tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/behavioural-targeting Latest Behavioural targeting content from Econsultancy 2018-05-18T10:16:54+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/70036 2018-05-18T10:16:54+01:00 2018-05-18T10:16:54+01:00 Facebook's interest-based ad targeting highlights GDPR uncertainty Patricio Robles <p>For evidence of this, one need only look at Facebook and its ad targeting options.</p> <p>In advance of May 25, Facebook asked its users to tell it whether any “political, religious, and relationship information” they had shared with the social network should continue to be stored or displayed. This was clearly done to ensure compliance with special GDPR rules around sensitive information, including information that has human rights implications. </p> <p>As the ICO explained, "This type of data could create more significant risks to a person’s fundamental rights and freedoms, for example, by putting them at risk of unlawful discrimination."</p> <p>But <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/may/16/facebook-lets-advertisers-target-users-based-on-sensitive-interests">an investigation</a> conducted by The Guardian and the Danish Broadcasting Corporation found that while Facebook gave users the ability to control what would happen to the political, religious or relationship information they had explicitly shared with Facebook, the world's largest social network is still allowing advertisers to target users based on interests it infers based on users' behavioral data, such as Facebook Pages they like.</p> <p>In some cases, these inferred interests could allow Facebook and advertisers to target users based on information they opted not to have the company retain or display.</p> <p>According to Facebook, however, the ad interests it generates are different than explicit associations users provide. </p> <p>"Like other internet companies, Facebook shows ads based on topics we think people might be interested in, but without using sensitive personal data," the company told The Guardian. "This means that someone could have an ad interest listed as gay pride because they have liked a Pride-associated page or clicked a Pride ad, but it does not reflect any personal characteristics such as gender or sexuality."</p> <p>As Facebook sees it, "Our advertising complies with relevant EU law and, like other companies, we are preparing for the GDPR to ensure we are compliant when it comes into force." </p> <p>The company does offer users the ability to remove some of their ad interests but not only is it not clear how many users know about this, it's not clear how many users are really aware of the fact the Facebook is using actions such as Likes to generate these inferred interests in the first place.</p> <p>From this perspective, there's a debate to be had about Facebook's position and whether it truly represents GDPR compliance. Specifically, Facebook's position seems to implicate Article 22 of the GDPR, which forbids any "decision based solely on automated processing, including profiling, which produces legal effects concerning [a data subject] or similarly significantly affects [the data subject]."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">This is going to be a big battleground. We talk about inferred special category data in the context of the Article 29 Working Party guidelines on profiling here &gt; <a href="https://t.co/TjCHqOvcBA">https://t.co/TjCHqOvcBA</a> (open access) <a href="https://t.co/XZB5ypjELs">https://t.co/XZB5ypjELs</a></p> — Michael Veale (@mikarv) <a href="https://twitter.com/mikarv/status/996635865442078720?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 16, 2018</a> </blockquote> <h3>The letter of the law versus the spirit of the law</h3> <p>The Guardian's Alex Hern notes that the targeting it identified is "reminiscent of Facebook’s previous attempts to skirt the line between profiling users and profiling their interests. In 2016 it was revealed that the company had created a tool for 'racial affinity targeting'." </p> <p>The operative phrase here is "skirt the line." Facebook and other large companies that rely on targeted advertising to drive the bulk of their revenue have literally tens of billions of incentives (in the form of dollars) to adhere to the letter of the law but avoid adhering to the spirit of the law if it benefits them financially.</p> <p>The big question is where the proverbial line is. The answer: nobody knows. And for that reason, it's likely that it probably won't take too long for early battles to emerge over what the GDPR actually requires.</p> <p>For ad-supported companies like Facebook, the outcome of those battles could very well determine the fate of their businesses as they currently exist.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69963 2018-04-25T15:02:19+01:00 2018-04-25T15:02:19+01:00 A brief history of artificial intelligence in advertising Lori Goldberg <p>Over a century later, American Jule Gregory Charney – who is considered the father of modern meteorology, teamed with his Norwegian and American counterparts in mathematics, meteorology and computer programming to develop the first computerized program derived for the prediction of weather. Their computerized approach was perhaps the first example of artificial intelligence (also known as machine learning) influencing consumer behavior through weather reporting.</p> <p>With this predictive analytics, shopkeepers and advertisers could effectively move merchandise associated with changes in weather, from simple umbrellas to pharmaceuticals, clothing, vacations, and air conditioners.</p> <p>Today, IBM’s The Weather Company provides actionable weather forecasts and analytics to advertisers with relevance to thousands of businesses, globally. Through the speed and agility of digital advertising, ad campaigns can flight and pause with the precision of changes in the weather… and as we know, the weather always changes. Ads for cold weather products can appear when local temperatures drop below 68 degrees, while ads for Caribbean vacations can target New York days before an approaching snowstorm.</p> <p>In the last 20 years, artificial intelligence has flooded the advertising market by helping to scale operations through programmatic and content creation, emulating human conversation via chatbots and virtual personal assistants, and refining advertising platforms to understand consumer intent.</p> <p>Just as our ability to forecast weather allows us to target advertising dollars, artificial intelligence is influencing more and more advertising decisions on our behalf. To this point, below is a brief history of advertising’s use of artificial intelligence and perhaps a glimpse of the future.</p> <h3>1998 - AI thinks you'll like this book</h3> <p>The concept of clustering consumer behaviors to predict future behaviors began at Columbia University in a report on “digital bookshelves” by Jussi Karlgren, a Swedish computational linguist. And it was in 1998 that Amazon began using "collaborative filtering" enabling recommendations for millions of customers.</p> <p>Today, Spotify recommends music you may like, Netflix suggests films and television programs you may like, and Facebook suggests friends you may know. This all comes from AI-based clustering and interpreting of consumer data paired with profile information and demographics. These AI-based systems continually adapt to your likes and dislikes and react with new recommendations tailored in real-time.</p> <h3>2013 - AI targets the labor of content creation</h3> <p>With the increasing popularity of content marketing, more content means more advertising opportunities. But the cost and pace of good journalism are considered too slow given volume of ads and eyeballs to be had. The solution: Yahoo’s Automated Insights Wordsmith Platform (now Verizon’s) uses artificial intelligence to scan billions of daily sports-related data points (scores, statistics) and structure the information in computer-generated articles summarizing games, informing fantasy sports fans, and reporting stats.