As we’ve introduced Wibson to the world over the past several months, our primary focus has been to give consumers the ability to control and profit from their personal data. This remains the core mission of Wibson, and we look forward to delivering on this when we launch our network protocol and data marketplace in the near future.
During this time, however, we’ve witnessed number of very significant developments in the consumer data space: GDPR, the European Union’s consumer data protection regulation, has gone into effect; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has faced government questioning in the U.S. EU, and UK due to his company’s continuing data control issues; and California passed is own consumer privacy act, which will give consumers broad new powers over how their data is collected and used in the future. The combination of these and related personal data developments in 2018 have led a number of large consumer data players and advertisers to change how they engage with consumers and their information.
One example is Google. Early last week Google launched Ad Settings in an effort to provide (see Google’s blog post) “greater transparency and control over your Google ad experience.” This tool builds on previous attempts at giving consumers control over the advertisements they see. This time Google did a pretty good job with the user experience. Nevertheless, take a look at your own Google Account settings. You are likely to see some fairly big discrepancies between who you are and who Google thinks you are.
In its own efforts to make its advertising more transparent, the world’s second-biggest advertiser by dollars spent, consumer goods behemoth Unilever, announced that it will no longer work with social media influencers who are buying followers. Of course, this comes on the heels of weak financial performance at the company and the recent launch of GDPR. Nevertheless, it’s clear when big players like Unilever and Google are making fundamental changes, the momentum behind creating greater trust and transparency in advertising is strong.
Not to be outdone, Facebook recently announced its push to be more transparent by including a way for users to see information about the ads that any brand Page is actively running. Twitter is jumping on the bandwagon as well with its own tool for seeing ads bought by any account. Think big data is getting the message?
These are all positive developments, but at Wibson, we expect the changes to be even more fundamental. We see transparency and trust becoming core requirements for advertising in the future. Why should consumers have to correct the data Google has inferred about them to be shown relevant offers and ads? Why should advertisers worry that some significant portion of their ad budget is being wasted on bots and fake accounts? What if consumers had the opportunity to not only raise their hands as to which brands they would like to hear from, but also to receive value in exchange for agreeing to receive offers from those brands?
This is exactly where Wibson can go. We see a world where consumers are not just in control and profiting from their data and attention, but where advertisers also get the benefit of talking to verified and willing participants who opt-in to receive their messages. We hope to help make this world a reality very soon.