Driven by privacy concerns, double opt in will come to platform marketing

by Justin Kistner on May 26, 2010

Platform marketing is concerned with marketing on platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. The ecosystem, tactics, and considerations are different on platforms because of technological constraints, platform culture, and the currently hot issue: privacy.

Interestingly, my first post on platform marketing comes on the 3 year anniversary of the Facebook platform. As Facebook is embroiled in its fifth privacy debate, I’m sitting in a jury selection room at the local courthouse. What better environment to ponder the implications of privacy and platform marketing?

One of the strongest attractions to platforms for marketers is the lure of user data. Whether it’s targeting ads or collecting profile data, the rich information about people available on Facebook, YouTube, etc.

It’s also what has users up in arms that lead to Zuckerberg writing an op-ed piece in the Washington Post assuring users that they are protecting their privacy. Facebook has lead

Prediction: Social media marketing is about to go through what email marketing did at the turn of the Millennium. When email marketing first hit the scene, a new term was born: spam. People hated it and still do to this day. Anyone involved in email marketing during the early days held a certain amount of shame. Spam got so out of control, that it forced legislation to address the problem.

In the US, that was the Can Spam Act of 2003 that defined the rules of email marketing. Most notable was the call for double opt-in. First a user had to sign up for the email list, then she had to click the confirmation link in the email (in case someone else put her name in the sign up form). Since then, email marketing has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry and everyone was happy. People don’t consider the email they subscribe to as spam and true spammers are now mostly blocked by spam filters. Win win for everyone.

Social media marketing is currently starting down a similar path with Facebook blazing the trail. With the introduction of the Like button, the opportunity for social media marketing spam was born. What people didn’t realize is that by clicking the Like button, they are also granting publishing permissions to the object owner. If a user is viewing their news feed in relevant mode, then they won’t see 99.8% of those updates. But, a new breed of optimizers are already hard at work on news feed optimization (the new SEO).

Logically, it shouldn’t be long before platforms will have to honor the double-opt in rules of the Can Spam Act as well. My recommendation is to voluntarily adopt double opt in practices. If you’re ambitious, start building the tools that will power double opt in and make them with audit trails.

Post Author

Justin Kistner is author of the 2013 Social Rich Media Benchmark Report and VP of Strategy at ShopIgniter, recently acquired by Mixpo. Justin has been a well-renowned leader in social marketing strategy for over ten years with leadership roles at...