Privacy and personal data are no longer niche factors considered by specialized online marketers and tech platforms. They’re now kitchen table issues. Everyone has woken up to the fact that not only is their data being collected, but it has a high degree of value as well.
Following the Cambridge Analytica story that made world headlines, it’s no surprise that 68% of US Internet users say they’d be in support of GDPR-style rules in the United States. People aren’t just yearning for regulation. They want to understand what data about them has been collected and how it’s being used.
We Know a Lot...
As marketers, we have access to troves of data, and the ways in which that data can be used is nearly limitless. But just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you should.
People understand that their data has been collected and is available to marketers online. That’s essentially a given, and research is showing that people are evaluating not just the messages delivered to them but how.
The More Targeted, The (Maybe Not) Better
People want to be able to draw a straight line from the information that’s known about them to the advertising they see. For example, people respect recommendations based on items they’ve clicked on and recommendations on products they purchase often.
People want to see a direct relationship between the data they’ve provided and the messages they receive from advertisers. What they don’t like to see are inferences made about them. When people feel that ads were delivered to them, not by information they revealed themselves, but based on conclusions that were made about them, ad performance has been shown to drop by as much as 17%.
Just Because We Can…
It’s very tempting to push data and targeting to its absolute limit of sophistication when it comes targeting and reaching consumers. After all, the goal is to be as relevant as possible, but as we enter this renaissance of data awareness, consumers may be less rewarding of hyper-targeted creative than they were in the past.
This points to the need for marketers to develop as many one-to-one relationships as possible. As the research found, consumers appreciate ads that clearly show the lines between the message and the data point. That’s something Amazon has built into its entire marketing strategy. Relationships lead to consume-provided data points.
Marketers should push the boundaries of what data can do for them, but when it comes to targeting consumers, they should have a good reason to use indirect data points to reach someone and develop a message for them. Relevance is still key. Hyper-relevenace may be a bridge too far in some instances, so test. See what’s working and what’s not. If hyper-targeted creative isn’t performing, it may be too targeted.
We’re in a new era of data, which means just because you can do something, consider whether or not you actually should. It may lead to a less successful campaign.