Cambridge Analytica and… you (4 of 11)

Cambridge Analytica. It’s all over the news. It’s been called a “data breach” and people are pissed at Facebook. Because Trump. Or something.

We’re talking about trends and it’s impact on you as you try to grow a blog and online business. And, while this whole Cambridge thing seems like just the news du jour, it actually is relevant to the bigger picture.

Personally, I think there is a lot of hype and virtue signaling over this thing. It is as if people have suddenly grown aware that they’ve been handing personal information over to Facebook and that Facebook makes it available to third parties for their own purposes. Like… where the hell have you been?! That’s their business model!

But now… #deletefacebook. Nevermind that this has been going on for awhile. That, even the rules Cambridge used in 2014 had been used for awhile. That the Obama campaign did the same thing in 2012 and all us marketers were, at the time, hailing his campaign for it’s marketing prowess!

But, today, it’s bad. #deletefacebook. Regulate Facebook.

But, this isn’t about my opinion on the news. Reality is that many people are just getting hot and bothered over something that isn’t unique at all. And it rubs people the wrong way because…


What does this have to do with you, your blog, and your business?

Well, yesterday, I talked about the Google and Facebook toll collectors. Today, we can run paid traffic and reach people, right?

Us marketers have long been fans of retargeting, as one example. Retargeting is when you visit a site and then, thereafter, you can be reached by that site again in the form of a paid ad. Retargeting ads are great on Facebook and Google both.

But, retargeting works because of browser cookies and IP address tracking. In other words, these big networks are tracking you.

And if anything, this whole Cambridge hub-bub really just shows that… people really don’t like being tracked.

It doesn’t matter if they actually AGREED to it (and they did)… they still don’t like it much when they become aware of it.

People don’t like that their “likes” on Facebook helped form these psychographic profiles that were then used by political advertisers. But, how do you think interest-based targeting works on Facebook? That’s what it is! You think personality profiles are new?!

But, people don’t like that.

People don’t like being tracked.

They don’t like having their newsfeed too clogged up with sponsored posts.

They don’t like banner ads all over the websites they visit, even if they ARE more relevant due to that creepy retargeting.

And this whole #deletefacebook thing is part of a trend. As more and more social pressure and resistance to this kind of things happens, even these large companies must respond to consumer desire.

There will come a time when retargeting isn’t so doable anymore.

Browsers introduce more ad blocking and privacy restrictions. There will be more cookie blocking. The companies themselves (i.e. Facebook and Google and others) will be socially forced to react, too. Perhaps even by giving the end user much more control of which advertisers are allowed to advertise to them.

Imagine that… you have to OPT IN to see advertisements from some company you like?

It isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

So, yes, while this whole Cambridge thing is rather hypey and there’s a lot of virtue signaling around it right now, it is also a sign of a very real trend. A trend of rising consumer demand for more control.

So, back up. We’ve got consumers who are overwhelmingly going to these central points like Google and Facebook for their online experience. These companies then charge tolls to readily access them (in the form of paid traffic).

… but you then have the inherent conflict with the end user. The end user doesn’t WANT your ads.

How are you supposed to grow your business online if not even the toll system is guaranteed to work?

Personally, I think this is the current state of online marketing.

There’s a WAR going on right now between advertisers and the public. And, with all roads leading through these points of centralization (Google, Facebook, etc.)… well, those companies are probably going to err on the side of the public.

People just hate marketers. 🙂

But, that isn’t the only war going on that I think is relevant to us and the future of the internet.

There’s one more. I’ll talk about that one tomorrow.

One thing before I go…

This might seem a little “doom and gloom” so far. It isn’t. I view it as evolution. The internet is… maturing. On the grand scale, many of these things are growing pains to something bigger and better.

It helps to be aware of the big picture, tho. To adjust your game. To mature along with it. We all must understand the platform we play on (the internet itself) and play the game based on reality as it is, not on a long-gone game of a decade ago.

– David