Smirk New Media is hiring digital marketing content creators to join our team in Oklahoma City. Our content creators are problem-solvers for our clients’ digital marketing needs. These storytellers collaborate with our account managers on a range of projects, executing the content that helps our clients achieve their online goals.
Check out the position description below and let us know if you think you’re up to the job. Apply by emailing your resume, clips and a brief message to email@example.com
Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Time Requirement: FT 40 Hours / Week
We need a technically proficient writer who can wear a range of hats (these are metaphorical, you will not be required to actually wear a hat). We need someone who will take ownership of his or her tasks, is motivated to deliver great work and can move seamlessly between the strategic and tactical elements of the position.
Why Smirk? Smirk is one of the fastest growing independent digital marketing agencies in the region, working with brands of all sizes from local Oklahoma businesses to Fortune 500 companies. We love what we do and who we work with. We’re passionate about going above and beyond for our clients. We challenge ourselves to deliver more creative, cohesive and engaging content to help our clients stand out from the crowd and have a great time doing it.
What We’d Like to See
- Creative, versatile self-starter who is comfortable with both taking initiative and working in collaboration.
- A staggering amount of competitive fire, inspiring humility and deep self-awareness.
- Strong verbal and writing skills as well as a keen eye for detail.
- Visual thinker with an eye for dynamic content ideas.
- Team player able to seamlessly integrate into a diverse group.
- Ability to meet deadlines and communicate effectively with team members.
- Accepting of productive feedback on tasks.
- An interest in digital media with active accounts across key social media platforms.
- Comfortable responsibly managing tasks while working remotely.
- Photography experience is a plus.
Position, Duties & Responsibilities
- Entry level position that reports to Smirk’s senior strategist.
- Marketing, PR, Advertising, or Strategic Communications degree preferred, but not required.
- Write creative, engaging marketing content specific to each digital platform.
- Craft blog content and web content using effective SEO practices.
- Stay current on the latest digital trends.
- Analyze platform metrics and adapt content strategies accordingly.
- Collaborate closely with our senior team and strategists in the production of client projects, websites or social media content.
- Execute analytical research utilized in strategy development.
- Work in a laid back, yet ambitious team culture with a flexible schedule.
- Opportunity to work with an interesting and varied group of clients.
- Opportunities for professional growth and upward mobility within the company for high-performing team members.
- Insurance and YMCA membership offered.
- Unlimited access to the Ms. Pac Man machine in our office.
Smirk New Media founder, Mike Koehler, was named to Class 37 of the Leadership Oklahoma City (LOKC) Signature Program.
LOKC’s Signature Program is considered one of the premier honors for the city’s current and future community leaders. LOKC launched in 1981 and now offers leadership development programs for high schoolers and young professionals. According to the LOKC website, “The programs each use a varying combination of community information, skills for volunteer leadership, networking, and community projects to engage participants more effectively in community service.”
Koehler, 45, founded Smirk New Media in 2010. As founder and chief strategist, he oversees business and partnership development for the company, as well as advising on strategic approaches to client projects and company growth alongside Allie Carrick, Smirk president and managing partner.
Koehler serves on the board of Skyline Urban Ministry, the American Marketing Association and advises Healthy Minds OK, a group of mental health nonprofits. He is also a member of Midtown Rotary.
Below is the complete list of Class 37 participants.
