With this months podcast, Mike and Tom kick off a mini-series surrounding privacy in the new age.

This is episode one: Exposing Your Exposure

Are data companies always watching? How much can they see? And can you shut the blinds to prevent them from peeping in on your data? Or is privacy, as we know it, gone for good?

Comment with any of your own tinfoil theories!

Robot Transcription –

Intro: This is Tech Guys Who Get Marketing a podcast, hosted by Tech Guys CEO Michael Cline with, co-host and lead designer with Tech Guys, Thomas Culp.

Mike: What do you think about this data privacy situation that we have a problem with right now?

Tom: Yeah, I think it’s, it’s, it’s really interesting.

Mike: Why is it interesting? Why? Facebook has our data and then they decided to sell it to the highest bidder and the world is sort of allowed that? That Guy Who Does Edits: Tin foil hats! Get your tin foil hats here!

Tom: Well, remember, it’s only allowed as long as it’s been done by the big tech companies. When anybody else looks into that data or gather that data, then it’s wrong. You know, it’s totally wrong for somebody to pull the data out using a Facebook app. But when Facebook does it as its core duty. That’s okay. Right. I think the most interesting thing about the current debate – you know, between data collection data mining and whatnot – is that it seems to be okay for some people to do it and not okay for others. When, in reality, there are no good stewards of data.

Mike: Well, what’s a good steward? I mean, that’s, we got to call that in the question a little bit, because it’s privacy is one of these really arbitrary kinds of concepts. You know, we’ve been losing. We’ve been losing privacy…

That Guy Who Does Edits: *robot jam sesh*

…for a long time, you know, through a variety of everything. I mean, just think when the camera first came about, I mean, how absurd was it that you could actually take an image of somebody doing something like you’ve recorded somebody in the act?

Tom: That’s a great point. And I mean, you know, we always we talked about slippery slopes. I mean, we know that, you know, the situation’s only going to get worse and I’m very I guess cynical that the regulations – that are being sort of drummed about that have already come out in, in the EU – are going to solve any of these problems. Because at the end of the day, it’s all based on private data sets. And so what those companies choose to do with it in the end, if somebody tells me they, they want to be forgotten, right, they have the right i think that’s what they call it the right to be forgotten. And to have your information expunged from private data sets. That’s only, again, that comes down to the good stewards of data. Right? That comes down to are they actually going to do it? The processes in place to ensure that that happens are largely unaccountable. If Facebook tells me that they’ve gotten rid of my data, do you, does anybody trust that? And if a government regulator goes in and says, “Ah, yes, they proved to us, they showed us that your data has been removed.” does anybody believe that? But I think at the end of the day, what you know, what we’re going to have to kind of contend with is data is going to become more difficult to access, high quality data sets. We’re going to be doing more data mining and those data sets are going to become much, much more expensive to access. And we’re already seeing that in terms of Facebook. Running audience, particular demographic searches are becoming more difficult anything financial related, and you know, a lot of that stuff can obviously be added back in using third party data sets that can be pulled into Facebook. But, Facebook getting rid of a lot of that stuff has decreased the performance of ads almost across the board, has increased the cost and I think if you’re if you know if you’re in the marketing world, it’s definitely got people rattled. Because it’s changed in the in the matter of a few short months. Things that majorly shaken up.

Mike: Yeah, that’s it. That’s a total challenge in our world. You know, it’s pretty interesting, the clients humming along with ad sets. And campaigns have been working for a long time because they were highly targeted, and all of a sudden, it’s like, “the carpet got pulled out from under you figure that out again?” You know. So, I think you make a good point that the data sets are becoming increasingly privatized. And then the mechanisms for getting removed from private data sets is getting more complicated, more elusive due to kind of different company contractual agreements and things of that nature. And then what the EU’s done, – you know, to hit what you said earlier, I don’t think their approach to this is going to solve it – I need to verify this but, I had seen a Reddit thread talking about the classic Rick Astley “Never Gonna Give You Up” video, the nice Rick Roll situation that the use of it was getting banned and a lot of places where it had been posted and pulled down. So we’re losing some of our creative-mean-culture as well due to increasing copyright, privacy laws.

