We recently launched our Top Marketing Trends 2019 series, that will take a close look at what digital marketers should expect for next year. We started with privacy because of a sea change in consumer attitudes about their online privacy over the past 18 months – much of it the result of huge changes in policy around the world, like the European Union’s GDPR requirements, as well as data breaches that put a massive number of Americans at risk. In our post last week, we dove into what GDPR means for marketers here in the U.S.

In today’s post, we will examine changes resulting from Facebook’s sale of its data to Cambridge Analytica, which used the information on Facebook users for controversial political targeting. Why is this a top marketing trend for 2019? Because the realization of how social media platforms like Facebook are using consumer information has had a significant impact on Facebook’s users and financial status, a trend that will extend to other social media outlets in the coming year.

Here are out three key takeaways from the Facebook fiasco that will have a significant impact on digital marketers:

The challenge with marketers who want to leverage platforms like Facebook to reach their target audiences is that the social media companies themselves are just now putting in place consumer safeguards about how their data is being used- in the face of serious public and political pressure. We all know that consumers want an easy experience when looking to research or purchase on the internet, which is what we marketers want, as well. Now that consumers see that this convenience comes at a cost, they want more control over how their personal information is used.

Our first takeaway for 2019: There’s a big difference between serving the consumer’s interest and using that same data when it doesn’t benefit that individual. Our recommendation is to take a close review of how you use your customer data and make sure it actually serves the customer.

Another challenge is expectations. Having a privacy policy at the bottom of your website, filled with unintelligible legalese that no consumer is ever going to read or understand, isn’t going to be enough. That CYA language needs to become useful.

Our second takeaway for 2019: Give visitors to your website real choices that they can understand over how their information is used. One idea that is making headway is having a privacy dashboard that is readily accessed by visitors, where they can make their own decisions about their data.

Finally, we all need to know who we are dealing with when it comes to third-party vendors. The issue with Cambridge Analytics was not simply that Facebook was providing data to an outside entity – after all, that is its business model, and in our opinion, there is nothing wrong with that when used appropriately. The scandal was that the outside firm was using the data for ways that Facebook users would never have sanctioned – to influence how they vote in elections.

Our third takeaway for 2019: Make sure you know your partners, including data brokers and ad buyers, and exactly what they are doing with the information. Ask them if they are acquiring personal data without the user’s permission. It won’t be enough to claim ignorance about your third-party vendors.

In our next post on top marketing trends 2019, we’ll look at website design and build, and what to expect next year.

Learn how Bluetext can help you make the most of the top marketing trends for 2019.