"Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you." - Ruth Bader Ginsburg
You may be thinking after reading that first line, wtf is a B2B brand doing quoting the Notorious RBG? I think we can all agree that 2020 hasn't been much of a typical year, and following our CMO jumping out of an airplane to kick off our Signals 20 content series, it's clear we aren't your typical B2B marketers. So - what does Ruth Bader Ginsburg have to do with this blog post? We’ll get to that. But first - let’s talk about what’s happened since this summer.
Nearly three months ago, we published a blog post that outlined the social media quagmire, discussing how Facebook is filled with uncensored fake news and hate speech fueled by algorithms that contributed to society's polarization. At that time, we announced that Cheetah Digital joined the #StopHateForProfit movement, pulling our ad spend from Facebook's platform and urging others to do so as well. We weren't the first, as our clients such as Starbucks and The North Face stood at the forefront, and we certainly weren't the last. By the end of July, over 1,100 marketers joined the movement and pulled their ad spend. And it worked, kind of.
What changes did Facebook make?
In a blog post written by Tom Allison, VP of Engineering at Facebook, the platform has implemented the following new restrictions:
- Administrators and moderators of groups taken down for rule violations won't be able to create any new groups for a "period of time"
- Members who have broken site rules will require approval for any posts in groups for the next 30 days
- Facebook will try to fill vacant admin roles in groups, taking into consideration users with past violations
- Facebook will archive old groups without admins in the coming weeks
- The platform will no longer recommend "health groups" to users
- For QAnon, U.S.-based militia organizations and anarchist groups, Facebook will remove them from recommendations, restrict them from search, and "soon" reduce their content in the news feed
As for the politically fueled divided nation we have and will continue to see, as the election draws near, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claims to be taking the following measures:
- No new political ads will be accepted in the week before the election
- Posts claiming people will get COVID-19 if they take part in the vote will be removed
- Information labels will be attached to posts seeking to delegitimize the outcome of the election
- Labels will also be added to posts by candidates that seek to claim victory before the final results are in
Is it enough?
The short answer, no. While the claimed changes may make some feel warm and fuzzy inside, they aren't what they seem. Legitimate concerns still remain over cyberbullying and the mental health impacts of social media addiction resulting from the dopamine-fueled social validation these sites promote. The consumer’s feed is still a mess. The social media quagmire still exists.
The bigger picture:
It's no secret where we stand on the side of privacy, and for a good reason. We believe marketers should own their own data and not depend on walled gardens to control their relationship with their consumers. We were all excited after Apple announced their move to remove IDFA in the iOS14 update. We were finally seeing more big players taking privacy seriously and putting the consumer's best interest ahead of commercial interest.
Enter Facebook. A blog released by Facebook to the publishers leveraging their Audience Network outlined the “inevitable 50% drop in revenue” advertisers would see from the change and cited that the update could ultimately end the Audience Network altogether. Apple received increased pressure pushing back on its new privacy stance, causing them to delay the removal of IDFA into the beginning of 2021.
Apple is still making leaps and bounds to help push consumer privacy forward. In their iOS14 release overview, the words ‘private’ and ‘privacy’ were mentioned 17 times. Apple is making it easier for consumers to understand and control the data being collected.
- Clearly identifying what data is being collected by every app
- Privacy reports to understand how websites treat your privacy
- And, my personal favorite, an indicator that alerts you when apps are accessing your camera and microphone so you can click in to see if it’s safe, or if app developers are just being creepy
We took the time to talk at length about this with Forrester VP Analyst, Fatemeh Khatibloo at our Signals Content Series to discuss all of the changes that have happened throughout 2020. Moral of the story: data privacy isn’t going away, nor should it. Consumers have a fundamental human right to privacy, and as marketers, we have an obligation to protect that, regardless of what big corporations are doing to try and stop it.
Hi, my name is...WHAT? My name is…WHO?
“As marketers, we have a responsibility to society on where and how we spend our money.” Cheetah Digital CMO Richard Jones
At Cheetah Digital, we aren’t about to reinvest our advertising budget back into Facebook, and we urge you to do the same. While you may get some clicks and likes, if they don’t convert into a purchase, you will never be able to get to know who that mystery clicker was. Cookies are crumbling, Apple is locking the data gates, privacy regulations are growing, and the long-game is looking less and less like it will be built on data from walled-gardens. So what’s a marketer to do? It’s time to start owning your own data, and protecting your consumer’s privacy.
Consumers are more than willing to provide you with their data if you do it in a trustworthy way and offer value in exchange, such as a more personalized experience and relevant content. Gathering this data directly from your consumers will not only allow you to understand who your buyers are, but you can capture their explicit permission to talk to them, learn preferences, and capture valuable behavioral based data points to help personalize your marketing efforts to each individual buyer. Capturing this data doesn’t need to be boring either. You can create quizzes, polls, contests and engaging experiences for your consumers to have a bit of fun.
By reinvesting your budget into gathering zero-party data at scale, you’ll not only improve the relevancy of your marketing, but you’ll create a trust economy with your consumers that will drive an increase in lifetime value overall that you wouldn’t get from 3rd party data. This trust economy will lead to brand evangelism as well boost customer referrals to your brand, who will then provide their data to you. Zero Party Data really is the gift that keeps on giving!
While changing up your strategy to focus on capturing data may seem scary, it’s actually much easier than you think. Plus - what better time to hit the restart button than 2021? Call it a New Years resolution - none of us want to repeat 2020 anyways. Have questions? We’re here to help (and not in that weird cliche’ way either) Cheetah Experiences is a great tool to help you gather zero party data and, not to brag or anything, but our services teams are pretty amazing at helping walk you through how to solve any data gathering conundrum you may find yourself in.
It’s time to start respecting consumer privacy. What does Ruth Bader Ginsburg have to do with the social media quagmire? She is famously quoted as saying, "Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you." Will you join us?
Kayla Siegmeier manages Cheetah Digital’s client-related content and strategic communications along with client advocacy and analyst relations. She has spent her career in B2C marketing with a focus on the development and execution of strategic loyalty programs, direct response, and brand marketing. She now brings that experience and passion for analyzing member behaviors to drive loyalty and engagement to Cheetah Digital, helping showcase the value of the Customer Engagement Suite to leading marketers through the stories of our clients. When not discussing the value of developing emotional loyalty, Kayla can be found enjoying the outdoors with her husband and two children.