</p> <p>Articles are produced with speed and scale never possible by human journalists. The AI produces natural language content and adjusts for tone and personality, giving each piece a specific journalistic attitude. Automated Insights published 300 million pieces of content in 2013 and has far exceeded 1.5 billion annually since.</p> <h3>2014 - AI optimizes decision-making and reduces labor in advertising</h3> <p>Artificial Intelligence is making advertising easier, smarter, and more efficient. When programmatic ad buying was popularized in 2014, it introduced us to artificial intelligence-based ad buying, effectively removing the broken, laborious manual tasks of researching target markets, budgets, insertion orders, and layers of additional analytics tracking – not to mention high prices.</p> <p>Through programmatic – a marketplace approach to buying and selling digital ads - the whole process is managed through intelligent tools that make decisions and recommendations based on the desired outcomes of the campaign. What was once used for ad remnants quickly and affordably became the new normal for digital publishers and some offline opportunities as well, with <a href="https://www.emarketer.com/Article/eMarketer-Releases-New-Programmatic-Advertising-Estimates/1015682">forecasts</a> estimating over $33 billion spent via programmatic in U.S ad dollars.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3899/Chat_Bot_1000px.png" alt="robot with customers" width="600"></p> <h3>2015 - A search result that understands user intent</h3> <p>Since the early 2000’s, artificial intelligence has been a compliment to search engines and their ability to provide a more logical search result. In 2015, Google introduced its latest artificial intelligence algorithm, RankBrain, which makes significant advances in interpreting search queries in new ways. Through RankBrain, Google has been successful in interpreting the intent behind a user’s search terms, making for a more relevant result.</p> <p>If Google receives a search query for a term it is unfamiliar with or lacks proper context for, it can now leverage a mathematical database derived from written language that can pair the terms with related words that give it context. Through this artificial intelligence, Google can provide a more accurate result, pleasing both consumers and advertisers.</p> <h3>2016 - AI is listening, learning and responding</h3> <p>As Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple charge forward with speech recognition on virtual assistant devices in our homes, a whole new opportunity beckons for advertisers. Just as ads ranked in Google's AdWords, will advertisers bid to influence Alexa’s product recommendations? Amazon is currently in 15 million homes and is developing advertising opportunities for Clorox, Proctor &amp; Gamble, and others to promote their products on Alexa.</p> <p>Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Slack began using AI to reduce the human labor involved in answering simple customer support questions - a cost center for any company of size. AI-powered chatbots respond to customer questions by chatting online under the auspices of customer support technicians and helpdesk prophets. These chatbots interpret the keywords in the users typed questions and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68388-how-klm-uses-bots-and-ai-in-human-social-customer-service">form likely answers to questions</a>.</p> <h3>What's next for advertisers?</h3> <p>While it's clear that AI is influencing the methods, targeting, and labor behind advertising, the future of AI may be in the ad itself. Case in point: in 2015, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/jul/27/artificial-intelligence-future-advertising-saatchi-clearchannel">M&amp;C Saatchi developed</a> what is widely considered to be the world's first AI-powered advertisement.</p> <p>Built for a fictitious coffee company, Bahio, and debuting in central London, this virtual "poster" changes based on consumer reaction, with various text and image options that elicit different reactions. Given the consumer data collected by Google, Facebook and others, perhaps custom AI-oriented advertisements are the future of advertising with language, cadence, images and colors custom designed to appeal to the viewer. Could these custom ads be triggered by the user data in our cell phones?</p> <p><em><strong>Further reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69964-marketers-beware-these-six-misconceptions-of-ai/">Marketers, beware these six misconceptions of AI</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69961-the-implications-of-voice-tech-for-marketers-from-brand-to-customer-service/">The implications of voice tech for marketers, from brand to customer service</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67422-how-argos-models-ppc-on-tv-weather-seasonality">How Argos models PPC on TV, weather &amp; seasonality</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69920 2018-04-09T10:30:00+01:00 2018-04-09T10:30:00+01:00 Six big retargeting mistakes marketers should avoid Patricio Robles <h3>Retargeting users who have already converted</h3> <p>The productivity of retargeting campaigns can mask waste. One of the more common forms of waste is retargeting individuals who are already customers of a service. For example, a SaaS provider using a pixel-based retargeting solution might not take care to exclude or remove users who are already customers, leading to retargeted ads being displayed unnecessarily to individuals who have already completed the action the ads are attempting to drive.</p> <p>This mistake can also occur when using retargeting lists that have been manually created. If the lists are not updated frequently enough, individuals who have since converted could be retargeted.</p> <h3>Failing to segment</h3> <p>Segmentation is critical in most digital marketing campaigns, from developing creative to allocating spend. Retargeting is no exception but some marketers fail to apply appropriate segmentation to retargeting campaigns. At best, this leaves money on the table. At worst, it can reduce ROI. </p> <p>There are numerous ways for marketers to segment for retargeting campaigns. There's behavior, of course. For example, it can be valuable to segment users based on the pages they visit or the actions they take or don't take. There can also be value in segmenting users based on geography, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64481-finding-your-best-customers-with-the-rfm-matrix">recency</a>, estimated <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65435-what-is-customer-lifetime-value-clv-and-why-do-you-need-to-measure-it">customer lifetime value</a> (CLV) and where the customer is in the funnel.</p> <h3>Not delivering the right ads</h3> <p>As with any digital marketing campaign, it's often not enough to deliver an ad to the right person at the right time. Instead, the ad that's delivered has to be compelling. Take, for instance, a retailer that retargets website visitors with ads for products that they never viewed. While it might seem like common sense to ensure that retargeted ads promote products, services or content that users have demonstrated some interest in, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66622-how-not-to-be-creepy-with-display-ad-retargeting">this type of mistake does happen</a>. </p> <p>Markets should seek to avoid this wherever possible by implementing logic that aims to maximize the relevancy of the retargeted ads. For example, a retailer stands to benefit if it can identify the products a user's behavior suggested were of the greatest interest and delivering ads for those products.