Some pairings reveal themselves as true classics. Rising well above the individual contributions of two separate pieces. The combination of social media and WiFi sometimes simplified to “Social WiFi,” is one such example, changing how people and businesses communicate around the world. However, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the game has changed and changes are likely to continue.

Facebook and Instagram have decided to restrict APIs and significantly limit the data available to third parties, making users data privacy one of their top priorities. This will have impact obviously on Social WiFi. For example, the Facebook login use will a stricter review process. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony in front of two committees of the US Senate hits at some of what may be forthcoming. His commitment to follow European data privacy rules GDPR globally seems a good sign. Still regardless of these changes, this login option will continue to provide businesses its tremendous ability to drive revenue.

What can Social WiFi still do?

Social WiFi – using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, VKontakte, or other social media credentials on the captive portal –allows customers to get connected to the WiFi network with a secure, frictionless onboarding. Fast login brings customers closer to their social networks and enables tighter interaction with brand engagement and loyalty programs. That hasn’t changed. What’s more, once a customer has logged in through their social media account, brands can gather some demographic information on their profile, such as gender and age, according to customer privacy preferences.

In the future, more of this information gathering may be done by the brands themselves through a survey rather than relying on information shared by Facebook. If customers trust the brands they love, they will provide brands with the demographic and other information that Facebook will not or can no longer make available. In this way, savvy brands might gain a significant advantage over competitors lacking such technology and customer trust. Brands have also the ability to track customer behavior and on-site foot traffic.

Understanding customer behavior at this level offers brands customer insights not available to competitors lacking the social media connection. Empowered with this in-depth information, brands can send relevant, personalized messages to customers and improve business performance. Because they are well-known and understood, the brand’s customers can be easily targeted with special events, promotions, and other experiences they look forward to receiving because they have a real brand relationship.

Together, social media and WiFi make it easy to spread the brand’s news, promotions, and events and encourage customers to contribute their own experiences to the customer community. Customers can become opinion leaders and influencers without great personal effort, a real benefit to the brands and products they like and endorse.

WiFi goes where cellular does not

WiFi makes these benefits possible, taking the Internet and social media where cellular wireless data does not go. WiFi is especially valuable indoors, where many users now demand social media access. Only WiFi has the ubiquity and low cost to make social media the mass phenomena it has become. Combining social media and WiFi drives what today is a connected business and social environment, enjoyed by hundreds of millions worldwide yet unavailable not too many years ago.

Driving business in the future

The Cambridge Analytica scandal has forced Facebook to take data privacy seriously and has changed the WiFi game. However, regardless of what Facebook does, this login option will remain a powerful tool that enables businesses to generate customer loyalty and improve results.