David Argueta, Mercy Chief Administrative Officer
Jeremy Black, McAfee & Taft Attorney
Brian Blundelll, BancFirst-OKC Vice President, Commercial Loan Officer
Brian Bogert, The Social Order Dining Collective Founder
Jenna Snider Byrnes, OKC Dodgers Senior Vice President
Jordan Cash, INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center President
Tana Cashion, Devon Energy SVP Human Resources
Young Chappell, The Boeing Company Systems Engineer
Tim Doty, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, Inc. Senior Manager for Administration
Adrienne Ballew Elder, E. B. Enterprises, LLC Consultant/ Special Projects Director
Jennifer Fogg, TBS President
Randal Gage, KOCO TV 5, Hearst Television Director, Creative Services
Diana Galatian, DLGM Consulting LLC Principal
Chaunté Gilmore, PARCway Skilled Nursing Facility Physical Therapy Assistant
Debbie Hite Stewart, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Senior Executive Director
Danielle Leister Hoeltzel, Express Employment Professionals Leadership Consultant
Laura Hottel, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma (BCBSOK) Director, Network Management/Health Care Delivery
Richard Kelley, City of Oklahoma City Fire Department Fire Chief
RaLayna Brady Hurley Kennedy ,Mariner Wealth Advisors Senior Wealth Consultant
Michelle Keylon, Francis Tuttle Technology Center Deputy Superintendent/Chief Operations Officer
Mike Koehler, Smirk New Media Founder and Chief Strategist
LaTreece Langston, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) – Aviation Procurement Analyst
Mark McCoy, BOK Financial SVP, Corporate Trust Manager
Lance McDaniel, deadCenter Film Executive Director
Stacy McNeiland, The CARE Center CEO
Whitney Cross Moore, Oklahoma City Ballet Director of Development
Mark Nelson, Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police Vice President
Alfonso Nieves, ICF Fox Blocks Sales Executive
Joy Omalza Parduhn, Heritage Trust Company Senior Trust Associate
Trevor Pemberton, Oklahoma County District Court Oklahoma County District Judge
Melissa Pepper, Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma Chief Development Officer
Doyle Phillips, Nabholz Construction Executive Vice President Preconstruction
Steven Propester, Grant Thornton, LLP Senior Managers – Audit and Assurance Services
Darren Ransley, Funk Companies Director of Strategic Communications
Tim Rasnic, Oklahoma Zoological Society Executive Director
Jeremy Sanders, Upward Transitions Inc. C.E.O.
Rob Schultheis, Allied Arts Foundation Finance Director
John Semtner, FSB Architects + Engineers Principal
Wayne Snow, The Oklahoman Media Company Vice President Advertising
Kim Taylor, Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Oklahoma Criminal Justice Act Supervising Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma
Jake Trotter, ESPN Sports reporter
Merideth VanSant, 405 YOGA; True U Owner; Co-Founder
Michele Varian, Sonic Drive In VP – Supply Chain & Purchasing
True Wallace, Oklahoma State University Foundation Director of Regional Development
Stacy Willis, Account Management Resources, LLC Director of Operations
Gary Wood, Riggs Abney Neal Turpen Orbison & Lewis Attorney
Petra Woodard, Millwood High School HS Principal
Kristy Werner Yager, The City of Oklahoma City Director, Public Information and Marketing Office
Hate to break it to you, but your favorite celebrities, political figures and major brands aren’t as popular as you thought. As the siren sounded, Twitter began deleting millions of suspicious, fake accounts hiding out in people’s profiles on July 13. Most of these fake accounts existed to manipulate the follower count of social influencers.
The New York Times blew the lid off this situation in January after finding a small company in Florida selling fake accounts that use the names, profile pictures, hometowns and other personal details of real Twitter users, including minors.
“We don’t want to incentivize the purchase of followers and fake accounts to artificially inflate follower counts, because it’s not an accurate measure of someone’s influence on the platform or influence in the world,” said Del Harvey, Twitter vice president.
Following size has a direct impact on how advertisers develop strategies to reach valuable market segments on social media. Kylie Jenner, the youngest “self-made” billionaire, capitalized on her massive social following to gain promotional sponsorships and leverage her successful makeup company.
Smirk New Media understands the difference between vanity metrics and true engagement but the mass of fake followers changes the perspective of people looking at profiles online.
“From the beginning, Smirk has always advocated for meaningful growth and zeroing in on valuable progress. That type of growth doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s foundation for long-term success,” said Allie Carrick, Smirk president and managing partner.
This way we can see if our strategy is working or if we need to rethink some moves in our playbook. If a lot of these followers are fake, we don’t get to truly see how advertising can influence consumers on social media.