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3432/Retargeting_wo_logo.png" alt="retargeted ad" width="450"></p> <h3>Ignoring the power of promotions</h3> <p>While discounts and other incentives should not be employed willy nilly, they can be particularly effective when strategically applied to retargeting campaigns. For example, a retailer that is retargeting a user who abandoned a cart with high-value and/or high-margin items might find that it makes sense to promote the availability of a discount in a retargeted ad to incentivize the prospective buyer to complete the purchase.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/4427/Waitrose_1.png" alt="" width="300" height="251"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/4428/Waitrose_2.png" alt="" width="300" height="251"></p> <h3>Not managing frequency</h3> <p>Retargeted ads can be creepy and off-putting if overused. Unfortunately, many marketers fall into the trap of not setting frequency caps on their retargeted ads, meaning that users can quickly get the impression they're being stalked around the web.</p> <h3>Building flawed lookalike audiences</h3> <p>Many marketers that use retargeting also take advantage of associated <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65505-lookalike-audiences-the-next-big-thing-in-marketing">lookalike audience</a> solutions which can amplify the power of retargeting-based campaigns. But when one or more of the mistakes above have been made, those lookalike audiences might not be nearly as powerful as they could have been.</p> <p>For instance, if a marketer has failed to segment and has a single retargeting list, it will have a single lookalike audience. But if that marketer had segmented appropriately, it could create multiple lookalike audiences, create custom ads for each audience, and allocate more budget as appropriate to the most important and/or productive lookalike audiences.</p> <p><em><strong>For more on this topic, why not try Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/programmatic/">Introduction to Programmatic</a> training course.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69919 2018-04-04T18:42:00+01:00 2018-04-04T18:42:00+01:00 Facebook will soon require marketers to confirm they have user consent for Custom Audiences Patricio Robles <p>Facebook is building a tool that will require marketers “represent and warrant” to Facebook that they have this permission at the time they upload the data. While Facebook spokesperson Elisabeth Diana told TechCrunch that the company has always had terms around consent, “we're going to make that much more prominent and educate advertisers on the way they can use the data.”</p> <h3>Rules versus enforcement</h3> <p>When asked, Facebook's Diana did not indicate whether Facebook has actually ever cracked down on a marketer for a violation of these terms in connection with the use of Custom Audiences, and therein lies the problem for the world's largest social network: the Cambridge Analytica scandal suggests that Facebook has been lax when it comes to enforcing terms intended to protect users, is unable to police its platform because it's too big and open, or both.</p> <p>It's not clear that requiring marketers have consent to use the data they upload to Facebook Custom Audiences will actually prevent marketers from abusing the rules. After all, nothing will stop a less-than-savory marketer from representing to Facebook that it has consent when it doesn't, and it will be very difficult if not virtually impossible for Facebook to proactively identify violations.</p> <h3>A sea change for data on Facebook</h3> <p>Even if requiring marketers to explicitly state they have permission to use data doesn't in and of itself prevent abuse, it does suggest that Facebook is laying the groundwork to crack down on marketers if it's later discovered that they broke the company's rules. </p> <p>Once Facebook has a record of a marketer representing that its data use is above board, punishing it or terminating its relationship will be easier if Facebook learns the representation wasn't true. It could possibly even allow Facebook to take legal action against violators.</p> <p>When coupled with Facebook's <a href="https://www.recode.net/2018/3/28/17174098/facebook-data-advertising-targeting-change-experian-acxiom">decision to eliminate its Partner Categories targeting options</a>, which gave marketers the ability to target people based on offline behaviors tracked by third party partners, it's clear that Facebook is getting serious about how data is used on its platform.</p> <h3>Implications for marketers</h3> <p>That obviously, has significant implication for marketers. Specifically, Facebook's pending Custom Audiences certification requirement is a clear indication that the anything goes, Wild Wild West environment that has existed for years on the world's largest social network is fast coming to an end.</p> <p>But this trend change isn't just about Facebook's ongoing woes, and it <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2018/03/29/facebook-has-rolled-out-privacy-changes%E2%80%94but-its-doing-it-for-gdpr.html">isn't even exclusive</a> to Facebook. That's because the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/hello/gdpr-for-marketers/">GDPR</a> is coming into force in less than two months and under the GDPR, marketers will be required to obtain the consent Facebook is asking marketers to represent they have anyway. So more than anything else, Facebook's Custom Audiences update is just another reminder that the game is changing and marketers need to be prepared if they want to keep playing.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69852 2018-03-08T13:15:00+00:00 2018-03-08T13:15:00+00:00 Will digital phenotyping ever be applied to pharma marketing? Patricio Robles <p>While pharma marketers have lots of room for improvement in terms of how they connect to professionals and consumers online, they're increasingly active in digital channels ranging from search to social.</p> <p>Through these digital channels, pharma marketers have the opportunity to connect healthcare professionals and consumers to content and resources that are relevant to conditions they treat, are being treated for, or need treatment for.</p> <p>Of course, thanks to regulations like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67498-digital-media-vs-hipaa-violations-risking-your-reputation-in-healthcare">HIPAA</a>, pharma marketers are far more limited in how they can target their digital ads. Use of first-party data is generally a no-no, and some otherwise commonly-used types of remarketing are also often not permissible.</p> <p>This makes it more difficult for pharma marketers to reach the specific people they want to reach. So they develop campaigns that are less granularly targeted and thus often more expensive. They purchase ads against specific condition-related terms. And so on and so forth.</p> <p>But in the not too distant future, is it possible that pharma marketers will have access to targeting solutions based on digital phenotyping?</p> <p>As the New York Times <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/25/technology/smartphones-mental-health.html">recently detailed</a> in a piece about digital phenotyping, which one study defined as “moment-by-moment quantification of the individual-level human phenotype in situ using data from personal digital devices, a growing number of tech companies and researchers “are tracking users' social media posts, calls, scrolls and clicks in search of behavior changes that could correlate with disease symptoms.”</p> <p>Much of the exploration of digital phenotyping to date has focused on mental illness and mood disorders. For instance, Mindstrong Health, a mental health startup, is analyzing smartphone usage in an attempt to detect signs of depression. And Facebook is already using artificial intelligence to scan content posted by users for signs of suicidal thought. In some cases, it has used its technology to display notifications or to alert local authorities so they can follow up and intervene if necessary.