In recent years we have seen an explosion in the conversation around privacy, with some very real results leading off from some big scandals. With people becoming more concerned about how their information is recorded and used, it bears the question will the privacy revolution harm the digital marketing industry?

Firstly, let’s take a look at the major player in why people have taken such an interest in online privacy. In 2018, the Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light, Cambridge Analytica had harvested Facebook data from millions of users without their consent. They then used this data for political advertising, meaning users were shown politically motivated ads in order to sway them to vote in a particular way.

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Facebook users and the general public alike were outraged and from it sparked a long debate about online privacy. The main issue is, what happens with our data? People are becoming more and more aware of the dangers of data harvesting and how it can effect individuals and societies. As people become more clued-in they learn of their options to hide or not give out their data. This is what could affect digital marketing.

Digital marketing relies on targeting to deliver appropriate messages to the right audience. Data from online users is how advertisers can target more effectively by showing ads to users who will better match their product or service. With the removal of the data that provides advertisers with the ability to target in detail, digital marketers could suffer.

With less solid targeting, more money will be wasted by showing ads to the wrong individuals. Currently, data op-outs are not harming the industry. Digital marketers can still very effectively target users based on a whole host of information. But what happens if more and more people begin to stop sharing their data? That day looks far off for now, but it really could have a devastating effect on digital marketing.

Is the privacy revolution, which had its roots in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the beginning to an end of digital marketing?