2018 was a deluge of revelations regarding data, privacy and security. It was revealed Facebook leveraged user data as both a carrot and a stick with partners. We found out our phones are tracking even more about us than we originally thought. Advertisers realized the metrics they were getting weren’t only misrepresented; they were blatantly false. That barely scratches the surface of all that was revealed last year.
Maybe 2019 will be different.
Users May Not Demand But they Will Reward More Security
Platforms are under more pressure than ever to protect their users, especially as IoT continues to proliferate. Users will balance convenience with security, and in the end will choose security. That means platforms and hardware providers will be under pressure to provide the security. Users may not demand transparency in how their data will be used, but given the digital privacy enlightenment that occurred in 2018, they will reward companies that appear to protect their privacy. 91% of Americans agree that they’ve lost control over how their personal information is collected and used. That sounds like a problem in need of a solution.
Privacy and security can be a point of differentiation at a time where one would be hard pressed to agree that’s been a priority up until this point.
Advertisers Will Not Give Up on Transparency
Brand safety, viewability, ad placement… all of these have been major concerns for advertisers. Because where an ad was run and who saw it has largely been a black box up until this point.
Advertisers are demanding that box be opened, especially as advertising dollars continue to make their way into the digital marketplace. Too many brands have been caught off-guard when they discover their ads ran next to unsavory content. Others have been dismayed to find out that their ads weren’t even shown to real people, leading to waste in advertising budgets.
In 2018, we saw major platforms, most notably Facebook, open themselves up to garnering third-party accreditation from the MRC. This wasn’t something Facebook wanted to do, but it was something Facebook needed to do under increased pressure from those who hold the purse strings. That same pressure will force platforms and ad servers to open up.
Let the Fog of 2018 Be Lifted
2018 revealed a lot (I mean… a lot) of skeletons in closets. And because of that 2019 has the potential to be the exact opposite. The year of opaqueness gives way to the year of clarity between platforms and their users and between advertisers and their partners. That’s my hope at least.