</p> <p>While there are significant questions about the accuracy of digital phenotyping, it's not difficult to see the potential for it to also be applied to digital marketing, giving pharma marketers the ability to target consumers on more than just demographics, stated interests, search keywords and the like.</p> <h3>The big question: will this ever happen?</h3> <p>That isn't clear. Facebook, for instance, <a href="https://www.statnews.com/2016/11/01/facebook-pharma-drug-ads/">has been vying for pharma ad dollars</a>, apparently with mixed success. The social media giant late last year <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/07/facebook-held-a-breakfast-to-promote-clinical-trials-strategy.html">held an event</a> to pitch pharma marketers on the use of Facebook to target users for clinical trials. At that event, it reportedly indicated that it would not allow pharma marketers to target users based on health conditions.</p> <p>Facebook's stance makes sense. Allowing pharma marketers to target its users based on conditions the social network knows or thinks they have would almost certainly lead to a PR backlash. There would no doubt be calls for legal and regulatory action. In Europe this sort of profiling is regulated by the new <a href="https://econsultancy.com/hello/gdpr-for-marketers/">GDPR</a>.</p> <h3>A reminder of the value of digital data</h3> <p>While it's possible that other players in the digital advertising ecosystem might be more willing than Facebook to apply digital phenotyping to marketing solutions – there is already a sizable and growing market for <a href="https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/312819/in-pharma-marketing-programmatic-offers-solutions.html">third-party data</a> – one of the most important take-aways for pharma marketers in the rise of digital phenotyping is that digital data is extremely valuable and might prove even more valuable than previously thought.</p> <p>Pharma marketers should keep this in mind as they develop homegrown digital initiatives.</p> <p><em>To learn more about digital transformation in Pharma, join us at ePharma in New York on March 21-23. Our VP of Research Stefan Tornquist will be discussing the future of digital and marketing with Anthony Lambrou, Director of Corporate Strategy and Innovation at Pfizer, as well as hosting a roundtable for you to learn, share and connect with fellow pharma marketers. Find out more and secure your spot:</em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://lifesciences.knect365.com/epharma/agenda/3#epharma-roundtable-digital-transformation-to-future-proof-your-marketing">ePharma Roundtable: Digital Transformation to Future-Proof Your Marketing</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://lifesciences.knect365.com/epharma/agenda/3#main-stage-keynotes_the-future-of-digital-and-marketing">The Future of Digital and Marketing</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69479 2017-10-09T14:30:00+01:00 2017-10-09T14:30:00+01:00 A beginner's guide to Facebook Custom Audiences Patricio Robles <p>Here's a look at the different Custom Audiences that Facebook allows marketers to create and some tips to get the most out of Custom Audiences.</p> <h3>Custom Audiences from your Customer File</h3> <p>As the name suggests, a Custom Audience from your Customer File allows marketers to target their existing customers by uploading a list of its customers. This list typically contains unique customer contact information, such as an email address or phone number, but can also include other attributes, such as name, ZIP code, age and date of birth.</p> <p>With this information, Facebook attempts to identify customers who have Facebook accounts so that they can be targeted.</p> <h3>Custom Audiences from your Website</h3> <p>Custom Audiences from your Website allow marketers to retarget Facebook ads to Facebook users who have visited and interacted with their websites. </p> <p>To start, the Facebook Pixel is added to a website, which allows Facebook to track users and match them to their Facebook accounts. To assist with matching, marketers have the option of configuring the Facebook Pixel to have access to information like the user's email address, where available.</p> <p>Once the Facebook Pixel is in place, marketers can create one or more Custom Audiences based on rules (and combinations of rules) that look at users' behavior on the website. For example, marketers can target users who have visited the website within the past X days, who have visited at a certain frequency or who visited specific pages.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9439/18761933_133200927235063_2653394198052470784_n.png" alt="" width="523" height="495"></p> <p>Marketers can also target users based on events that were tracked by the Facebook Pixel. For example, a Custom Audience could be built for users who added a product to cart, abandoned their cart or completed a purchase.</p> <p>Custom Audiences from your Website is one of the most powerful tools in the Facebook marketer's toolbox. Retailers frequently use it to retarget users who previously demonstrated interest in specific products. Real estate agents use it to retarget to users whose website behavior suggests they might be interested in a specific property. Professional sports teams use it to target previous ticket buyers. And so on and so forth.</p> <h3>Custom Audiences from your Mobile App</h3> <p>Lots of companies have developed mobile apps, but mobile apps present numerous challenges for marketers. Specifically, acquiring app users can be a costly proposition and retention is notoriously difficult.</p> <p>To help marketers address these challenges, Facebook offers marketers the ability to retarget users of their mobile apps through Custom Audiences from your Mobile App. </p> <p>This functions a lot like Custom Audiences from your Website except that these Custom Audiences consist of users who have interacted with a marketer's native mobile app.</p> <p>Custom Audiences from your Mobile App takes advantage of Apple's IDFA (“identifier for advertisers”), Google's Android Advertising ID or Facebook's App User ID to match mobile app users to Facebook accounts.</p> <p>To help marketers create Custom Audiences that are meaningful, Facebook offers a set of standard app events that can be used to target users who have engaged with an app in a particular fashion. For example, standard app events offered to retailers include <em>Search</em>, <em>Add to Cart</em> and <em>Initiate Checkout</em>, while standard app events offered to game developers include <em>Completed Tutorial</em>, <em>Level Achieved</em> and <em>Achievement Unlocked</em>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9486/custom_audiences.png" alt="custom audiences" width="550"></p> <h3>Engagement Custom Audiences</h3> <p>While off-Facebook engagement is obviously important to many if not most marketers, many marketers are highly active on the world's largest social network and therefore might have reasons to target users based on how they interact with them on Facebook.</p> <p>To do that, Facebook offers Engagement Custom Audiences, which allows marketers to build Custom Audiences around on-Facebook interactions related to videos, lead forms, Pages, Canvases, events and Instagram business profile.</p> <p>Depending on the interaction type, Facebook offers marketers the ability to target users who have taken or haven't taken specific actions. For instance, when creating a Custom Audience for users who have interacted with a lead form, marketers can specify a specific lead form. They can also choose to specifically target users who interacted with it in the past X days and either submitted or didn't submit the form.</p> <h3>Custom Audiences from your Store Visits</h3> <p>Facebook's latest Custom Audience offering could prove to be one of its most interesting for businesses that have physical locations.