Through its actions, Twitter delivered a strong, definitive message to social media users that might seek to manipulate their platform in the future — it won’t work. We’re proud to have been on the right side of history in this debate and will continue helping our clients build strategies focused on real people and real results.
Television has been toppled.
Since the days of Mad Men, television advertising had grown into a behemoth. If you wanted to get a brand in front of the American people, you wrote a catchy jingle, shot a great commercial and put it on TV. If you wanted to be a superstar agency, you could make it with 30 seconds on the Super Bowl.
But it looks like those days are done. Digital has deflated the power of TV.
Last year marked the first time that digital advertising spend topped total advertising revenue on TV. Thanks to a 21 percent jump in 2017, it looks that that trend isn’t going away, according to the experts.
With digital advertising spend surpassing TV it has opened up opportunities for every business – huge, big and small – to spend money more strategically. And the best place we think, of course, is online.
“I’m sure TV advertising seemed unstoppable at some point, like a Goliath,” said Allie Carrick, Smirk New Media president and managing partner. “Internet advances slew the giant and there’s no going back. Advertisers are finally ready to invest their money where the innovation, conversions and accountability are happening — digital mediums.”
Because digital marketing is our wheelhouse, the 36 percent increase in spending on social media ads shows the importance of brands participating in – and targeting – social media conversations. Social media accounts for around a quarter of all online ad revenue.
What makes digital and social so dynamic for advertisers is how frequently it changes and the data. There’s been a lot of buzz about how much information the platforms have on their users, but that data is what makes advertising so effective.
“Digital media’s ability to deliver actionable data, audience information and real-time feedback give it such an advantage over other advertising platforms,” said Mike Koehler, Smirk founder and chief strategist. “We can target new moms, an Edmond subdivision or the most loyal Thunder fans in Poteau thanks to digital ad platforms. This means real data and ROI for advertisers that traditional advertising mediums lacked.”
It all comes down to strategy, Smirk’s favorite word. Since there are so many moving parts in what works in digital – both on the advertising and content side – being nimble in planning campaigns and audiences is key. But it works, so the revenue growth is that.
And since it’s going to keep working, there is plenty more to do.
Thursday, June 21st – today could be your birthday, anniversary or just another Thursday going about your daily life, but today also marks a historic event in the world of social media. Instagram users reached one billion monthly today. Up to this point, Facebook was the only social media platform to achieve this headcount.
Since 2010, Instagram’s spike to one of the leading social media platforms around the world has been strategic, smart and fast. According to TechCrunch, Instagram leads in daily user count percentage every month against Facebook and Snapchat at 5%. Instagram advertising revenue reached close to $5.5 billion in the U.S, which is 70% higher than last year. Seeing this growth and the advertising numbers to back it up leads me to question — has Instagram reshaped the internet and digital space altogether?
A Powerhouse Platform
As a digital marketing and advertising agency, Smirk New Media knows the power of Instagram. We’ve been on the front lines throughout the platform’s rise to dominance, observing how an effective Instagram strategy correlates to a business’s bottom line success. Reaching one billion users is significant for practically every business and individual’s presence in the digital space.
Rachel Haynes, our creative strategist, marks Instagram as a “means to curate that first impression and ongoing relationship with the customer” because of its visual appeal and ability to allow customers to look inside companies.
With Instagram’s visual-heavy UX design, the old saying a picture is worth 1,000 words holds true for a lot of users.
“Everyone has a story to tell and having Instagram to communicate through a visual means pulls attention inward and gets the message across easily and efficiently,” said Mike Koehler, our founder and chief strategist. “Instagram has grown into a significant strategic platform for brands, businesses and people who want to show what’s happening in their stories.”
The continued growth of Instagram users is especially important because, according to the last Pew survey, Facebook’s experienced a significant decline in its hold on the 18-29 demographic.
