Prepare To Be Digitally Violated in 4 Stages: Business will Love it. People May Hate It.
Sometimes when there is massive change through new technology, we get excited at first and then the feeling of being violated follows right behind as it goes mainstream. When cars showed up, we probably hated the sound and maybe the smell. However it might have been a step up from horse manure. But after a while, feeling violated turned into acceptance and even desire.
Since then, a lot of groundbreaking things have followed a similar cycle like radios, televisions, and of course, those things taking over everything – digital devices, i.e. phones, tablets, computers, wearables, etc. and those devices know a lot about us. Whether we like to admit it or not, they are a violation of our natural state of being and chip away at our privacy. But will there be a time when we start liking that?
Stage 1- We Call It Helpful, Not Violating.
The devices themselves aren't a violation as much as the data that is delivered to and from the devices. However, we love them and have been embracing them, and so far the feeling of being violated by our devices hasn't even built up to a simmer. This stems from all the “helpful” things the devices do for us. Lots and lots of goodwill right now. That is about to change.
Stage 2 – Starting to Feel Violated: More Info About You Then The CIA
Every once in a while we hear about how intrusive our devices have become into our private lives and more importantly, our private preferences. Every quarter it seems there is a little more controversy about privacy and the data the apps on our devices are collecting. It's ignored by most and becomes verbal ammunition for the few coffee shop philosophers that are a bit more enlightened about the second by second violation of our privacy rights. People are starting to understand this is an issue, and location data about where you are and have been takes center stage.
According to a survey done by PEW Research Center's Internet Project in 2013 it's obvious a lot of people out there are concerned about sharing that location data.
- Some 12% of adult smartphone owners say they use a geosocial service to “check in” to certain locations or share their location with friends. That is down from 18% of smartphone owners who reported doing that type of activity in early 2012. This shows we are getting smarter!
- As of September 2012, 46% of teen app users say they have turned off the location tracking feature on their cell phone or in an app on a phone or tablet. Funny our youth are more hip to the fact that blasting up GEO information might be an issue.
- As of April 2012, in response to a question measuring a somewhat different behavior, 35% of adult cell app users said they have turned off the location-tracking feature on their cell phones.
Full Information can be viewed at PEW/ PEW Internet
What this doesn't tell you is whether or not people actually turned off all of their location services. Most people would be shocked at how many apps are sending up locations services. Also, what the survey doesn't tell you is how long they turn it off for, because once you start using apps on your phone, they will keep requesting that you turn on location services. All in all, there is still a lot of apathy out there when it comes to our privacy.
That is about to change with some of the most intrusive digital advertising mechanisms that has ever been created and deployed. Businesses will love them, people will scream and yell, and governments will look the other way. But you are about to get some of the most targeted digital advertising delivered to you than ever before. Here is a little primer for all you digital neophytes out there about not the future, but what is actually possible today.
Facebook can now target
- Job Title, Company, etc.
- Incredible GEO Targeting
- Everyone that is currently on vacation
- Everyone that just came back from vacation
- Every interest you have
- Are you away from your family, your hometown
- New relationship, newly engaged
- Parents targeted by how old their kids are.
- Are you an expatriate
- If you are a football fan. Of 1 or more teams, 3 or more teams, a super fan
- Business Traveler
- Played games yesterday or in the last 3,7,14 days
- Interested in travelling to Australia, Brazil, Dubai, England, etc. Or even a beach.
- Income levels
- More and more and more
LinkedIn can target
- Job Title
- Industry – Down to company size
- Individual Company
- Specific groups that members have joined
- Of course all of the Geo targeting: continent, country, state/province, city/town, you name it
Stage 3 – Angry About Being Violated
To be clear, this is just scratching the surface and again, this is what is possible today. If this has you turtling, brace yourself because it gets even more onerous from here. Soon your mobile device will be violated by all of the geo information that all those little apps on your phone send up to the giant ad exchange in the cloud (yes, there is a giant ad exchange in the cloud like the NASDAQ buying digital ads and selling digital ad space.) They're going to tell the cloud that you went to the movies last night, and you went to a sporting event 3 days ago, and you went to the grocery store two times, and you commute to work for 65 minutes round trip on average. That is personal violation via the digital device that you love on a scale never before imagined!
We as a society will go through an angry stage and I mean a lot angrier than what we are currently experiencing. Sure we get a little rally here and there about violating our privacy, but the combined lobby groups for cell phones, the internet, and pretty much all sectors in general will steer the government into a “yeah, yeah, yeah, we are looking into it” position. No predictions here on how hot the overall temperature will get, but it's safe to assume it will get much hotter which leads us to our next stage.
Stage 4 – Saying Thank You After Being Violated
If having your privacy violated in an opportunistic way to gain a little data on you has you all fired up, a few things coming down the pipe might either turn it into an inferno or lull you into acceptance and maybe even appreciation. This stage gets us to a point where the digital advertising gets so targeted to our needs and likes, it will seem like the world was built for us.
The creepy appreciative borderline
For Example: You walk by Lululemon in April and you get a text with a screen pop that says, “You haven't visited us for 3 months, spring is here, come and check out our new styles and get 5% off.” Well that might feel a little creepy and violating for some, and maybe welcoming for others.
When the targeting works for you
Let's try another one: How about you getting a text and a screen pop on your phone when you are walking by Tiffany's that says. “Your Anniversary is Almost Here. Doesn't She/He Deserve Something Special!” Whoah, wait a second… that is intrusive but it was kind of nice because I actually hadn't thought about the anniversary. Uh, well, I kind of forgot about it and I do need to buy something and well… uh… thanks Tiffany's for violating my privacy and thank you for utilizing all of the app data we are sending to create a highly targeted campaign that is synced with a geo event near one of your stores. To be clear, Tiffany's isn't doing this, but this type of targeting is what will be available in the future.
Is there a Conclusion?
For some things, when we say future, we mean next year or later this year or two years from now. However, there is a consideration to think about when it comes to targeted advertising — wouldn't it be nice to not see advertising that doesn't interest you? Wouldn't it be nice not to get hit with another McDonalds ad, especially since you haven't eaten there in the last 20 years. This is the positive side of being digitally violated and to be clear this is not advocating either side of the argument, but more a possible progression of thoughts and feelings that will follow as this unfolds.
If you feel digitally violated, call a politician and violate their ears verbally. If you are a company and feel like digitally violating to generate revenue, create a digital strategy with a digital marketing component. Either way, Happy Violating!