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What the Cambridge Analytica Scandal Means for Marketers

Asif Razzaq
Asif Razzaq

Marketers must now contend with limited audience reach and analytics tools on Facebook.

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.

Image Credit: sitthiphong/Shutterstock
Asif Razzaq
Asif Razzaq Member
Asif Razzaq is a Digital Health Business Strategist with robust medical device and biotech industry experience and an enviable portfolio in development of Health Apps, AI, and Digital Marketing. An astute entrepreneur, Asif has distinguished himself as a startup management professional by successfully growing startups from launch phase into profitable businesses. This has earned him awards including, the SGPGI NCBL Young Biotechnology Entrepreneurs Award. Asif also has verifiable proficiency in Turnaround management and Bottom-line performance; he has helped organizations achieve increased revenues through aggressive marketing and management initiatives. He has also worked extensively with USA’s leading medical device and biotech organizations like Bioviva, MedTech Catalyst, HealthConnexions and Epinex Diagnostics. Asif Razzaq is Google AdWords Mobile and Search Engine certified. He is also Inbound certified from Hubspot. He holds a degree in Biotechnology from India, a Graduate Certificate in Bio Science Management from Keck Graduate Institute, California, a Certificate in Design Thinking for Business Innovation from The University of Virginia Darden School of Business and, a Certificate Training on Financial Modeling from Stanford University. Asif is invested in helping businesses achieve turnaround through aggressive digital marketing growth strategies and digital health initiatives. He hopes to become one of America’s most renowned Digital Health Business Strategist and CEO in a few years.