“Instagram continues to grow its user base where other social giants are stagnant or diminishing, especially with the younger demographic that traditional advertisers always have their eyes on,” said Allie Carrick, our president and managing partner.
Cutting Through the Noise
With a bigger audience comes more opportunities and a broader scope of work to reach out to people. Instagram allows us to tell a brand’s story through a unique lens with compelling visual imagery — this is the only way to make an impact and cut through the noise. Brands on Instagram are taking advantage of the visual nature of the platform by customizing their content and having signature filters, verbiage or hashtags. This allows people to know the brand voice with the associated visual and follow the information with more ease. Being able to identify and strategize this type of messaging is what we know how to do, and well at that.
If you’re reading this, the odds are you are an Instagram user. Whether you’re new to “gramming” or an old school follower, it’s hard to deny the way it has changed our view on the world, people and opportunities around us every day. As a business, it is imperative to understand that everyone has their own brand. Each business should have a careful strategy that informs their prospective followers about the story they want to tell. Now, with a billion Instagram users, there is a lot of room for an overflow of content. A honed digital strategy allows for your content to be seen and heard.
Smirk New Media has a rich history of attracting incredible talent to its internship program. Up until this point, 36 percent of our full-time team members started in an internship role over the lifetime of the company. Smirk interns are immersed in digital marketing strategy and contribute to real client projects. With this head start, Smirk interns turned team members have gone on to be some of our high-performing contributors. I am thrilled to announce Smirk is adding another member to this illustrious club, Becky Dubner.
Becky Dubner joins our team as a content creator. Over her year-long internship, she displayed a keen eye for visual content and dedication to her varied client-related assignments. After her graduation from the University of Oklahoma where she was recognized as the top Advertising student, we were excited to learn she’d chosen to start her career with our team. I can’t wait for Becky to unleash her creative skills on innovative content solutions for our clients. Without further delay, I’ll let her introduce herself.
Meet Becky Dubner
First, am I Beyonce or Becky? It’s hard to say, maybe a little bit of both. I grew up in Houston which was the best place to be young and without limits alongside a rich culture, big landscapes and big dreams. A lot of people ask me why I chose Oklahoma and the truth is, it was an “in the shower lightbulb” moment for me. Deciding to go to the University of Oklahoma was the best decision I could have made. It brought me glowing relationships, new endeavors in another city, and it let me learn my aspirations and ambitions and take them by storm.
I thought I was going to grow up and be on Broadway one day, but advertising and design, especially, became my new passion (other than singing horribly to the Wicked soundtrack every chance I got). I love graphic design almost as much as I love cats, so I chose a career where I stare at a computer for 12 hours a day and I have no regrets. My motto is “create endlessly” so that you can keep going and growing — just keep swimming my friends.
As an intern, Smirk was a shiny sash and tiara for me. I was able to find my perspective on photography again and enhance my skills with content creation. Now, I get to do all the stuff I love and work with a team that loves it just as much as I do. Digital media is how we keep up with the day-to-day. I love Instagram for my photos, but Twitter is where I get most of my laughs. I think that is the key. When content, no matter which platform, can make you smile, laugh or even make you stop for an extra second is what makes it great. The fact that you are giving up just a little something of yourself because something online made you do so speaks for itself.
If you hadn’t guessed already, I dedicate my time outside the office and off the computer screen to being a mom to my cat, Sophie and my dog, Jack (I hope they get me that “best mom in the world” mug for Mother’s Day soon). I do the occasional knit a scarf thing and I’m a big, fat Yogi. I’m always down for a good chat over coffee, and I’ll be your best friend if you let me.
Every year that Smirk New Media grows older, we focus on how our company’s growth can best serve our team and clients. We plan to take significant steps forward as a company this summer and this is the first of those exciting announcements. We are thrilled to welcome our new creative strategist to the Smirk family, Rachel Haynes.
Rachel brings vast client experience and new creative capabilities to our team. Her areas of expertise include design, branding, animation and video. Moving imagery is by far the most impactful and engaging form of content across digital and social media platforms. Her track record in motion design is unique in our market. She will help our clients connect with their audiences visually and differentiate themselves online.