That Guy Who Does Edits: Things Rick Astley will not do. Give you up, let you down, run around or infringe on your copyright.

Tom: Oh, well if you’re talking about that particular law that just went into effect me I can’t remember where the copyright law that’s I haven’t looked into the full specs of that, but it sounds pretty terrible. Sounds really terrible. Yeah, that’s a whole other whole other beast.

Mike: Back data item to I mean, we use a vendor that has continued to impress me with the data they’re able to get in order to do optimization. You know, taking somebody’s buyer list and profiling it looking for the outliers or validating, you know, the perceived buyer groups. And then being able to match that up with, you know, anyone that’s a prospect, you know, across the US and even beyond the US. So it’s interesting, like, the tools are still there from a privacy standpoint. I mean, I know it’s something like, what did you remember what they can give us? Tom? It’s like 2000 individual data points. We can purchase up to 2000 different data points on individuals, and we can tie household addresses to email addresses to family members, there’s family member association data points. It’s a really, really impressive data vendor. And, you know, privacy doesn’t exist. I mean, it just really doesn’t. So it is sad to see the laws not, I don’t know, reflecting that or making sure that it doesn’t just continue to perpetuate things like what happened with Cambridge Analytica; where, you know, a few people in power, we’re able to do some pretty nefarious things, or it’s a pretty nefarious but manipulation at play.

Tom: Well, I think the interesting I think Cambridge Analytica is a whole subject in and of itself. I think it’s actually really interesting. And specifically the politicization of that. And I think in a lot of ways, probably in correctly played into the decisions that were made there, which I will definitely be dive into that. But going back to what you said, around the data provider that we use, and you know, a lot of the other data providers, one of the big things that still exists that kind of gets overlooked. So when Facebook, and we talk about Facebook a lot because Facebook, by far has the most transparent or easiest platform for virtually anybody to start going out and running ads. Your grandmother, if she’s savvy enough with the computer, can create a Facebook business account and start running ads to her friends in her community. And then the tools are really simple. And the tools were. . .

That Guy Who Does Edits: Wiki how, has an example of how to create Facebook ads, it’s only five steps and it includes pictures.

Tom: . . . so robust that the targeting that you could, that you used to be able to do natively on Facebook was extremely robust. And the interesting thing is when they kind of pull all that stuff out, – which will get back to Cambridge Analytica later – the interesting thing is they kind of they pulled that stuff out some of the can be added back in via third party access. But the interesting thing is from what I’ve been hearing from our Facebook pros, is that Facebook even though pulled that information out there kind of making up for it on the back end in how they’re actually able to do data matching for you much better than what you would kind of imagine. So, for instance, if we’re talking about uploading a custom audience, which is basically you take a CSV or an Excel file, (a list of names, phone numbers, email addresses) you can upload that stuff to your Facebook ad account, and Facebook will match it to people that have Facebook accounts. And the thing is, one of the question marks it’s always come down is, “Well, I have business phones, or business email addresses?” I [marketers] don’t have personal information. So I’m not going to be able to match that business to an individual person that I can then reach on Facebook. Cuz people use their personal account and most of the feedback I’ve been hearing is, that’s becoming largely a non issue. Because Facebook data sets are good enough that they know they’re able to match. The amount of data that they have access to and they’ve collected is such that they can match up a person’s business with their phone. You don’t have to go and buy that data separately, necessarily. I mean, you may want to have it so that you can make sure that you’re absolutely targeting the right people and just improve your data set. But that stuff actually on their end, on the on the advertisers end, is getting much, much better. And so, I think that’s one of the interesting things and it’s where I kind of get my cynical nature about “There are really no good stewards of data” is the fact that they’re like, “we’re not making this accessible.” But remember, we still have it, we could do whatever we want with it. And they’re kind of coming up with some cool ways to get you back to having access to that.It’s just the question marks are a lot bigger than they used to be.

Outro: This has been a podcast by Tech Guys Who Get Marketing. You can find us at techguys.co or techguyswhoget marketing.com. If you like what you heard, please remember to rate review and subscribe wherever you listen to your podcast. Thank you. And remember, feed the robot.

Translated by our fuzzy robot friend otter.ai

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