</p> <p>As the name suggests, Custom Audiences from your Store Visits allows marketers to create Custom Audiences consisting of Facebook users who visited one or more of their physical locations. </p> <p>Facebook appears to automatically identify users based on its ability to track their physical movements through the Facebook App. As MarketingLand <a href="https://marketingland.com/facebook-tests-targeting-ads-people-visited-brands-brick-mortar-stores-221585">notes</a>, this is “the same method that Facebook has employed when targeting ads to people near an advertiser’s chosen location and when estimating how many store visits were driven by a brand’s Facebook campaign.”</p> <p>If eventually rolled out widely, Custom Audiences from your Store Visits will give lots of businesses – from local mom-and-pop shops to large, national retailers – the ability to connect the online and offline worlds and reach out to the people who have engaged with them in the real world.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9487/custom_store_visits.jpg" alt="store visits custom audiences" width="600"></p> <h3>Custom Audience Tips and Tricks</h3> <p>While Custom Audiences in all their forms have great potential, there are a number of ways that marketers can maximize the value they get from creating Custom Audiences. These include the use of:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Lookalike Audiences.</strong> Perhaps the biggest bonus to using Custom Audiences is that Facebook can use them to create audiences of users who are similar to the Custom Audiences. This gives marketers the ability to target ads to users who might be more interested in their products and services.</li> <li> <strong>Household Audiences.</strong> In addition to Lookalike Audiences, Facebook also gives marketers the ability to target individuals who it determines are members of the same household as Custom Audience users. This feature, which was unveiled this year, <a href="http://www.adweek.com/digital/facebook-will-soon-let-brands-target-ads-at-entire-families-or-specific-people-within-households/">is pitched</a> by Facebook as a means to “[influence] across the family.”</li> <li> <strong>Targeting.</strong> When creating an ad campaign for a Custom Audience, Facebook offers the ability to further target members of the Custom Audience based on characteristics such as location, age, gender and interests. While marketers should be wary of over-targeting, highly-segmented campaigns based on Custom Audiences can be very powerful when used wisely.</li> </ul> <p>There are also a number of potential gotchas marketers employing Custom Audiences should be aware of. </p> <p>One of the biggest is the potential for overlap when targeting ads to multiple Custom Audiences. Fortunately, Facebook offers an Audience Overlap Tool for determining how much overlap there is between multiple audiences. Armed with this knowledge, marketers can make adjustments to ensure their campaigns aren't being negatively impacted.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9440/13910710_1060868077338367_721590579_n.png" alt="" width="562" height="277"></p> <p>Another caveat, particularly for smaller businesses, is that it can be more difficult to achieve the best results when dealing with very small Custom Audiences. In this case, it's important for marketers using Custom Audiences from your Customer File to ensure that they're uploading refreshed customer files frequently as their customer numbers grow. </p> <p>It can often be advantageous for marketers working with smaller Custom Audiences to look at using Lookalike and Household Audiences.</p> <p><em><strong>For more on paid social media, subscribers can download our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-social-media-advertising/">Paid Social Media Advertising Best Practice Guide</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69437 2017-09-22T13:30:00+01:00 2017-09-22T13:30:00+01:00 What advertisers need to know about Safari's new anti-tracking feature Patricio Robles <p>Here's what advertisers need to know about the new feature and how it could affect their ability to target ads to consumers.</p> <h3>What is it?</h3> <p>As its name suggests, Intelligent Tracking Prevention is an anti-tracking feature that is designed to protect user privacy. Specifically, it “reduces cross-site tracking by further limiting cookies and other website data.”</p> <h3>How does it work?</h3> <p>Intelligent Tracking Prevention looks at the resources web pages load as well as how users interact with those pages. Interactions captured include taps, clicks, and text entries. </p> <p>The data Intelligent Tracking Prevention collects is put into buckets for each top-level domain (TLD) or TLD+1. It is then run through a machine learning model to determine whether the domain in question is capable of cross-site tracking. </p> <p>Apple WebKit engineer John Wilander <a href="https://webkit.org/blog/7675/intelligent-tracking-prevention/">explained</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Out of the various statistics collected, three vectors turned out to have strong signal for classification based on current tracking practices: subresource under number of unique domains, sub frame under number of unique domains, and number of unique domains redirected to. </p> </blockquote> <h3>What does it do?</h3> <p>Once Intelligent Tracking Prevention detects cross-site tracking, it takes action to either keep or purge first-party cookies and website data based on a number of factors.</p> <p>For example, for the TLD example.com, if a user has not interacted with the website for 30 days, Intelligent Tracking Prevention will purge its cookies and website data. On the other hand, if the user does interact with the example.com website, it will allow its cookies to be used in a third-party context for 24 hours.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/9080/webkit-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="152"></p> <p>According to Wilander, “This means users only have long-term persistent cookies and website data from the sites they actually interact with and tracking data is removed proactively as they browse the web.”</p> <p>To ensure that users can stay logged into websites, partitioned cookie functionality has been added to WebKit. This allows for a website to keep its cookies beyond 24 hours for the purpose of keeping users signed in but not for cross-site tracking.</p> <h3>Why is the ad industry so upset?</h3> <p>The current version of Safari already blocks third-party cookies but as the ad industry sees it, the potential blocking of first-party cookies goes way too far.</p> <p>Six industry groups, including the Interactive Advertising Bureau, American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, and the 4A's, penned <a href="http://www.adweek.com/digital/every-major-advertising-group-is-blasting-apple-for-blocking-cookies-in-the-safari-browser/">an open letter</a> to Apple “from the Digital Advertising Community.”</p> <p>In it, the groups argue that “Safari's new 'Intelligent Tracking Prevention' would change the rules by which cookies are set and recognized by browsers”, in turn disrupting the infrastructure of the digital economy. The letter explains that “Blocking cookies in this manner will drive a wedge between brands and their customers, and it will make advertising more generic and less timely and useful.”</p> <p>In practical terms, Intelligent Tracking Prevention will severely disrupt behavioral targeting and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64099-what-is-retargeting-and-why-do-you-need-it">retargeting</a>. While these forms of targeting are very popular with advertisers because of their efficacy, they are frequently the source of complaints from consumers and privacy advocates.</p> <h3>How has Apple responded?