By this point, the Cambridge Analytica news is starting to cool off—even as the heat continues to be turned up on Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg.
- I’m sorry
- We’re working on fixing it
A cynical person might have all kinds of thoughts about these events, chief amongst them whether or not the government would be nearly as interested if the data misappropriation hadn’t been used to target political messaging. Certainly, the idea that an election may have been affected by the data mining campaign was met with a stronger government response than the truly malicious and definitely illegal Equifax data hacks.
Legal minds will ponder what—if any—actual laws were broken by Facebook or by Cambridge Analytica. The continued cries for stronger privacy laws seem a strong indication that the mass appropriate of data was in fact perfectly legal (though inappropriate and a violation of Facebook rules) at the time it happened—the user agreement made it so.
Senator John Kennedy doesn’t like that at all. He had perhaps the most famous line in the entire Senate hearings, saying to Zuckerberg:
Obviously, not many users ever read much less understood the agreement. Strong evidence for this could be found all over the social network over the past few days with outraged users noting that Facebook had identified their own personal political leanings. Apparently it’s one thing to think about such things theoretically, and another to go through the steps in your own data to see it.
And if you want to see for yourself, click this LINK to open your Facebook preferences. Then follow these steps:
- Your information
- Your categories
- Look for the box “US Politics”
One other interesting nugget that came from the second day of testimony: Zuckerberg stated that his own data was shared with Cambridge Analytica. While this admission may have been meant to build empathy—Zuckerberg’s just like us, except for the billions— it also begs the question:
If even the head of Facebook can’t protect his own data, then how can they protect our data?
Let’s face it. Facebook has a strong incentive to continue to provide user data to those who are willing to pay for it. In fact, there are billions of compelling reasons to keep data mining—almost $40 billion of them, in fact.
It’s all in black and white on the Facebook 2017 annual earnings statement. Facebook made $40.653 billion in revenue, and $39.942 billion of that revenue was generated by advertising dollars. With 98% of revenue directly tied to advertising, for Facebook to try and do anything else would be like having a very small tail try to wag a very big dog.
Everyone has seen newsfeed ads—they are the typical ‘Learn More’ ads that show up in user’s newsfeed. Carousel ads feature multiple pictures. There are other options—side-rail ads, for example—but with those not being visible on mobile platforms most advertisers stick with targeted newsfeed ads.
Then there is post boosting.
Facebook features lots of guidance about how to ‘boost’ a post—meaning to share a post with more persons than would normally see it. Boosted posts start at nominal amounts– $3.00 for example can reach hundreds if not thousands—but those small amounts can add up.
Or as England’s Lord Chesterfield said in a 1747 letter:
To get a small taste of the experience advertisers can get by using Facebook to target certain listeners, let’s walk through a sample boosting scenario.
Below is an actual screenshot from a Facebook account that had done a boost post—an initial $4.00 worth. 1,102 persons were reached, with 51 of them having some kind of engagement with the post. Most advertisers would agree that a $3.63 cost per thousand ($4.00/1,102) is compelling. And with 51 persons actually engaging with the post (like, share, etc.) the idea of adding another $3.00 as per below seems like a good idea, no?
So let’s look at some of the precision that can be brought to the table to set up this simple ‘boost.’ You’ll find you get a lot for $3.00.
First, you choose a geography by dropping a ‘pin’ where you want to target. You can also choose your gender, and targeted age group. The default is Men and Women both, age 18+.
The pin has been dropped on South Florida, with a 25 mile radius, targeting Men and Women between the ages of 25-64. The potential reach is 2.5 million persons that fit this demographic in the geography.
Now the fun part: Detailed Targeting. We’re only going to drill down on one path, but it should give you an idea about what is possible—and why it is so compelling for marketers.
You can type in desired characteristics, or browse for suggestions.
Below, you can see just a few choices returned under browsing: demographics, interests, and behaviors. There are lots more.
More choices, including ‘digital activities.’ When this is chosen, there are sub-choices.
These sub choices run the gamut all the way to allowing a marketer to choose to target individuals whose behaviors include being technology early adopters in their digital activities. 400,000 of them out there, just waiting for your well-targeted message.
Literally millions of combinations of data available to target very specific types of persons—and the ability to create different messaging to compel different types of persons.
All that for a couple of bucks. Done enough times by enough people, and it adds up to billions for Facebook.
Lord Chesterfield was right.
Data security is important today—especially for business.
If you are concerned about the security of your data—especially for business, you should know about the 5i Cloud Vault. It’s a serious solution to data security.
Your data is stored and protected with permission levels, encryption, network security, access logs, penetration testing, key management, and more.
Available anytime, but protected 24/7, 365. At a cost that’s quite compellingly low.
5i is in business to help your company do business better with technology, and bigger business with better access to data.
Technology allows innovation and speed to market, increases employee productivity and satisfaction, and allows business and government to bring to their customers and constituents significantly higher levels of satisfaction—all through a better understanding of what is really going on.
Call 5i Solutions to learn about document management and data security solutions that can be implemented easily and cost-effectively. These solutions will work with your current workflows and systems. Your vital data will be secured, yet available 24/7 from anywhere in the world—only, of course, to those authorized to have access to it.
And you won’t believe what you can do with your date when suddenly everything you need is at your fingertips.
Best of all, 5i Solutions can build this custom solution for you for less than you might think. The best technology is accessible, and easy to use. So call today.
5i Solutions. One single, secure point of intake, access, and storage. One singular solution.
5i Solutions, Inc.