Unless you’ve been living under a rock, then you probably know that Google was just hit with the largest fine from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of it’s kind.

The news comes early Wednesday morning as Google (the owner of YouTube), was fined for abusing the privacy of children using the platform.

This record setting $170 million dollar fine is the largest of it’s kind in history. Of that $170 million, Google must pay $136 million to the FTC, and another $34 million to New York state (Source: Vox). 

Why was Google Fined $170 Million?

Regulators for the FTC, and state of New York, found out that YouTube had “harvested personal information from children and used it to profit by targeting them with ads.” (Source: New York Times).

It’s no secret that online advertising is “scary” or “creepy” how the internet seems to know your every move: what you like to shop, eat, do, watch.

We hear it from our clients all of the time, “Oh you guys do that creepy stuff where you follow me around on the internet until I buy!”

But, this crosses the line when young children are involved – and the FTC seemed to agree.

Consequently, the question of “how is this going to affect everything my business’s marketing?” arises.

How Will This Affect My Business?

Do you remember Cambridge Analytica scandal – you know the one that resulted in Mark Zuckerberg being called infront of the Congress and being fined $5B?

As you probably know, this major political scandal that found Cambridge Analytica guilty of harvesting personal data from Facebook users to use in political advertising.

Since then, everything changed.

You can no longer target the way you once could on Facebook. They removed household income targeting and narrowed down the targeting abilities that once were. Marketer’s everywhere felt the effects. 

Not to mention – all other platforms took notice.

We saw Instagram tighten up their user privacy policies, Pinterest re-vamped their privacy policies, Twitter was placed under scruitny and nearly every platform out there re-worked their user agreements to be more mindful of their user’s privacy and inform them on how their data was stored and used.

Essentially – the Cambridge Analytica scandal put every other social media and advertising platform on high alert. It’s as if they were now being looked at underneath a microscope.

This latest fine with Google and Youtube is no different.

A Call For More Transparency + Tighter Targeting.

We predict that advertising platforms such as: Google, Bing, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram + the like will begin to peel back the curtains a bit more.

With every major scandal and fine being delt out, a  public outpour of disappointment and fear closely follows.

Cambridge Analytica was the first, Google + YouTube followed shortly after… but these won’t be the last privacy scandals we hear about.

Internet users are becoming savvier by the day and more aware of the potential dangers of putting your information online. A call for more transparency as to how these platforms are storing, using and potentially selling our data is vitally important.

If these advertising giants of the world want to stay around, they must win back the trust of their user base. 

In the coming weeks, months and even years… We believe that targeting is going to become tighter than ever.

Just like household income and some demographic-based targeting disappeared into thin air on Facebook – there will likely be more to come on all of the platforms. 

What You Can Do To Prepare.

Talk with your digital marketing company – find out what they are doing to prepare your business’s marketing strategy for the effects of these latest scandals.

If you are currently running retargeting or marketing campaigns on YouTube – chances are, your ads weren’t showing to these kids to begin with.

However, I would be prepared for tighter restrictions to come in the wake of this scandal.

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