What Do I Mean By Private Data?

October 22, 2018

I wish that I could be much more direct and specific when addressing this question of what data sources and points that I believe to be sensitive and/or private! 

Unfortunately, the reality is that digital marketers don’t have an optimal level of access or insight into the sources of consumer data, or the methods of obtaining consumer data that is used in our ads daily.  

Due to the enhanced data sharing capabilities of the information age, a lot of consumer data is ported directly into advertising platforms. This allows marketers to instantly “target” individuals from a pool of hundreds of millions of internet users based on certain criteria (“targeting options”). Due to the fact the marketers are so separated from the collection of the data, a lot of times we don’t realize the potential implications of our decisions, or that we may have violated the privacy of a group of internet users. Additionally, when we try to learn more about how this data was obtained, we are presented with an extremely vague 1 sentence blurb that leaves us with more questions than answers. 

For example, when I was a young college student, running ads for one of my startups (GrayHemlock.com) from my dorm room at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. I had no Idea that simply selecting the targeting options of “Additional Interests” in “Ethical consumerism” and “Conscious Living” meant that this consumer interest was gained from a 3rd party data provider such as Experian, Oracle Datalogix, Epsilon or Acxiom, then uploaded to Facebook’s advertising platform. This information could have been gathered from internet users web history, phone usage, or even credit card purchase history, and I had no idea. In fact, to this day, I still have no idea how those 2 data points were gathered. 

This does not mean that Pure Marketing Lab is resigning to the status quo of the industry! This simply means that significant time must be committed on an ongoing basis to studying the status and movements of consumer data privacy to create and continuously update a strong set of guiding principles for the advertising and targeting decisions that are made. (Click Here To Read "My Guiding Principles")


If you have any questions, comments or concerns at all, please leave a comment, and I will get back to you ASAP!

-Fitz (Founder)

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