How are social media platforms collecting and using your data?

Have you ever wondered why websites always ask you to accept cookies? Or have you ever seen a product advertisement of something you bought soon after purchasing and wondered how they knew?

Today customers understand that their personal information is used to create relevant experiences for them. This is allowing us as marketers to create and deliver personalised shopping experiences that are exceeding expectations and leveraging customer loyalty.

The research shows over and over again that consumers prefer a more personalized digital experience. Just according to one recent study, “90% of consumers say that messages from companies that are not personally relevant to them are ‘annoying.’ Of those irritating messages, 53% say advertising for an irrelevant product tops their list of messaging annoyances.” 

Data-driven analytic platforms are the main sources of collecting information on us: credit card companies, retailers, social media likes, shares and actions, web browsing history, emails, Google Analytics, and Ads. These are a few but some of the more effective ways that can collect up to 1 500 pieces of data on each one of us.

Guy Marion, CMO of Autopilot, aptly says, “Today’s consumers are expecting a personalized experience. In fact, we know that the majority of consumers now are turned off by generic, common messaging and marketing that doesn’t take into account their interests and behaviour.”

Photo credits: Seth Phillips 

How do companies track personal data? 

Techniques used to collect your information include tracking cookies. These follow you around the web and log your activity. Browser fingerprinting, geofencing, and cross-site tracking can also identify you based on your time-zone, device, nationality among other metrics. Those cookie alert pop ups that you see on all sites these days are helping to make us conscious of the consent we give companies when we accept their cookies and agree to their terms and conditions.

All this information gathered can then be categorised into user segments to be packaged and sold for marketing purposes by data brokers. You could be categorised somewhere as a ‘fitness enthusiast’ or ‘football fanatic’ which will guide marketers when advertising to you. The unquestionable benefits that data brokers help provide us with is improved product offerings and delivering tailored advertisements to consumers.

It comes as no surprise that most of us are not even aware of the amount of data being collected on us. It is important to note that consumers are now demanding more control over how their data is collected and used.

But it’s not all doom and gloom as there are ways to take control of how you share your data. If you want more control over your cookies, you can use a privacy app. 

FigLeaf is an all-in-one tool that lets you dictate your level of online privacy. When using the tool, you can browse the web privately, enable a tracker blocker to hide your personal information, and set the exact level of privacy you want on each site you visit. 

How data is being used to influence purchasing decisions

Today we know that digital media can be exploited to change public opinion and more importantly for retailers, encourage them to buy something. The strategy is to target consumers with ads based on the information they have gathered from following us around the internet and keeping track of what we are interested in.

For example, if a retailer wants to market their active sportswear clothes to men aged 30-40 years. They could purchase a data set of people who live an active lifestyle, are in that demographic and geographical area and who have been searching the web for sportswear in the past week. This is easily done through social media platforms as these are platforms which know the most about us. 

Most consumers, 87%, believe personalized advertising means unique content, based on their previous purchases or shopping behaviour and delivered at a time when they are looking to buy a product. For marketers, it’s critical to use both customer and transactional history to inform future ad investments to ensure that your ads stay relevant to the consumer. 

Data tracking, despite it’s bad rep, is at the end of the day just helping us to reduce irrelevant advertising, helping customers discover new and useful products, and making online search and shopping faster and easier. 

Are you making the most of your Facebook or Instagram advertising campaigns and ensuring that you are targeting the correct audience with your product or service? Chat to us today to set up a targeted social media advertising campaign and increase that revenue for 2022

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