Outside of her professional expertise, Rachel Haynes is a great human. We know she’s going to have a positive impact on our team culture and our clients will love working with her. With that said, I’ll give Rachel the floor to introduce herself.
Meet Rachel Haynes
I’m a Tulsa native that graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Graphic Design. I started my career in Oklahoma City as a Motion Designer at a creative agency. I was fortunate enough to work on a wide range of design projects for clients in retail, education, sports and recreation, and healthcare industries. I was promoted to Art Director in 2016 where I led the rebranding of the agency and transitioned into leading graphic design, motion design, and video projects.
I’m part designer, animator, art director, illustrator, and videographer. Why the range? Well, it boils down to one thing: I just love this stuff. I’m constantly learning everything I can about this field and I always jump at the opportunity to expand my skill set.
So, what’s there to love about design? Design is such a powerful storytelling tool that lends itself to digital marketing. All facets of design are full of possibilities, but I’m especially passionate about motion design and all the ways it can serve clients. It’s such an exciting time for motion design. It’s great seeing motion designers continue to push the envelope and do some really amazing things.
I am thrilled to start my position as a creative strategist at Smirk New Media. The opportunity to use my skill set to help grow the creative department with the exceptional team here at Smirk is beyond exciting. I can’t wait to dive in and start creating.
When I’m not designing, I also enjoy reading, rock climbing and hiking up the occasional mountain. I always say yes to dessert and never skip over title sequences.
Last week, Facebook sent a notice to users directly impacted by the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. “We understand the importance of keeping your data safe”, it began. The notice explained that Facebook has banned the app “This Is Your Digital Life”, the third party tool created by researcher Aleksandr Kogan, who collected and extracted the data of over 80 million Facebook users and sold this information to several political campaigns. Further, Facebook encouraged users to review the apps and websites which currently have access to information on their profile. They emphasize that they are “committed to confronting abuse and to putting you in control of your privacy”.
This is one of just many changes that are expected to come as many Facebook users
grapple with the fact that their data isn’t quite as private as they thought.
As Facebook moves forward from Cambridge Analytica, there are two truths we must acknowledge:
- Data is at the core of what Facebook does, and demographic knowledge such as age, location, and relationship status are only the start. The company brings in $40 billion in advertising revenue annually because it offers brands data that gives them an unparalleled ability to target consumers.
- Facebook is able to target ads to potential consumers by using artificial intelligence in order to analyze our behavior across the web. When internet users venture to other sites, Facebook can still monitor what they are doing with software like its ubiquitous “Like” and “Share” buttons. In fact, signing up for Facebook requires opting in to their data policy, which “includes information about the websites and apps you visit, your use of our services on those websites and apps, as well as information the developer or publisher of the app or website provides to you or us”.
It’s increasingly evident that the type and volume of data the platform has been collecting for years may be a revelation for most Facebook users who breezed through the lengthy terms and conditions portion of the sign-up process. What exactly does Facebook know about me? How are they collecting this information? Who has access to it?
Luckily, as mentioned above, there has already been action to combat the ability of third-party apps to mine user data when they are accessed by someone logging into the Facebook to share an article or take a quiz – in fact, the Cambridge Analytica outcry was triggered after The New York Times and others reported last month that a quiz app, “This Is Your Digital Life”, made by Mr. Kogan had collected information on Facebook users.
Which third-party apps might have had access to your profile? Games like FarmVille, Candy Crush and Words With Friends; apps that broadcast your extra-Facebook activities, like Spotify and Pinterest; and apps that were almost explicitly about gathering as much useful data as possible from users, like TripAdvisor’s Cities I’ve Visited app, which let you share a digital pushpin map with your friends.
New Privacy Controls
So, what can you do as a user with Facebook’s new privacy and data features?
- Check to see if your data was used by Cambridge Analytica here.
