If you want something brought to the public attention, there might be no two better entities to do it than the most powerful social media network in the world and, arguably, the most powerful man on the planet. We are referring to Facebook, and the embattled US president Donald Trump, who have both come under the spotlight after the controversy regarding the Cambridge Analytica firm’s use of public data for Facebook advertising during the 2016 US election campaign.
As a response to concerns over the misuse of the data, Facebook has changed its policies regarding third party data, and in the UK too, we have seen a shifting of the sands. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into play as of 25th May 2018, meaning firms will be obliged to ask consumers for permission to hold and use their data, even if they have submitted these details willingly in the past. Those records which belong to individuals who have not given their permission for further use will have to be ‘forgotten’.
Organisations are focused on re-permissioning
We have already seen the beginning of huge customer communications initiatives designed to ask the public to ‘re-permission’ companies to continue using their details and contacting them. But why are companies investing so much in ‘re-permissioning’ campaigns? Because quite simply, in marketing terms, this data is gold dust. It can be used to personalise and target campaigns in a strikingly accurate manner, which might be one of the reasons Donald Trump was able to pull off an election victory which some had doubted he would.
GDPR, and the yet to be defined ramifications of the Facebook hearing’s outcome, have caused organisations to take a step back as far as their digital marketing is concerned. In a way this is going against the grain, as the digital world moves forward in its capabilities. But perhaps we will come to see this chain of developments as marking out an important watershed of which third party data can be used, and maybe more importantly, how it should and shouldn’t be used.
Its common practice for individual data points to be held in what’s called a data lake before being loaded into a platform, and then picked apart by business analytics and data mining tools to assign relevance to a business or individual analytical campaign. However, regardless of the efficiency of the method of filtration and analysis, there is no guarantee that the data itself is clean.
For this reason and others, according to a recent survey of over 2,000 data and analytics (D&A) decision makers in 10 countries by KPMG and Forrester Consulting, only 38% of respondents have a high level of confidence in their customer insights, and only one third trust the analytics they generate from their business operations.
Reward for data
In the case of the Facebook controversy, another party was involved in the use of this data, which was obviously very valuable to them achieving their ambitions. So what is the answer?
Perhaps if these companies need third party data so much, they can pay for it.
That doesn’t mean a return to the dark old days of firms who sold ‘business lists’ or contact sheets which may have been acquired via questionable means. It refers more to a customer being asked directly for data – such as their contact details, occupation, interests and habits – and being rewarded for providing it. The individual would know exactly where and how their data would be used, and would receive a small fee in return.
Of course, we have already seen this type of methodology before.
Data capture strategies have focused on convincing consumers to enter their name for a prize draw and provide their details in exchange for the opportunity to win a prize. Ever been to a conference or exhibition and deposited your business card into a hat to grab a freebie or glass of champagne? This is in essence providing data in return for a small gift – so what is to stop organisations going one step further and charging a fee?
Transparency is key in capturing data
What could solidify the trend is the opportunity to acquire more qualitative data than is typically possible through a simple online contact form or business card.
That means that in return for paying a fee, marketers might ask questions which allow them to track consumer buying habits, understand the preferences of specific demographics, and thus put more meat on the bones of consumer profiles.
However, to combat the overall lack of trust in insights generated from data and analytical systems, transparency about the use and impact of an organization’s data and analytics is key.
The more transparency and explanation around how insights are gathered the better executives can trust the information that results. In this manner both the business and customers can derive value from the conclusions drawn from the data exchange.
Blockchain and data capture
The UserClix platform holds the power to unlock untold value by utilizing blockchain to fully restore trust in analytics generated by online retailers.
Every critical customer interaction and exchanges of data can be indisputably verified via the distributed ledger whilst unverified data is left unprocessed. We believe that online retailers opting for the analysis of blockchain-ified data will be able to overcome the trust gap quickly and will be the ones that will be better-placed to make faster decisions, more accurately and with much greater confidence. Other positive spin-offs include the reduction of cart abandonment.
In the end, a ‘sell your data’ option might work out best for both parties. Consumers who are happy to share their information, particularly in relation to products and services which they are interested in, are given the chance to benefit from imparting with their details. And marketers who want to come by details which can fuel their campaigns are able to gain access to a higher quality of data than ever before, so long as they pay for it. After all, if the data is allowing them to enjoy greater returns, why shouldn’t they be required to invest in it?