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Big Brother or Don’t Bother? Advertising post GDPR

By Dan Willstrand Jun 12, 2018

Tags Advertiser

Reading 2 min

 We now live in a post GDPR world. It’s difficult to say what the consequences for advertisers and publishers have been, or will be. Right now the relief among media professionals reminds us about the situation 1  January 2000: Hurrah, the computer systems didn’t break down entirely at midnight! But this time it’s different. The long term effects will become clear only when the first cases have been tried in court. Have the media and marketing industries taken the enough measures to comply with the GDPR? And if they haven’t, how tough will the penalties be?


big brother dont bother


For the avoidance of doubt: If you, as a brand, invest in digital advertising based on personal data–such as retargeting, or other behavioral advertising purchased through programmatic ad exchanges–you should assume that you must gain consent. The old cookie box displayed on most sites is not enough. To be valid, consent must be freely given, informed and specific. Users must be informed–in comprehensible language–what data you collect, how you use it and how long it will be saved. If the data is sent to a third party, who is also a data controller, they shall be named. The visitor must also be informed of how the consent can be withdrawn.

But perhaps our advertising decisions shouldn’t just be based on what is legally acceptable? Maybe it’s time to ask ourselves: do we really need all the personal data that the ad networks collect? Or can we work in a more privacy-enhancing way, and avoid ending up in an Orwellian world?

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An alternative to chasing consent for collection of personal data is to consider whether it’s at all necessary to monitor people for marketing purposes. For example, digital advertising can be made relevant and precise with contextual data instead, that is, directing ads based on what kind of content is being consumed. In the past, this meant that the ads were placed on niche sites or in certain sections, but recent developments in machine learning has accelerated the ability to distribute real-time ads based on what an anonymous user is most likely to be interested in. Marketing based on AI-supported contextual advertising often deliver at least as good results in terms of conversion and engagement as the advertising that relies on personal data.

In the coming years, quality publishers and advertisers should pivot toward contextual tech and targeting, not only because it’s an efficient way to engage readers and customers, but also because it’s the right thing to do. The Green Data revolution is here!

Read more:

Context - The Green Data

Privacy by design

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