Last Updated on July 13, 2021
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In recent years marketers have been privy to more and more of their customers’ information. Online marketing has helped marketers gather detailed personas of their potential buyers by collecting data from their online habits but as the recent reaction to the Facebook/ Cambridge Analytica fiasco is showing, tides may be changing. So will technologies like Blockchain, that are focused on online privacy, have a knock-on effect for marketers?Ready to Talk?
The Data Generation
Over the last 10 years or so businesses have become a lot more aware of their customers and the information they have on them. Advances in ad targeting, marketing automation and retargeting have helped to give marketers tools to find their customers and to talk to them as if they already know them.
Attitudes to this have varied over time, with many people finding the idea of their data being collected as uncomfortable. However, while there is a lot of talks (complaining) about how companies like Facebook and Google are using their private information, very little is done about it. Google is still by far the most popular search engine, with companies like DuckDuckGo (a search engine that does not track, or monitor, any of their users) lagging far behind with less than 0.5% of market share. So, people might complain about how their data is being used, but at the moment at least, it doesn’t seem like they’re willing to make any changed.
However, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the tides may be changing and with technology like blockchain changes might be possible. Blockchain, is a technology that has been developed to enable online payments without needing to give away any of your personal information. Explaining blockchain itself is something that needs more time than I can give it, so I suggest you look here for a fuller description. However here is a very simplified version, in this context it would mean that you (the website visitor) would be assigned a code that is protected by a middleman (something like a VPN service), the website would then know that code (known as a hash) was your code, and show you your preferences. However, the website would not be able to link your code to you the physical person because the middleman would stand in their way. So it would know you as #visitor10002, but it would not know anything more about you.
Back to the Dark Ages
For marketers, the ramifications would be huge. Platforms like AdWords and Facebook advertising would have to radically overhaul how they work to remain relevant. What’s the point in paying for targeted ads if you can’t show them to your target audience? For consumers, the main benefit would obviously be privacy.
However, as mentioned above, this change will only come about if there is a demand for it. At the moment it seems that many consumers are aware of how their data is being used and are willing to ignore it in exchange for the tools/ services that are provided. But, perhaps things will change?
Do you think the recent Cambridge Analytica affair will have lasting ramifications on how we view online privacy? We’d love to hear your thoughts.