The Future of Social Media Data: Are the Bots Coming After You?

Grace Stasky
November 3, 2017


Story of my life. We put our personal information on social media, which is translated into targeting options for marketers. All valuable, but where is it going, and where will this information continue to go as we delve deeper into the future?

Artificial intelligence? Sure, let’s go down this road.

If you don’t know, artificial intelligence (AI) is consciousness exhibited by machines. Think about that for a second. Think… think… think. Scary.

You may not realize, but AI is apart of our everyday social media lives. This could be a chatbot on Facebook Messenger. Facial recognition on Instagram or Snapchat’s filters. Your favorite voice assistant. Siri, stalk my ex. (Sorry, Andrew.)

That’s Anaïs and I helping Snapchat’s AI systems become smarter and learn every pore on our faces.

Let’s dig a little deeper though. Recently, Target and Pinterest formed a partnership to marry their ecommerce site and and Pinterest’s visual search tool. For an example, if you saw a product you liked (doesn’t have to be from Target) you would simply take a photo using the Pinterest app and then it would pull up costs and other product information.

How does this connect with Target? Users will be shown comparable products from their site. Technology. Crazy. Hence, raising their conversion rates and most likely placing higher ad spends. Target and Pinterest now have exact data of what products you like. Ya did it to yourself.

Image via TechCrunch.

Digital marketing is all about having the right message at the right time. We’re in this gray area of personal information being violated. Well, we all accept those privacy agreements. Most of us don’t read them. Guess we should of right?

While we’re talking about being creepy… What if Pinterest and Target took this a step further?

Scenario time.

It’s Sunday morning. Time to be productive and clean your house, but you’re out of your favorite product. TARGET TRIP. YES. As you walk up to the store, you are shown a privacy disclaimer that this store has image recognition and behavior camera. (That escalated fast. I’m sorry, but hold on.)

Like most of us, you have little to zero patience and accept this disclaimer by walking in. Their cameras use a recognition system to follow you around the store and learn your purchase behavior. Woof.

You’re immediately fed into Target’s marketing data system. Target now knows if you prefer generic or name brand. Which products excite you and which ones you completely ignore.

You’re in their system. Your face is a profile. You are their data now. Boom.

How does this tie into social media? Target knows when, how and what products you like to shop for, which means they can start sending you ads on all your favorite social platforms. When those ads don’t produce results, they will retarget you until a conversion is made. That’s a perfect world scenario. When no conversion is made, the AI system will gain more knowledge. Hence becoming more intelligent. It’s learning more and more about the behavior of the consumer. What will make social users complete a purchase? WELP. The AI system will know more than us ad agency folks.

Let’s back track. What personal data does Target own about you?

The Basics:

The Scary Stuff:

Target will know the right time and advertising creative for you to make a conversion. Powerful stuff here. Data collection will become exponentially precise and tactics will become even more aggressive.

But for now, just relax, sip your latte and go shopping without worrying about tracking systems and creepy AI technology.