Facebook's recent data policy update - and consumers' negative responses - reminds marketers why organic, custom content is best.

In a digital age defined by big data, consumers understand they must sacrifice some of their personal information if they want access to certain web content, promotions and exclusive groups. But are they ultimately more receptive to organic social marketing interactions over easy-to-discover ads?

Facebook’s recent legal settlement and ensuing updates to its Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights shed light on the social network’s actual use of members’ information, and it received massive criticism.

Marketers should take this as a sign that prospects do not want to be tracked and spoon-fed advertisements. Empowered consumers want organic online content that gives them the information they need to make informed decisions.

In the update, Facebook explicitly states:

  • When users submit their information, the network reserves the right to keep up-to-date records on names, profile pictures content and information.
  • Data collecton policies apply to users under 18, because they provide parental/guardian consent when they click the opt-in button.

While it’s good form that Facebook is lifting the veil about its data use policies, the network risks ongoing consumer backlash. Brafton recently covered a Pew Internet & American Life Project report that proved even digital natives are uncomfortable with companies harvesting their data. More than 25 percent of surveyed teens said they’ve deleted applications that collected their information.

It’s likely that traditional-leaning audiences are even less keen on the idea of companies tapping into their digital data stream for marketing purposes. Brands must respect their prospects’ preferences if they want to earn trust and loyalty. Fortunately, marketers can make smart decisions without using sneaky tactics. By producing high-quality custom content and measuring success with content analytics, SEOs and marketers have metrics they need to fuel effective practices.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.