Picture yourself sitting at home enjoying “Jeopardy” and a nice chicken potpie when the doorbell rings. It’s the man from the local carpet store. He has a clipboard with him and he wants to know your age, where you’re from, where you went to school, what products you bought in the last month, what you thought about them, what your hobbies are, how much you make, how much you spend, your religion, your political opinions, and oh yeah…if it’s not too much trouble, he also wants to know your relationship status. When he leaves, he tells you he’s going to keep watching you.
Well that’s what we’re asking. And even if our customers like and use the goods and services we offer, even if they like us, they consider the excessive gathering of personal information kinda creepy.
A recent report from the good folk at TRUSTe indicates users are getting increasingly serious enough about their online privacy to do something about it. Last year, 27% of US adults said they would opt out of online behavioral advertising. This year, that number nearly doubled to 50%. 58% stated flat out they “do not like” online behavioral advertising. Only 1% of smartphone users like mobile tracking for targeted ads, and less than 10% will share location info, browsing behavior, their home address or contacts with mobile apps.
On our side, we cock our heads to one side, scratch and say, “But people want ads for things they might be interested in rather than random ads that don’t apply to them.” We’re right. Relevancy is extremely important. But they’re right too.
Once again, we have to accept that as hard as we try to make social marketing all about technology, it boils down to something uniquely human…trust. It’s one thing for me to ask someone from whom I’ve earned trust to tell me how much money they have in their wallet. They might tell me. It’s quite another thing to ask people to walk through the city with that dollar amount written on a sandwich board so that anyone who wants to see it, can.
People are guarded, and with very good reason. You probably are in your personal digital and social life as well. There are a lot of demographics, information and analytics about social audiences available to social marketers right now. To get information from your communities above and beyond that, you’re going have to earn their trust (best done through ongoing, sincere relationship building) and ask for the opt-in.