With over 2 billion users, Facebook is one of the most – if not the most – important distributors of information. And with their algorithms being influenced by desirability rather than accuracy, Facebook has created an environment in which fake news can flourish. Within a number of minutes, a story written in a small town in Europe, can go viral and influence the attitude of people living in the U.S. or Australia – irrespective of its accuracy. This is exactly what happened in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Netflix recently released their much anticipated (at least among us data privacy geeks) doco, ‘The Great Hack’. Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past two years, you’ll be familiar with the name Cambridge Analytica, a UK–based data science firm. In the last few weeks of the U.S. election, they were hired by Trump’s team to target likely Democratic voters with advertisements that would persuade them not to vote. You probably know how that went.
Cambridge Analytica had up to 5,000 data points on over 220 million Americans. By analysing this data, they were able to build psychological profiles of voters and target them with specific ads they knew would resonate with or trigger them.
The story of Cambridge Analytica is the most sophisticated data mining and lead nurture campaign ever to have been witnessed. A story so sophisticated that it not only breached people’s trust, but also the law.
With the importance of customer data becoming an increasing trend for businesses of types, it’s more important than ever that this data is being used ethically and effectively. Here are some important lessons to take from this campaign:
1. Only collect relevant data
In the property industry, we probably don’t need 5,000 data points on each customer to know what they’re looking for. Ensure your lead forms capture a name, email and phone number as the minimum requirements. It’s then the sales team’s responsibility to ask meaningful questions in their encounters with customers, to really get to know them. This data will then help the marketing team to make more effective decisions.
2. Be transparent
Be transparent about what data you’re collecting. If using cookies to track user behaviour on your project or brand website, consider using a pop-up or banner that informs users you’re collecting data, and if they continue to stay on your site, they agree to this.
3. Use the data ethically
Only use the data the way you said you’ll use it. Don’t share it with other companies and don’t use it in a way that could be seen as manipulative. You also want to make sure you’re following Australia’s privacy laws. You can learn more about them in our blog.
4. Use the data wisely
Lastly, make sure you’re using the data you collect wisely. There’s no point in allocating resources to collect customer data if it’s not being put to good use. Segment your audience based on that data you collect, so your customers only receive content that is relevant to them. This will ensure their digital and online experience with your company is as meaningful as possible.
If you need help implementing a privacy–focused marketing campaign, get in touch.