Everyone from Google to Apple to Facebook is making updates to give users more control over their data, and while Google and Apple have been taking steps to update their browsers to limit tracking to the detriment of publishers, the big question mark lies squarely with Facebook and its “Clear History” tool.
More than 18.7 million homes have smart speakers in the U.S.—those handy digital home assistants that set timers, share the news, let you buy stuff and, most importantly… set timers. Amazon, Google and Apple have all introduced their devices, and the race is on to see which device will be favored in most U.S. homes.
The year the theme around digital platforms can almost be summed up in a single word: privacy. Last week a Facebook hack exposed the data of 50 million users. This week we learned that a Google flaw had the potential to expose the personal information of 500,000 users. The year that kicked off with Cambridge Analytica, saw the rollout of GDPR and even had murmurs of regulation for tech platforms in the U.S. is also the same year that the drumbeat of consumer data keeps going strong with one data point in particular getting more attention.
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.
46% of US Facebook users (on average) say they are very concerned with their privacy. That means one out of every two people are nervous about how their personal information is being handled online. Despite all of this Facebook increased revenue year-over-year by 50% in its latest earnings report. And after Cambridge Analytica misused the data of 87 million Facebook users, 64% of them still use Facebook at least once a day.
What is going on?
Facebook’s changing things up in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica controversy. The social network is under more pressure than ever to take a stand on user data and privacy, and that means its making waves—waves that are going to affect how advertisers approach the Facebook platform.
There have been a lot of changes to Facebook over the past couple of weeks, but arguably the biggest change so far for advertisers at least is the removal of “Partner Categories.” The tool allows advertisers to tap into third-party data from partners like Acxiom and Experian to target users based on factors including buying behaviors, household demographics and so on. Needless to say, it's a pretty powerful and incredibly useful tool that advertisers can use to augment their own data short comings.