marketing is digital. Online ad spend is expected to surpass traditional ad spend (likely for good) this year. How is it that targeting, while respecting privacy, makes the consumer internet better?

Startups Adapt to Shifting Privacy Standards

Two steps forward, one step back. That’s what it can feel like to be a technology provider in the location marketing space right now, struggling to strike a balance between the demands of brand marketers and growing concerns over consumer privacy and data regulation.

That push and pull is challenging vendors in the location marketing space. At the same time their firms should be seeing exponential growth, data regulations—including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California’s forthcoming Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)—are establishing new rules for innovation.

But some companies are embracing the regulation as a challenge to innovate in its own right.

Vendors Rush to Bring Privacy Verification Solutions to Market

The demand for data privacy is at an all-time high, just as consumer trust in the technology space is at an all-time low. Advertisers are grappling with wasted ad spend and uncertainty over ad verification. The market is in disarray, and technology vendors are hoping they have a solution to the problem.

Just this month, the offline consumer intelligence and measurement company Cuebiq launched a new verification solution for third-party data. The solution gives advertisers verifiable proof of compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

5 Consent Management Platforms for Brands and Publishers

For brands and publishers that work with multiple ad tech partners, the process of obtaining user consent for data processing is overwhelming. To simplify the workflow, publishers have started using consent management platforms (CMPs). Not only have CMPs been designed to help brands and publishers obtain and manage user consent, but they also help with monetizing users, even when users haven’t opted-in to sharing data.

CMPs were largely developed in response to the GDPR — most are built on the IAB’s transparency and consent framework — which means the systems themselves are still relatively young. Nonetheless, the popularity of this type of platform has led to a spring of new players entering the space. Here are five examples of CMPs on the market right now.

Tim Cook Demands New Commitment to Responsibility from Big Tech

With the moral and commercial high ground in clear sight, Tim Cook used the spotlight at Stanford University’s commencement ceremony Saturday to slam Big Tech peers Google, Facebook, and Twitter for failing to take responsibility for the hateful content and disinformation on their platforms.

David Shim, Foursquare

After Foursquare Acquisition, Placed Founder David Shim Talks Teaming Up With a Major Competitor

How did a Seattle-based ad tech company move up the ranks to become an industry darling, less than eight years after its launch? And how does the new relationship between Foursquare and Placed, which was previously the biggest competitor to the company’s Foursquare Attribution product, impact the location industry at large?

To find out, we caught up with Placed founder and CEO—and now president of Foursquare—David Shim. Here are his thoughts on what it’s like to go through an acquisition, and how two industry heavyweights who’ve competed for years are finding new ways to work together.

Report: Huge Hole in Location Data Market for O2O Attribution

Good news for the whole location-based marketing industry—a new report from location data firm Factual based on a survey of location data buyers finds the field is getting more effective and better at measuring its results. Nearly 9 in 10 marketers said location data is driving more effective campaigns. Eighty-six percent said it’s growing their customer base, and 84% reported higher customer engagement.

However, while use of location-based marketing is set to grow to 94%, only 24% use it or are planning to use it to establish offline attribution.

5 Privacy-Focused Data Marketplaces

Just 27% of adults feel like they have “some control” over how their personal data is used by mobile apps and services, according to a recent survey by Mobile Ecosystem Forum. The desire to have more say over how personal data is used is leading to a new technology vertical, as next-generation data brokers put together marketplaces where consumers can offer up their own data to brands in exchange for cash and other lucrative incentives.

Here are five examples of services that consumers are using to take control of the data they share with advertisers and keep their private information private.

Consumers Still Do Not Understand How Companies Use Their Data

More than one year after the implementation of GDPR in Europe and with CCPA looming, consumers still have no idea how and why companies like Google and Facebook collect their data. That’s according to a global survey by mobile marketing firm Ogury, the largest of its kind to ask consumers about their understanding of marketing and privacy.

Nearly 40% of respondents in both Europe and the US were ignorant of what GDPR is. But more significant is that 52% of consumers report not understanding how their data is used.

Behind the Rise of Data Transparency

As technological capabilities accelerate and data regulations increase, brands should home in on data privacy. Focusing on data transparency will ensure you stay out of legal trouble while also earning more loyal, trusting customers. Consumers understand that you have data — it’s how you use it and share your practices that can make or break these important relationships.