What will Facebook’s anonymous log-in and granular data-sharing controls mean for data gathering and marketers?

Last week Facebook made several big announcements at its f8 conference, including the launch of mobile advertising network, and the ability to sign in anonymously. Forrester has now suggested what this could mean for data-gathering and marketing.

Anonymous login lets people log in to apps so they don’t have to remember usernames and passwords, but it doesn’t share personal information from Facebook.

This, Forrester stated, could lead to issues for marketers and customer insight teams when it comes to gathering data: “In most cases, consumers will identify themselves once they trust your service. But in some cases, they might decide never to identify themselves or to log in with a different sign-on service, reserving the choice to revisit your site without being recognised.”

Another new feature is access to granular data-sharing controls with third-party apps.

Facebook explained the new system, saying: “With the new Login, people can select the data an app gets by unchecking categories of information, one by one. For example, if someone wants to share their email address with an app, but not their birthday, they can make that choice with a couple taps.”

The creation of this system will have two implications on the data that marketers can gather, Forrester suggested.

The first of these is to create a new level of ‘preference’ awareness in consumers, allowing them to choose exactly what data can be handed over. Secondly, this could mean an ‘inevitable reduction’ of profile data will be received from some customers – although it is not believed that there will be a retroactive effect on data previously shared.

But it may not all be bad news, the report added: “these changes — from anonymity and autofill to mobile audiences — taken as a whole could improve Facebook’s value to marketers. Today’s cross-device customer is hard to track, so if Facebook extends its services to become a closed ecosystem for targeting, analysis, and measurement, it’s conceivable it will extend this rich trove of data services to become the affinity based, cross-channel data management platform (DMP) partner in the future.”

The full impact of the changes, the report concludes, hinges on whether the changes are mandatory.

If they are optional, it will lead to a “significant step toward better privacy, it increases user trust, which could likely translate into more stickiness and greater adoption of Facebook’s own apps,” Forrester states, while a mandatory system would have a greater impact on marketers, with the suggestion that “brands will only be able to target consumers using Facebook data by using a safe haven like Acxiom’s Audience Operating System”.

Facebook said that the changes come as the platform looks to give its users more control.

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