</h3> <p>Those user complaints seem to carry a lot of weight with Apple, which is refusing to give in to the ad industry's demands to rethink Intelligent Tracking Prevention.</p> <p>“Apple believes that people have a right to privacy – Safari was the first browser to block third-party cookies by default and Intelligent Tracking Prevention is a more advanced method for protecting user privacy,” the company stated. “The feature does not block ads or interfere with legitimate tracking on the sites that people actually click on and visit. Cookies for sites that you interact with function as designed, and ads placed by web publishers will appear normally.”</p> <h3>How is the ad industry likely to respond?</h3> <p>Of course, advertisers are unlikely to resign themselves to a new world in which cross-site tracking is difficult if not impossible in the most popular mobile browser.</p> <p>As privacy expert Alexander Hanff <a href="https://privacy-news.net/news_article/5936b50c178a907559b1e5f3">noted</a>, Intelligent Tracking Prevention can't thwart server-side tracking and now that Apple is taking aim at client-based cross-site tracking, “it is highly probable that Apple's new approach to tracking will only accelerate a move to these server side technologies from those who have yet to use them.”</p> <p>So even if Apple's move causes a lot of hand-waving, given the importance of cross-site tracking to the online advertising ecosystem, this almost certainly won't be the end of the story.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69422 2017-09-15T10:00:00+01:00 2017-09-15T10:00:00+01:00 Four brands that used student ambassadors to generate buzz on campus Nikki Gilliland <p>An increasing number of brands are looking to students to become ambassadors, with the aim of boosting awareness and driving engagement in university campuses and beyond.</p> <p>So, how do they do it, and what are the benefits? Here’s a bit more on the subject.</p> <h3>A lucrative market</h3> <p>Despite the majority of students relying on loans to get through university, research suggests that many will still spend their money on <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/01/05/nearly-third-students-waste-student-loans-shopping-sprees-drinking/" target="_blank">non-essential items</a> such as clothing and drinking. </p> <p>For brands, this presents a clear opportunity, especially considering that many students will be living away from home for the first time - also becoming financially independent, and forging brand affinities in categories such as finance, travel, and lifestyle.</p> <p>So, with many brands in the UK focusing on sales – promoting discounts and deals to capture student attention – many are failing to recognise that they could be building affinity based on defining moments. This means tapping into university ‘firsts’ such as learning how to cook, doing laundry, setting up household utilities, and so on. </p> <p>Meanwhile, brands also forget that students care about more than just money. According to a survey by Chegg, 88% of students said they are more responsive to brands that give back to the community, reflecting the fact that brands need to do more than just overtly sell their product.</p> <h3>The power of influence</h3> <p>According to <a href="http://searchengineland.com/88-consumers-trust-online-reviews-much-personal-recommendations-195803" target="_blank">research</a>, 88% of consumers now trust the opinions of influencers as much as they do their friends. Similarly, <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69161-micro-influencers-how-to-find-the-right-fit-for-your-brand">micro-influencers</a> – who have a smaller reach but a more authentic reputation – can generate four times the engagement of larger influencers.</p> <p>Why is this important? Essentially, brands are now recruiting students to act as micro-influencers in universities. Instead of faceless ads, students are advertising to other students, effectively building advocacy for the brand or its products on a more personal level.</p> <p>In this sense, brand ambassadors can also act as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66569-five-ways-to-use-social-proof-online" target="_blank">social proof</a>. This means that if a student sees one or a group of influential peers wearing a particular brand, there's a chance that they’ll want to follow the crowd. The hope is that this could also create a snowball effect, with students going home and influencing friends and family away from their university circle.</p> <h3>Gaining insight</h3> <p>Student ambassadors can also act as eyes and ears on the ground, gathering insight about students on behalf of a company – i.e. what they want from a brand as well as their general perceptions and opinions.</p> <p>One popular ambassador activity is to hand out product samples, which can be effective for gaining instant feedback. This one-to-one communication can enable brands to gather more meaningful insight. </p> <p>Another benefit is that student ambassadors will sound exactly like the people they’re trying to target, taking away the danger of <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/67886-word-on-the-street-four-tips-for-using-slang-in-marketing" target="_blank">cringey brand communications</a>.</p> <h3>Long-term loyalty</h3> <p>Another reason to use this strategy is the potential to instil long-term loyalty in student consumers. </p> <p>First, ambassadors themselves are likely to stay brand-loyal long after they leave university – this is because they tend to feel part of the businesses that they are representing. </p> <p>In turn, they can also help to generate long-term loyalty in others. Again, this is down to the fact that students tend to be forming opinions and brand affinities for the first time. So by creating relationships with students at such an important and influential stage in their life, brands can increase the likelihood of sustaining affinity until later on in life, or perhaps even benefit from sentimentality about student days.</p> <p>So which brands have succeeded with student ambassadors? Here are a few examples.</p> <h3>1. American Eagle Outfitters</h3> <p>US retailer American Eagle previously enlisted ambassadors to help new students settle into their dorms at universities across the US. Dubbed the ‘Move-In Crew’, the ambassadors were there to carry and unload boxes, but also took the opportunity to hand out special American Eagle merchandise such as water bottles, pens, and coupons. </p> <p>By doing a good deed, the idea was that American Eagle would stick in the minds of new students, also promoting it as more than just a corporate brand.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8973/AE.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="453"></p> <h3>2. Nestlé </h3> <p>As well as turning students into customers, brands also look to universities to target potential future employees. </p> <p>A few years ago, Nestlé was struggling to attract talent from US universities, specifically in the Midwest. As a result, it used an ambassador programme to generate buzz about Nestlé careers, using a combination of on-campus promotions and events to do so. </p> <p>Nestlé ‘street teams’ distributed Nestlé chocolates along with event information at business and engineering schools, simultaneously promoting happy hour nights and the company on social media.</p> <p>The initiative was a success, resulting in 600 student attendees per event and a 64% increase in annual applications to Nestlé jobs compared to the previous year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8974/Nestle_Academy.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="512"></p> <h3>3. Lucozade</h3> <p>Last year, Lucozade launched its first ever student ambassador campaign to help increase sales of its new Lucozade Zero drink.</p> <p>Recruiting students to be the face of the brand on university campuses across the UK, ambassadors were put in charge of ‘brand stations’, whereby students could taste samples of Lucozade and get involved with a ‘Hit Zero’ game.