We know what you did last summer.

There is no doubt that as users of technology we are aware that the search engines and apps we are using are tracking our movements online.

However, what we do not know is the extent of the data that they are collecting about us.

Companies such as Woolworths, Amazon and Apple are using predictive analytics coupled with web analytics to gather in-depth information about our location, wants, needs and desires. It’s even getting to the point where Amazon have announced that they are using ‘anticipatory shipping’ to send out products to consumers before they even order.

Photo Source: Shutterstock

So that leads us question, what don’t they know about us?

Although this means we are seeing more ads which are relevant to us, it also means that we are getting less of a choice about what we see and don’t see, which can limit our power as consumers.  This article by Mehmood Hanif further outlines this.

Another idea to consider is how long is this information stored, especially as a fast-paced society views and opinions can change without a moment’s notice. This is important because if we are going to be saturated by marketing we at least want it to stay relevant.

There are also many implications that can be drawn from this such as, is what you post online considered to be public, even if you elect to privatise your information with privacy settings? As well as, ethical challenges that can arise such as how much of the content you are producing does social media platforms own?

From a digital marketing standpoint this may give rise to issues concerning copyright and intellectual property, especially as social media platforms are notoriously known for having convoluted and lengthy ‘terms and conditions’ which can prohibit creators and users on their platforms from having the legal right to content the produce or the digital footprint they create. Both Emily Wolfinger and Bruce Legal go into further detail about these implications and the potential legal repercussions.

Join the conversation and comment down below your thoughts on how much you’re willing to let the internet know about you.

External readings and references:


12 Comments on “We know what you did last summer.

  1. I’m honestly quite torn. When I put thought to it, it’s scary that businesses know so much about me but then I also quite like when things are tailored to me- making shopping experiences that much easier and quicker (in terms of suggested items etc.).

    • My thoughts exactly! We have a duty to ourselves to look into what we are allowing companies to know about us. Some data collection is inevitable. However, we need to ensure that we understand the law and what is right or wrong.
      I’m happy to provide you with more links regarding laws if you’d like?

  2. Interesting article about the implications of data collection for consumer privacy Emma. What do you think the implications of this are for digital marketers and their companies?

    • Hi Vlad, thanks for the feedback. There are many implications for digital marketers and companies. One of the main ones being accountability and confidentiality of the information they are collecting about their consumers.
      As a consumer myself I know if i found out that a website or company was extracting more data than I had given consent for, such as using my location even if I had declined to provide it, then my loyalty and view of that company would decline, which isn’t good for me or them.

  3. It is slightly offputting to think about how much of our choices are influenced by brands! (Also, now the song is stuck in my head!)

    • We really do not chose things on our own as much as we think we do. Most things are pre-exposed to us both consciously and subconsciously.

  4. Loved the headline, it really pulled me in and made me want to read more
    So relevant, and I am so skeptical on the information that is being stored about us and as you said ‘ what don’t they know about us’ reads so true, it’s concerning how advanced the digital world is getting ..

    • Exactly! And what are they going to do with the information is the scary part!
      Big data analysis is such a big ‘buzzword’ in the industry at the moment, but it is such a large area of growth that as consumers we really do not know that much about.

  5. This is so eye opening! I feel quite violated that they have so much data from me. Loving the blog, keep it up.

    • Thank-you!
      It is very concerning, but how do we stop it, and is it for our own benefit? These are things we need to consider before we continue to buy into this digital world.
      Our control is minimal but there are precautions we can put in place for pig selves as mentioned in the linked articles.

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