FTC Should Halt Google Privacy Changes, as Violation of Consent Decree

Google's real motivation for its privacy policy changes is to gather and make actionable more profile data for targeting and digital marketing.  Yet it failed to tell consumers this in its announcement of the pending changes.  This failure to be candid with users is, in our view, a violation of the consent degree in the Google Buzz case.  Google should be required to explain it wants to add to its data profiling/targeting capabilities for ad and marketing sales, esp. integrating the valuable information on video use (YouTube).  Google should be compelled to explain how additional data points will be used to serve its Doubleclick Ad Exchange, and support its other ad products.  We sent over a list yesterday to the FTC and EU which we believe illustrates why Google's decision on privacy is more about its business interests than serving its user base.

The FTC should place Google under a digital lie detector, analyzing its business operations and connect the dots back to the privacy annoucement.  Google should have admitted it needs to expand its monetization plans, boost revenues, advance its real-time targeting auction system, and better compete with Facebook (which will soon have more money to spend in the data collection 'arms' race).

We think Google's 2012 New Year's Resolutions, issued in December 2011, are telling in the areas the company seeks to bolster data collection for profiled-based targeting:

Resolution # 1: I will be strategic in how I use remarketing

Remarketing is like plugging a leaky bucket, where the leak is website visitors leaving your site, and the plug is display ads that bring past visitors back to your site.

There are many ways to ‘plug’ the leak, but we offer up the follow strategies to be the most effective in doing so.

Target based on audience: Layering demographic targeting on top of remarketing campaigns can help you tailor the message even more. For example, have one message for men, and a different one for women.
Target based on intent: You can send a general message to homepage visitors and product-oriented reminders to visitors that browsed product pages but didn’t make a purchase. Using a creative with dynamically related products is a great way to do this.
Expand your list sources: Some of our most effective remarketing customers use several sources to get their lists, such as YouTube mastheads and channels, their main website and campaign landing pages. Expanding the lists enables you to reach more potential customers.

 Resolution # 2: I will use video to its full potential
Video is a great way to reach customers, yet it is often underutilized. Here are the best ways to use video to its fullest potential.

With the latest changes to the YouTube homepage, we’ve pivoted the YouTube site experience to focus on channels and a socially-driven feed, the contents of which are controlled by the left hand sidebar. This gives marketers a powerful opportunity to enhance their brand exposure.
Through the new AdWords for video front end, we’ve drastically reduced the time it takes to create a video. Easily run click-to-play or TrueView in-display formats across Google Display Network.
We’ve also found that rich media, in tandem with video, is more effective than simple Flash. When you’re running rich media campaigns, think about including video to increase purchase intent.

Resolution # 3: I will fuse social media with display

Making display ads social increases the conversation with your customers. Here are some ways that this can be accomplished:

Make social media a primary destination: Try linking Trueview ads back to a similarly branded channel for a great social experience.
Social interactions within the banner: Actually having users interact with the banner (by playing a game, watching videos, etc.) and then having them share their experiences through social media continues the conversation.
Bring social media endorsements in the banner: This is becoming more popular, and is a great way for friends to share recommendations.

Resolution # 4: I will go mobile with my display campaigns

Just as users are now moving more and more to a multi-screen experience via desktop, mobile, and display, so must marketers think about a display strategy that isn’t siloed.

Tablet targeting: Users expect more from tablet ads and are increasingly using these for online shopping. We support tablet targeting including zeroing in on tablet audiences by device, location, time of day and contextually.
Get smarter with smartphone targeting: Finding what’s right for your business is key here. With so many format options to choose from that are specific to mobile devices (click to video, click to map, click to call) it’s worth it to think what could be the most effective for your business.

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