</p> <p>With 66 events held, more than 100,000 samples handed out, and 330 game winners, it was a successful example of how to increase exposure and build buzz about a new product.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8971/Lucozade_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="415"></p> <h3>4. Tinder</h3> <p>In its early days, <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68511-how-tinder-is-encouraging-millennials-to-make-more-meaningful-connections" target="_blank">Tinder</a> took a top-down approach to marketing, recruiting influential college ambassadors to promote the app to friends and fellow students. </p> <p>In fact, Tinder was first launched at the University of Southern California with a birthday party thrown for a co-founder’s brother and his friends (who were students at the time). In order to attend, guests had to download the app – a stipulation that resulted in the number of uses increasing to over 4,000 by the end of the week.</p> <p>From there, Tinder continued to capitalise on the highly social environment of university, recruiting ambassadors to continue promoting the app, often during fraternity parties and big college events.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8972/Tinder.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="392"></p> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67550-student-com-the-website-set-to-revolutionise-student-accommodation/">Student.com: the website set to revolutionise student accommodation</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67550-student-com-the-website-set-to-revolutionise-student-accommodation/">How ASOS targeted students via ‘Blank Canvas’ competition</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69399 2017-09-13T11:00:00+01:00 2017-09-13T11:00:00+01:00 Why GDPR is great news for marketers and will create a more efficient data economy Daniel Gilbert <p dir="ltr">Why anyone whose business relies on personal data would be ungrateful for <a href="https://econsultancy.com/hello/gdpr-for-marketers/">the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)</a> is a mystery to me: it is a huge step in the right direction, designed to benefit data holders and consumers alike. There are costs to becoming ready, and the potential risk of being fined for non-compliance – but these are short-term problems, which will soon be forgotten in the wake of a more transparent, efficient data economy.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/a-marketer-s-guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3207/gdpr_report.png" alt="gdpr report banner" width="615" height="243"></a></p> <p>In relation to digital advertising, the new regulation will have a positive impact on the quality of the data used for targeting, the relevance of ads, and the attitude towards those ads on behalf of the consumer. Ultimately, GDPR will greatly enhance the performance of any digital marketing campaign.</p> <h3>Creepy vs. Relevant</h3> <p>Online advertising treads a fine line between being creepy and relevant. An oft-cited example comes from the US clothing store, <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/#1fb3a72f6668">Target</a>, which epitomises the current issue with targeted advertising. Using an algorithm to analyse the purchasing habits of its customers (based on data obtained from loyalty cards), Target was able to predict, amongst other things, when one of its shoppers became pregnant and adapt its marketing accordingly.</p> <p>On one occasion, Target sent a bundle of soon-to-be-a-mom-related coupons to a 16-year-old customer; her father sent an irate complaint, only to discover that Target, before even the daughter had realised it, was right.</p> <p>This is an extreme case of creepiness, yet this feeling and a number of other synonymous attitudes, are prevalent amongst recipients of targeted advertising. And underlying this sense of creepiness, is ultimately a lack of trust. According to the largest European consumer survey to date, <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/archives/ebs/ebs_359_en.pdf">the Special Eurobarometer 359 report</a> (2010), ‘70% of Europeans are concerned that their personal data held by companies may be used for a purpose other than that for which it was collected.’</p> <p>Furthermore, ‘Just over a quarter of social network users (26%) and even fewer online shoppers (18%) feel in complete control.’ <a href="https://www.symantec.com/content/en/us/about/presskits/b-state-of-privacy-report-2015.pdf">The Symantec State of Privacy Report</a> (2015) reports similar findings: ‘only 22% trusted "tech companies" to keep data completely secure and only 10% trusted social media organisations’. And, considering current practices, it’s not really that surprising that this is the case.</p> <p>As a result of this lack of trust, many consumers are resorting to either not sharing their data, or falsifying it. A report by the <a href="http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/05/20/americans-attitudes-about-privacy-security-and-surveillance/">Pew Research Center</a> (2013), found that ‘an estimated 86% of consumers in the US had falsified or misrepresented their personal information online’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8921/Pew_survey.png" alt="" width="700" height="590"></p> <p><em>Further stats from Pew Research</em></p> <p>In a report published earlier this month in the <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0267257X.2017.1348011">Journal of Marketing Management</a>, Girish Punj warns that ‘the trend towards the falsification of online information could be particularly detrimental for mobile commerce firms because they require accurate location-aware, real-time information on consumers for personalising communications and customising product offers’.</p> <p>In simple terms, the current relationship between advertisers and consumers is damaging to both parties. GDPR presents a massive step forward to repairing this relationship, and improving personal data quality.</p> <h3>Data transparency</h3> <p>Greater media transparency has become the number one priority of advertisers over the last couple of years, especially since the publication of the <a href="http://www.ana.net/content/show/id/industry-initiative-media-transparency-report">ANA K2 report in 2016</a>. What about transparency between advertiser and consumer?</p> <p>At the moment, internet users are heavily deterred from making an informed decision about whether to share their data, the potential consequences of such sharing, and what exactly is happening to their data once it has been submitted.  </p> <p>In the previously mentioned research by Symantec, ‘59% of respondents said that they only skim read the terms and conditions when buying products or services online’ and ‘14% said they never read the terms and conditions’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8922/symantec_stats.png" alt="" width="684" height="388"></p> <p>The Eurobarometer research found that ‘58% of respondents who use the internet usually read privacy statements’, but ‘24% of those who read them said that they did not fully understand what they are reading.’</p> <p>A study by the <a href="https://ico.org.uk/media/about-the-ico/documents/1431717/data-protection-rights-what-the-public-want-and-what-the-public-want-from-data-protection-authorities.pdf">ICO</a> (2015) found that a focus group’s ‘awareness of privacy notices was extremely limited’, and number of studies have criticised the lack of granularity in options, leading to consumers needing to make compromises, e.g. opting to share data in exchange for valuable information.