Marin’s Thoughts (and Policies) on Data Privacy

April 3, 2018

There’s been no shortage of recent Facebook headlines, with data privacy and the responsibilities of tech powerhouses leading the conversation. At Marin, we believe Facebook remains an important way for brands to connect with their customers.

With these events and the upcoming implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we think it’s a good time to review how we’re using data at Marin and clarify a few questions for our customers.

The short answer: The recent changes are a step in the right direction for protecting consumer privacy, and still let brands connect with their customers and prospects with relevant messages.

What happened at Facebook?

Before 2014, Facebook allowed developers to access the profiles of users who’d granted permission and those people’s friends. The goal was to provide a platform for developers to harness the power of Facebook’s social graph for interesting new applications. What Facebook didn't plan is the misuse of their data and the threat to their users' privacy. Facebook disabled this ability well before the election, but the proverbial cat was out of the bag.

This is what allowed Cambridge Analytica and their partners to turn 270,000 app installs into access to 50 million profiles.

What is Facebook doing about it now?

Facebook has a multi-pronged effort to bolster data privacy, making user data security the center of their strategy. Recent changes include:

We believe these are all positive steps to help give Facebook users more control over their information.

How does this affect Marin?

These changes don’t affect Marin’s core value—helping advertisers get the most out of their digital advertising. We don’t rely on or store any personally identifiable information.

Industry-leading capabilities like our Search Intent tools help advertisers better leverage their first-party behavioral data in a clean and compliant manner. We can even help find new customers through Facebook’s lookalike capabilities. With Marin, your data’s covered:

  • Anonymous tracking data: Whether we integrate data from publisher, third party tracking or Marin Tracker, the data is purely anonymous. With Marin, users and brands are safe.
  • Secure audience capabilities: With its clean data flow and precise segmentation options, our audience targeting features rely solely on first party data.
  • Advanced cross-channel targeting: Our advanced targeting allows advertisers to harness search audiences on social, and retarget high-value social audiences browsing on search. These features leverage advertisers' first party data only, and keep advertisers in touch with people on their multi channel, multi-device journeys.

With users and brand safety at heart, our mission is to offer cross-channel capabilities to advertisers in a clean and transparent way.

What about GDPR?

European privacy law is also on digital advertiser minds.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an EU regulation on data protection and privacy for people in the European Union. Its goal is to harmonize and simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying privacy regulations within the EU.

Given the global nature of the internet, everyone with a digital presence should understand the required changes. If the US government starts to consider additional regulation on user data, GDPR is a likely model for future legislation.

The core elements of GDPR include the rights to:

  • Transparency: Clear policies can help users understand data use.
  • Notice and Choice: A clear opportunity to opt-out of data collection.
  • Right to Access: Know how their data is being used and for what purposes.
  • Data Erasure (“Right to be Forgotten”): Request the erasure of their personal data.
  • Data Portability: Request copies of their personal data and transfer to other companies.

GDPR was adopted on May 27, 2016 and becomes enforceable on May 25, 2018. The IAB has more details and resources.

What should you do next?

Above all else, take the time to review your data privacy practices and policies and make sure you’re using data in a way you’re proud of and that your customers are comfortable with. You should do the same for any partners you’re working with. (Also see our privacy policy). Stay up to date on steps that both Facebook and the EU are taking to ensure user privacy.

In the meantime, continue to focus on creating meaningful, engaging, and relevant experiences for your customers and prospects. By taking these extra, thoughtful steps, they’ll reward you with their business and loyalty.

Wesley MacLaggan

Marin Software
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