3 lessons marketers can learn from the Facebook scandal

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3 lessons marketers can learn from the Facebook scandal

Whether you’re a social media whizz or a digital detoxer, you will have heard about the Facebook scandal. It is believed that as many as 87 million people’s data was improperly shared to develop political propaganda.

This sparked the #DeleteFacebook movement and resulted in Facebook losing 60 billion dollars in two days. While Mark Zuckerberg faces questions from Congress, we ask how this scandal will affect brands? Those that have come to rely on the platform to promote their products and services.

Big names are threatening to boycott the network but forecasters are still estimating a £3.8bn in UK ad spend by 2020, a billion up on this year. One thing for sure is that Facebook will be tightening up its data policies.

Here are three things we’ve taken away from the whole ordeal…

1 Be Transparent

If you are going to use people’s data, be honest and open about what it’s for and where it’s going. Also rise to the challenge and show consumers you are using their data to do what is best for them. Facebook’s argument is that they use data to make users’ experience tailored and enjoyable i.e. showing you the news stories, photos and events best matched to your interests. For marketers, data is a legitimate tool for reaching the right demographic with the most relevant content. Work to show people the value of collecting their data and what it can do for them, and in turn, this will create a lasting relationship with customers.

2 Check your stats

It is not just the consumer that has lost trust in platforms such as Facebook, but brands should take the time to re-evaluate where data is coming from. Brands are in the position where they can demand more from the platforms they are investing in and check data is collected ethically. Is the data they are selling correct? How accurate are their stats? And how are they gathering this data? This is the time for brands to find out exactly who they are reaching, how, and ensure they are reaching the correct demographic.

3 Change your approach 

If there’s one thing Facebook have learnt from the Facebook scandal, negative brand perception may come off the back of advertising on untrustworthy platforms. Take time to check the type of content your ads will be appearing alongside and look to create a more balanced marketing approach. Perhaps it may be time for your company to invest in advertising on different platforms and begin using a larger variety of methods to reach your consumers rather than social media and digital platforms.

What else is new?

Not another Snapchat update

Earlier this year we saw Snapchat change its format and become a more news-focused app. Despite a petition to revert to its old ways, Snapchat has continued to develop its app with a recent update including “shoppable lenses”. Users can buy products directly from the app. The feature uses Snapchat’s AR lenses and allows users to virtually try a new product through Snapchat filters before they buy – Adidas and Coty are lined up as the first brands to use this feature.

Wetherspoons runs dry on social

Wetherspoons ditched social media after its chairman described the various platforms as a “distraction” and doesn’t believe they are a vital component of a successful business. This inevitably sparked a debate around whether social media can measure a brand’s popularity. Could social media be a waste of time for some companies?

Wetherspoons tweets this year averaged around six retweets and four likes each, not great odds, but the brand’s pubs still sold three million pints each week – cheers to that!

Technology improving retail

Ikea customers have been testing out its new virtual reality headset in Stockholm which allows them to walk around their new kitchen before they buy it. But is the flatpack giant shooting itself in the foot as the technology may one day negate the need to visit a shop at all – and, more importantly, where will we get the best Swedish meatballs?

Another retailer testing out new technology in store is Zara which has been trialing new ways to make the in-store experience as seamless as possible. Zara fitting rooms are set to become interactive, with the inclusion of radio frequency identification technology which will be used to offer up recommended or coordinating items when customers scan an item. The brand has been working on this development for some time and predicts this change will hit most stores by 2020.

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