The digital world is changing. People are waking up and starting to take notice of the mass amount of privacy violations that occur daily. In the aftermath of scandals like Cambridge-Analytica, consumers have begun taking steps to ensure the safety of their data. Services that were once popular only among tech-savvy, such as VPN and password managers, have now found mainstream use.
For marketers, it’s the end of the era. Soon, it won’t be nearly as easy to get massive amounts of valuable consumer data. But instead of viewing this as an obstacle, it is an opportunity to refine marketing strategies and reestablish trust.
Learn about the changing market trends and the growing privacy movement if you want to stay competitive over the next few years.
The last decade or so was a gold mine for marketers. For the first time in history, it is possible to build targeted and effective campaigns. Instead of billboards and newspaper ads, you can create a Facebook ad to target an exact demographic likely to buy a good or service.
This lead generation occurs because of behavior tracking and acquiring data. Often, marketers would get the data without a customer’s consent. It was only a matter of time before consumers woke up. The significant scandals and data breaches of the last few years only accelerated the process.
Now more people than ever use tools to prevent tracking and safeguard their privacy. They opt for virtual private networks (VPNs like this one), privacy-focused browsers and search engines, and encrypted messaging apps.
Even marketers would agree that the tracking has gone too far. It puts the same potential customers you want to convert at risk of cyber-attack and identity loss. As with everybody else, marketers are also subject to the same intrusions and dangers.
Now's the time to establish core values advocating for privacy and transparency. It is how you can shift from short-term lead generation into developing trust and lasting brand value. And the numbers back this up too.
Users prefer to buy and use the services of companies that they feel they can trust. In a recent study, 46% of people surveyed said they’ve stopped using Facebook because they don't trust it.
In comparison, more than 75% said they trust Microsoft with their data. Microsoft has already seen the gains that come from this. And it’s quite amazing considering how negatively people perceived the company before.
It's no surprise that consumer trust in digital marketing is at an all-time low. Only 43% of people reported that social media ads were trustworthy. But it's not too late to shift in the right direction.
Instead of relying on consumer data profiles, marketers must remember that content is king. Content enables you to earn data, engagement, and conversions without violating trust.
Moreover, it's more powerful. Great content resonates with customers much more than personalized ads do. By focusing on content, marketers can build relationships with consumers founded in trust. These relationships will bear fruit over the long term.
Marketers can develop other strategies using native advertising and working with influencers. Native advertising is not only less intrusive but more likely to be seen instead of blocked or skipped over by potential customers.
Influencers build on your audiences and develop trust in your brand through their own. Unlike social ads, it doesn't feel forced. People choose to follow an influencer and expose themselves to occasional ads. If they don't like what they see, they can always unfollow the person.
Influencers also create a collaborative element to branding. It makes this approach so much more useful than traditional ads. Most influencers only market products that they believe in, so brands don't harm the reputation they worked so hard to develop. As a result, these ads feel not only more genuine but more personal—like a recommendation from a trusted friend.
As new technologies and platforms emerge, privacy concerns will only continue to grow over the next few years. Now is the time for digital marketers to acknowledge the changing trends and develop new trust-based strategies.
It doesn't mean you have to abandon data harvesting and collection right away. Begin by investigating and investing in long-term approaches that focus on content. Check out native advertising and influencer marketing and test how it works with your target audiences.
At the same time, this is a moment where some brands can get ahead of the curve. By advocating privacy, companies can become industry leaders. It’s one way of demonstrating to consumers how forward-thinking and progressive they are. Customers will reward them in every sense of the word.
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