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Potential backlash to analytics, BI and big data use

07 Jul 15

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

That’s the warning from Unisys on the back of a new survey, which shows companies using social media monitoring to create targeted advertising could face a backlash from Kiwis unhappy with the practice.

The Unisys Security Insights study shows that while 73% of Kiwis surveyed were happy to support monitoring publically available information on social media to detect possible terrorist activity, when it comes to monitoring for marketing purposes, we’re not so happy, with 69% saying they weren’t comfortable with such monitoring being used for targeted advertising.

Steve Griffin, Unisys New Zealand country manager, says while everyone is talking about analytics, business intelligence and big data, ‘there is a cautionary tale that says: just because you can, should you?’

Griffin says at an enterprise level there is very low acceptance of monitoring of social media for commercial reasons and tailoring offers based on the monitoring of social media.

“There is very little support, only 30%, for using this information for targeted marketing such as advertising and personalised offers,” Griffin says.

Griffin says the results of the survey clearly show that organisations must not abuse their relationship with customers and citizens in the way they collect, analyse and use publicly available data.

“Even though consumers can’t actually control an organisation’s ability to mine social media channels, they may react against an organisation that uses their data against their wishes,” he says.

The report also shows that 66% of Kiwi support social media monitoring to identify public issues or concerns, which could be anything from global warming or the state of the economy, through to local issues.

And while 63% of New Zealanders surveyed support monitoring social media to evaluate job candidates in positions of trust, such as teachers, doctors and lawyers, Griffin says there is less support – 59% - to use such monitoring to track an organisation’s performance or reputation.

“Where monitoring is clearly linked to the greater good there is a high tolerance and high support for it, and clearly at the other end, where it’s not for the greater good, but for commercial reasons, there is lower support.

“And the read across on that would be that commercial organisations need to deal very carefully with how they collect, analyse and then potentially sell data, because there is a low tolerance to it and it may lead to a backlash.”

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