- Review the apps and sites that you’ve allowed access to your Facebook profile here.
- Explore your ad preferences and related settings here.
- Take a look at your Facebook privacy settings here.
Impact on Business
If you’re a business owner, you may also be asking yourself how Facebook’s potential changes will affect the ability of your content being seen on the platform, whether that’s organic posts having the reach and engagement they used to or your ads being seen by an audience of your target demographic. How can I target ads effectively when people are beginning to remove their data from Facebook? How will Facebook gather data offsite in a more transparent way moving forward? Will this affect the Pixel I have on my website?
How exactly the platform will change over time may not yet be apparent. We can be certain that Facebook will be held to a higher standard moving forward, especially when collecting data across the web for platform users and non-users alike, as the demand for transparent actions increases and the third party apps’ access to data decreases.
The Pixel itself is already a relatively transparent measurement. To review, your Pixel is set up through Facebook’s Business Manager and then activated by code you put onto your website. The Pixel can track conversions (newsletter sign-ups, completed online sales, etc) on your website or simply collect information on who visited your website and how long they spent there. You can create an audience based off previous website visitors within Facebook Ads Manager, which is advantageous for retargeting campaigns as well as the creation of “lookalike” audiences constructed from site visits. Taking advantage of the data your Pixel gathers is especially helpful when constructing audiences for your ad campaigns; coupled with meaningful and relevant messaging in your ad copy, the creation of targeted audiences allows brands a clear path forward as the uncertainty of access to user data clouds the future.
Shifting Strategy to Reach Facebook Users
As we mentioned to our clients earlier this year, the era of posting multiple times a day is over, and the platform is continuing to prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to allowing businesses the newsfeed space they used to: “Facebook will not measure its success based solely on the time its users spend watching videos,” said Zuckerberg on January 31. “It will optimize instead for meaningful social interactions”. Our content strategists have taken this to heart, searching for new opportunities to tell in-depth stories for our clients and shifting the language in posts and ads we create to minimize any “sales-y” calls to action (“come on down to the store”, “get this”, “stop by my event”).
If you haven’t already done so, now is a great opportunity to produce content that creates opportunities for meaningful conversation to cut through the algorithm. It’s also increasingly important that businesses of all sizes are focusing on customer service replies more deliberately than ever — keep in mind that positive and negative interactions are nearly equally ranked opportunities to drive brand reach.
For now, short video is still king, with intentional organic content close behind. Avoiding an overflow of organic posts (posting just for the sake of posting) is the best place to start when it comes to improving your brand’s presence on Facebook. It’s also important to maintain an intentional, relevant lens with a consistent brand voice when crafting ad campaigns.
No matter the changes that Facebook may make over the coming months, telling stories with your paid and organic content is one thing that’s here to stay.
Kailey Emerson is a senior strategist for Smirk New Media.
Editor’s Note: This is the fifth blog in a content series by Smirk New Media about the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal and Facebook’s response. Read the other posts here.
So far, this blog series has discussed this issues surrounding Facebook, the platform’s reaction to these issues, and the changes being implemented as a result. This part of the series is taking a different approach. I want to talk about why Facebook is still an effective platform for digital marketing.
Despite the charges, changes, and Congressional questions, Facebook remains a pioneer in digital marketing with an enormous amount of active users and some of the most accessible targeting tools.
The Popular Vote
Facebook’s number of active users is in the billions. They were the first social media platform to cross that threshold and have maintained steady growth year after year. This platform connects people all around the world and provides a place to consume news, pop culture, and funny dog videos.
Typically, a scandal like Cambridge Analytica would cripple a business, but Facebook has not seen any significant decline in active users. How is that possible? Zuck touched on it briefly while fielding questions in front of Congress, but Facebook is not a platform with just one service. They act as a social network, a news outlet, a digital marketing platform, an online marketplace, and an event planning tool – to name a few – and they will remain relevant for the foreseeable future.
