What the Cambridge Analytica Scandal Means for Marketers

What the Cambridge Analytica Scandal Means for Marketers

If you’re a Facebook user or marketer, it’s extremely unlikely that you haven’t heard about the recent scandal the social media giant is involved in.

A political research firm called Cambridge Analytica harvested personal data from over 50 million Facebook users under false pretenses. This data was then directly translated to produce targeted political advertisements during the 2016 trump election as well as during the Brexit referendum. The overall goal of this data was to produce content that could sway the votes of millions of Facebook users. 

Ever since the news broke, a number of people have stopped using Facebook. An ongoing social media movement has had many people leaving Facebook in favor of other platforms. Even major companies including Space X and Tesla have pulled out from the platform for their marketing campaigns. 

The mass outrage regarding this unauthorized data collection and use means that many marketers are finding it more difficult to advertise their products on Facebook as well. As a platform, Facebook lost over $60 billion the week the story broke, which could spell disaster for companies that are heavily invested in Facebook marketing. 

Businesses are also having issues with the Facebook and Instagram API. Facebook shut down a variety of analytics tools that business profiles were using to preserve the integrity of at least one of its owned social networks. 

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Paid media posting and advertising will still work for marketers, but it’s very likely that they’ll have far less data inputs to work with. This means that highly targeted Facebook advertising will be a thing of the past for many brands. In terms of the bottom line, it could become much more expensive to run advertising campaigns over a social network like Facebook. Marketing budgets will have to adjust, and target conversion goals will also have to be adjusted for a higher rate of failure. 

In light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, marketers no longer have access to the same type of sales funnel. There are still plenty of other third-party data segments that can be used with Facebook and other networks, but the ease-of-use has been changed forever. Marketers have to rethink the approach to the data they gather from social networks so they don’t invade the privacy of users or sway purchases too much, as there is currently so much distrust and concern. 

As this new story continues to develop it’s important to sit down with your advertising agencies/clients and readdress your marketing campaigns over social media.

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