Last week I had the pleasure of hosting a panel on the current and future state of social at Social Media Week in Chicago. Joining me on stage were 4C clients (left to right in the photo) Emily Merkle, Senior Director at Merkle, Scott Shamberg, CEO US at Performics, Viji Davis CMO at Resolution, and Liz Brock, VP Social Media at Havas.

Thanks to a PowerPoint snafu we veered off script and covered lots of ground ­­– hey, people can always read the State of Social on their own time – exploring the themes of digital transformation, agency alignment, and Halloween costumes. A full accounting of the panel – minus the trick or treating ­– can be found on the SMW site.

One topic that elicited quite a bit of debate was that of personalization. The blessing and the curse of social media is that we can find out so much about people and use it for or against them. In the case of targeted ads, it may indeed be a little of both.

Scott warned the audience to be careful of the creepiness factor as the average consumer doesn’t understand how all our tracking and (re)targeting works. Liz posited that there’s value in making ads more relevant and creating an immersive experience. Viji was case in point sharing that she’d recently bought a bag off a well-targeted Facebook ad and was pleased that the platform knew her so well. And Emily talked about how Merkle builds customer profiles based on myriad data points collected across channels all for the purpose of delivering that perfect ad at the perfect time.

Alas, sometimes the ad is so perfect it leads people to wonder if Facebook is spying through the mic on the phone. And sometimes that “People you may know” recommendation is so on point it’s scary. Of course, there are answers but we’d be wise to heed Scott’s caution and avoid showing that we know too much about the consumers we’re targeting.

The panel also touched on looming threats like Apple iOS 11 cookie blocking, GDPR in Europe, and Russian ad interference that could make the best laid targeting plans of mice of marketers often go awry. For now though, it certainly seems that such scandals have not fazed advertisers with Facebook seeming invincible and the social ad space overall continuing to conquer budgets to the tune of $100+ billion in 2021. And for that, I am thankful.

While I’m giving thanks, I’d also like to acknowledge all 4C clients who helped us earn the #1 ranking on G2 Crowd last week for most easily implemented Cross-Channel Advertising Software. Your partnership and advocacy are critical to our success and keep us hungry for continual innovation.

Now it’s time to satisfy your appetite for more of 4C’s Insights with all the trimmings.

Read the rest of 4C’s Insights Volume 83 here.

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