Digital footprints become real people with fears and needs

According to Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix, the success is based on the combination of behavioral science, big data analysis, and personalized advertising, The execution is a two-step process:

1. Buy personal data from a range of different sources.
Could be land registries, automotive data, shopping data, bonus cards, club memberships, among others.

2. Aggregate data with the electoral rolls and online data.

The Methodology

Cambridge Analytica worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of social media profiles of US voters and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box. 

Book recommendation

Outnumbered: From Facebook and Google to Fake News and Filter-bubbles – The Algorithms That Control Our Lives, gives a deliciously insightful analysis of internet data manipulation.

The CA methodology is another massive data breach but it as well demonstrates the power of competitive monitoring in an area of ubiquitous social media sources.  It outlines the shift in communication, especially when realizing the global political impact. 

Nix told the story in Hamburg

“My children will certainly never, ever understand this concept of mass communication.” Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix

For anyone seriously involved in ad tech, there is no surprise about the potential use and misuse of data for targeting purposes. The good news is that the fight against invalid traffic started through a combination of technology, policy, and operations teams. It takes time and effort to identify and fight ad fraud – but needs to be done to protect advertisers and publishers and increase transparency throughout the advertising industry. 

Scraping is a Billion Dollar Deal

Scraping stands for automatically collecting data from publicly available social profiles. LinkedIn allows users to create profiles and then establish connections with other users. LinkedIn users create a profile on the site, they can choose from a variety of different levels of privacy protection.

Users can choose to keep their profiles entirely private or to make them viewable by:

  • their direct connections to
  • a broader network of connections
  • all other LinkedIn members or
  • the entire public

Tech company hiQ offers two products: “Keeper,” which tells employers which of their employees are at the greatest risk of being recruited away; and “Skill Mapper,” which provides a summary of the skills possessed by individual workers.

hiQ gathers the workforce data that forms the foundation of its analytics by automatically collecting it, or harvesting or “scraping” it, from publicly available LinkedIn profiles. The company sells to its client businesses information about their workforces that hiQ generates through analysis of data on LinkedIn users‟ publicly available profiles.

Source: (12/2017)

When users choose the last option, their profiles are viewable by anyone online regardless of whether that person is a member. LinkedIn also allows public profiles to be accessed via search engines such as Google. This comes with consequences.

LinkedIn argues that it faces significant harm because hiQ‟s data collection threatens the privacy of LinkedIn users because even members who opt to make their profiles publicly viewable retain a significant interest in controlling the use and visibility of their data. 

In particular, LinkedIn points to the interest that some users may have in preventing employers or other parties from tracking changes they have made to their profiles.

LinkedIn posts that when a user updates his profile, that action may signal to his employer that he is looking for a new position.

Using Competitive monitoring for good

You need to discover user groups and their individual reasons for buying (or not buying) to structure the target market volume and find out how to turn potential customers into shoppers. You don´t want to waste time and resources following up a broken funnel or talking to the wrong leads.