</p> <h3>The positive impact of GDPR</h3> <p>If GDPR is able to achieve what it sets out to – ensuring data transparency, increasing individual control – then advertisers can expect a much improved relationship with their audience. A study by the <a href="http://www.twi-kreuzlingen.ch/uploads/tx_cal/media/TWI-RPS-099-Schudy-Utikal.pdf">Thurgau Institute of Economics</a> (2015) concludes that ‘transparency leads to an increase in the individual’s willingness to share personal information as the individual is able to see and assess the collected information and the possible use of it’.</p> <p>Part of transparency is understanding the benefits of data sharing. A study by <a href="http://www.sciencewise-erc.org.uk/cms/assets/Uploads/SocialIntelligenceBigData.pdf">Sciencewise</a>, a UK government-funded programme, found ‘personal benefit to be the strongest incentive’ for those in favour of sharing personal information, yet, according to a study by <a href="https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/deloitte-analytics/data-nation-2012-our-lives-in-data.pdf">Deloitte</a> (2012), ‘62% of consumers are not confident that sharing their data with companies or public sector bodies will result in better services or more relevant products’.</p> <p>The majority of internet users don’t believe in the benefits of an open data economy, but GDPR will help to make these benefits clearer. In terms of advertising, the main advantage will always be greater personalisation, along with the more indirect, general reward of a more efficient ad industry driving economic growth. Beyond this, there is the potential of data to be used for improving services, and generating a global network of information with incalculable social benefits.</p> <h3>We need to make GDPR work</h3> <p>GDPR, for all of the praise within this article, is imperfect. There are a number of foreseeable loopholes that may be exploited by data holders, potential limitations to the efficacy of the regulations in terms of empowering individuals to exercise their new rights, and a number of ambiguities that may lead to confusion when the law becomes implemented next year.</p> <p>A number of commentators are also questioning to what extent data holders/processors will fulfil <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69376-gdpr-requires-privacy-by-design-but-what-is-it-and-how-can-marketers-comply">the ‘privacy by design’ principle</a> that is so important to the success of the EU’s ambition. And, so long as businesses are convinced that non-transparent data practices are to their advantage, there is plenty of reason to be pessimistic about GDPR: perhaps, despite all this anticipation, it will actually have very little impact?</p> <p>The answer depends on all of us. Not since AdWords has there been a better opportunity for improving the transparency of advertising, and for aligning the interests of consumers with the objectives of businesses. It is up to all of us on the other side of the screen to use GDPR to make advertising better, and rejuvenate the digital world.</p> <p><em>For more resources on this topic, check out <a href="https://econsultancy.com/hello/gdpr-for-marketers/">Econsultancy's GDPR hub page</a> or sign up to our </em><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/training/courses/gdpr-data-driven-marketing">GDPR &amp; Data-Driven Marketing Training</a>.</em></p> <p><a style="border: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #3380ff;" href="https://www.econsultancy.com/training/courses/gdpr-data-driven-marketing"><img style="font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; font-variant: inherit;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/4384/London_F2F_GDPR_course_BOOK.png" alt="gdpr course" width="615" height="214"></a></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69410 2017-09-11T14:01:00+01:00 2017-09-11T14:01:00+01:00 Verizon wants customers to give up their data for targeted ads, and it's willing to pay Patricio Robles <p>As The Wall Street Journal <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/verizon-wants-to-build-an-advertising-juggernaut-it-needs-your-data-first-1504603801">detailed</a> on Monday, Verizon has launched a new program called <a href="https://www.verizonwireless.com/rewards/verizon-up/">Verizon Up</a> that offers users rewards like free music, Uber rides, sports gear, coffee and discounts on new phones. There are also "amazing once-in-a-lifetime experiences and front-row tickets" to concerts, movies and sporting events.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8822/verizonupreward.png" alt="" width="517" height="368"></p> <p>Verizon boasts that "no points or levels [are] required" in its new rewards program. For every $300 spent on a Verizon Wireless monthly bill, customers receive one credit.</p> <p>Oh, and there's one more thing: to participate in Verizon Up, customers have to opt into Verizon Selects, a program that "uses information about your web browsing, app usage, device location, use of Verizon services and other information about you (such as your postal/email addresses, demographics, and interests) and shares information with Oath (formed by the combination of AOL and Yahoo)" to "personalize your experiences and make advertising you see more useful across the devices and services you use."</p> <p>In other words, to score rewards, Verizon customers have to allow Verizon to use the data it has about them to deliver targeted ads.</p> <h3>A new kind of truth in advertising?</h3> <p>Naturally, Verizon Up is going to have its critics, but the company believes it is actually being more transparent and honest with its customers than many other digital advertising players are with their users.</p> <p>Verizon's CMO, Diego Scotti, pointed to Google and Facebook, telling the Wall Street Journal, "Some of our competitors, they have exactly the same thing, it's just buried in the terms and conditions of the service. We are not hiding anything."</p> <p>It's not a bad point.</p> <p><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69381-the-google-facebook-duopoly-extends-to-mobile-apps-what-can-marketers-do">Google and Facebook</a> are under increasing scrutiny as their digital ad dominance grows. Both companies track users across the web and across devices. And in most cases, average users don't know when they're being tracked or how to control the data collected even when they have the ability to. In July, a judge in California dismissed a lawsuit against Facebook over its tracking of users even when logged out. Users don't have an expectation of privacy, the judge ruled.</p> <p>Google and Facebook, of course, offer a lot of value to users and the argument is that users allow these companies to collect data and advertise to them as payment for their otherwise free services. "If you're not paying for it, you're not the customer, you're the product" the saying goes.</p> <p>For years, some argued that users should be paid for their data as part of a so-called information market. As Vasant Dhar, a professor at New York University's Stern School of Business has <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2012/10/18/technology/social/facebook-should-pay-you/index.html">argued</a>, Facebook in particular would benefit by being more transparent given the amount and type of data it collects. "If users aren't making a conscious choice about what happens with their data, they end up feeling violated," he stated.</p> <p>But despite years of this kind of talk, there has been literally no movement on the part of advertising giants to compensate their users for their data. Even though its rewards are tied to dollar spend, Verizon Up is arguably one of the first major programs in which a major company is seeking to get customers to voluntarily give up their data for advertising purposes by giving them something of value in return other than access to a free service.</p> <p>Will it work? And will Verizon refuse to take and use valuable data from customers who don't sign up for Verizon Up?</p> <p>How those questions are answered could very well determine if a different future is possible for the digital advertising market.</p>