Even though the platform recently reported a decrease in active users from the younger generations, those audience members are still reachable on Instagram, WhatsApp, etc. and Facebook is making changes to increase user experience. Based on those changes, marketing professionals should be fine tuning their targeting skills right about now.
When it comes to advertising, Facebook has created an intuitive platform that remains a crucial part of any marketing strategy. Yes, the changes being implemented make it more difficult to get business accounts onto their audience’s news feeds. However, to offset these changes, will simply take a more detailed focus on the targeting tools available and possible pivots in strategy.
While we mentioned consumers’ ability to opt-out of sharing their data in the previous blog, doing so would prevent relevant ads from reaching those users. Instead, those who opt-out will mostly receive general ads for various unrelated products and services.
Facing the Ch-Ch-Changes on Facebook
The tools to successful digital marketing are readily available and targeting allows businesses to get in front of the right audiences. This new era of Facebook will change the way marketers approach ad campaigns. However, the basics remain the same. A good strategy includes the target audience, and Facebook supplies the way to reach them.
Emily Martinez is a strategist for Smirk New Media.
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth blog in a content series by Smirk New Media about the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal. Next in Smirk New Media’s We Need to Talk About Facebook series, a look at what’s next from Senior Strategist Kailey Emerson.
Read the next blog post here.
Facebook is taking swift action to calm growing concerns from Congress and the public about the platform’s approach to privacy and data security. Its response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the resulting changes to the platform will have a profound impact on brands, developers and users moving forward.
On April 10, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg went live at a joint hearing with the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees and on April 11, he testified in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Zuckerberg told Congress Facebook is taking proactive action to prevent incidents like this from happening in the future, but this announcement may be too little, too late. Whether change comes from platform inclination or through government regulation, this seismic shift will constrict and change the way advertisers can reach people online.
Facebook is working to roll out solutions quickly in response to the growing stories surrounding their company and data misuse.
Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Shroepfer wrote a blog post within the last week outlining several changes that are in the works on Facebook’s API to limit the volume of data app developers can collect from Facebook users. With the Events API, for example, apps will no longer be able to access attendees or posts on the event wall, and the Groups API will no longer provide member lists or names associated with posts or comments. Apps will no longer be able to see a user’s religious or political views, relationship status, education, work history, and tons more, all of which was previously readily available.
They announced plans to display all active advertisements on each brand’s page in response to the Russian interference scandal. This feature is currently only available to users in Canada but will roll out in the U.S. in the coming months.
In September, Facebook rolled out a feature called “Recent Ad Activity.” This feature allows users to see which brands they have connected with in the past, which ads you’ve clicked on as well as how the brand connected with you initially. Below is a screenshot of what it looks like from the user’s perspective.
Revamped Privacy Controls
Facebook has also rolled out some redesigns to make it easier for users to see and adjust their privacy settings. Much of the discussion during Zuckerberg’s Congressional testimony had to do with what users could keep private and whether those settings were opt-in or opt-out.
On the platform’s mobile app, Facebook has tweaked its user experience. According to Time Magazine, “The company says the new layout will streamline the settings into one location “instead of having settings spread across nearly 20 different screens.”
Downloading your personal data has been the most interesting change so far. Facebook is letting users see just what it knows about them, but downloading all of their data settings. It’s made for some interesting discoveries and will continue to for users who may have been naive about what they let apps and Facebook know about them.
These new privacy-related features are just beginning as public pressure forces Facebook and other online platforms to prioritize privacy and data security more consequentially than ever before.
There needs to be a balance in which users feel safe and protected, but businesses still see potential in opportunities like they do now. Advertising transparency will be a vital component for companies on Facebook to retain their relationship with consumers. With change comes opportunity. With that in mind, advertisers will have to adapt to these changes and pivot their strategy on the platform.
Annie Strom is a strategist for Smirk New Media.
Editor’s Note: This is the third blog in a content series by Smirk New Media about the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal. Next in Smirk New Media’s We Need to Talk About Facebook series, a look at why the platform still works by Strategist Emily Martinez.