The digital footprints left by users sharing personal data online with web cookies tracking every click has given modern marketer’s an unprecedented insight into consumers. Digital data informs the way businesses serve up solutions tailored to users’ individual needs. It informs communication strategies and definitely affects customer experience. This makes personal data ever so valuable and also – unfortunately – prone to theft or misuse. Rightfully, consumers want to know how companies use and store their personal data.
With social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram becoming a huge part of users’ daily lives, there are legitimate concerns about users’ online privacy. There are more than 1.86 billion monthly active users sharing personal information on Facebook, which is why there has been massive public outcry about its ongoing, ever-deepening privacy debacle. While this was sparked by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, wherein the political consulting firm harvested data from 50 million Facebook users for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, this isn’t something new. In fact, previously Facebook has been in the eye of the storm over its practices of logging calls and texts on Android devices, the use of psychometric tests (myPersonality) to record and research users’ psychological and Facebook profiles, the use of social media data for sensitive and ethically questionable academic research, and for giving the social media monitoring company, Geofeedia, access to its data streams.
Facebook And Data Privacy Rules
Facebook’s latest privacy flubs have not only put consumers on the edge about online surveillance for marketing but also directly or indirectly resulted in new regulations on modern data privacy. The European Union adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect on May 25, 2018, and ePrivacy Directive, which gives citizens in the EU greater control over their personal data. Similar regulations are pending in California as this post is being written.
Read our article on GDPR and What You Need To Know.
Because of increased pressure due to data breaches and privacy concerns, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook, has also had to apologize to users and assure them that “people own their information and control whom they share it with.” Facebook has also announced that they will be extending many of the protections being offered to European citizens through the GDPR rules to the rest of the world in order to better protect user information. Partner Categories, a partnership between Facebook and major data brokers, which started way back in 2013, has also been brought to an abrupt end. Facebook has introduced new ways to protect user data, including enabling users to review permission for apps, offer tools to opt out of targeted ads and to enable users to delete their information, if they so desire.
Facebook Tracking and Marketing Activity
Are you using Custom Audiences or the Facebook Pixel to target Facebook ads to the most relevant audience? If so, you need to be aware that Facebook has brought in some changes about how you’re collecting data. And this is regardless of whether you are marketing to European audiences or not.
If you create custom audiences in your Ads Manager, based on uploaded data sources such as CRM data, newsletter subscribers, or a customer database and you don’t have explicit consent from these people to market to them on Facebook, then you will have to delete their information from your Ads Manager. If you plan to use your audience data to retarget them on Facebook, this must be made explicitly clear in the opt-in messaging and they must consent to it.
If you are using the Facebook pixel code on your website, it is your responsibility to get consent from users before gathering data. If you haven’t already, you need to update your website with a consent message using functionality such as a cookie bar.
Golden Rules For Securing User Data Privacy
With rules and laws for digital marketing and for e-privacy constantly evolving, any business, brand or company using these channels for marketing to its audience must be aware of them and focus on implementing best practices for data permission and data access. In order to avoid any legal issues around privacy and data rules, all organizations can follow these simple rules:
- Review existing data to determine the types of personal data (email, IP addresses, etc.) that your company collects, from where is it being gathered, where it is going, and how you do or intend to use it.
- Properly evaluate your security measures and policies. Review agreements with third-party data suppliers and contractors to ensure they are GDPR compliant.
- When promoting products, services or events, whether through emails, e-brochures, social and other digital marketing (Facebook, LinkedIn) always get consent to address the target audience.
- Create well researched and in-depth white papers, guides and eBooks that visitors can download in exchange for them sharing their contact information.
- For user data that you already have, consider getting re-permission to use them and run retention campaigns to update and create new databases. Make sure to include an opt-in (subscribe) and opt-out (unsubscribe) feature for users.
- Make sure to inform your audiences when you’re collecting data and also let them know what you’re doing with it. You can use a cookie banner to ask users to accept or reject permission. Make provision for users to withdraw their consent at any time, upon which you must be able to erase their data.
- Lastly document and keep track of steps you take to follow data privacy regulations and be GDPR compliant.
Businesses willing to prepare today for a future in which data privacy best practices become the norm will stand to benefit the most in the long run. Instead of worrying about getting data permissions from users, think of it as a great opportunity to create targeted marketing campaigns with people who are truly engaged with your brand.
DirectiveGroup can help your business launch innovative Facebook campaigns and use other performance-based tools to communicate effectively with your customers. Check out the many digital marketing solutions we offer to deliver excellence and performance!