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GDPR in Its Third Year: Evaluating its Influence on Global Data Privacy Practices

GDPR is one of the most important data privacy practices of the modern era. It ensures that businesses protect the personal data of citizens in the EU member states.

In our recent article, we featured insights from top industry leaders on the role of GDPR policies on their decisions, and how these need to evolve in the face of the BREXIT crisis. As a continuation to these GDPR insights, we spoke to a few more experts and this is what they had to reveal.

Brand Safety and Suitability Big Part of Data Privacy Practices in the GDPR Era

Silverbullet’s CEO, Ian James around GDPR

“GDPR continues to gain momentum in market and it’s not alone; the rise in global regulatory initiatives such as the CCPA are all adding to the needed shift to sustainability in digital advertising.

As far as our industry is concerned, this shift has ultimately culminated in the acceleration in the death of the 3rd Party Cookie, a fundamental component of the ad/martech industries. Much of the data-driven strategies that agencies and advertisers across the globe had relied upon for the last few decades, focused heavily on these cookies to deliver on audience retargeting and 3rd party data profiling.”

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Ian added, “With advertisers and the industry looking for solutions to mitigate the death of the 3rd Party cookies,  a myriad of solutions have started to surface including, for example, various methodologies of unifying ID’s. This has, in turn, led to the resurgence of contextual advertising as a fully cookieless and IDless means to refine targeting by using the context of the content being consumed as a proxy for determining whether an ad placement should be delivered or not.”

Ian continued, “Existing solutions in the contextual space are quite frankly, stale, and were very much built for the marketers of yesterday. And with brand safety and suitability continuing to be one of the biggest concerns for marketers in today’s polarised world, solutions that help drive in-the-moment marketing, in a safe and compliant manner, has never been more needed.

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Advancements in contextual targeting, turbo-charged with a first-party data strategy, will guide marketers in the transition to embrace the future of the post-cookie world.” 

We Need to Evolve to a More Responsible and Sustainable Digital Advertising Ecosystem with Data Privacy Practices

Nick Pinks, CEO of Covatic

“Whether it’s the GDPR, the end of cookies, or Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) rules, marketers have certainly faced a number of challenges over the past few months and years.
This is no bad thing, however. For too long, there has been an overreliance on the collection of personal data. It is possible to use anonymised data in order to drive relevance, while third-party tracking is not a requisite to a successful marketing campaign.”

Nick added, “At a time when marketers are urgently seeking sustainable solutions to challenges in the marketplace, there is an emerging consensus that we need a new way of doing things. The fact is, we need to evolve to a more responsible and sustainable digital advertising ecosystem. At Covatic, we empower media companies by delivering private-by-design audience segmentation. At the heart of our mission is the desire to help marketers grapple with this shifting and evolving digital landscape.”

Nick continued, “Thanks to the technology available today, we can target and engage consumers whilst offering an absolute guarantee of privacy. Context is key. It is still possible to send timely messages based on known behaviours and preferences. In turn, this can drive engagement, acquisition and retention.”

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Digital Advertising Is Facing the Biggest Wholesale Change in Its History

James Leonard, Director of Activation at tmwi

“Organisations have tried to cope with GDPR in a myriad of ways and have also been bombarded with a number of other significant shifts since the advent of this regulation. Indeed, it could be said that GDPR acted as a helpful precursor to subsequent events, such as Google’s announcement that it would end support for third-party cookies, which fuel much of the digital advertising ecosystem, and Apple’s new privacy initiative, its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) rules. GDPR provides a foundation for a privacy-by-design framework and gives consumers control, making relationships with organisations, and the trust inherent within these, absolutely critical.”

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James added, “Three years on, GDPR no longer terrifies marketers – or at least those that recognised some time ago that they must focus on first-party data and trusted relationships with their customers.”

“Right now, digital advertising is facing the biggest wholesale change in its history. As we head towards the end of third party cookies in 2022, for instance, and with Apple’s invitation to iOS14 users to opt-out of App Tracking Technology having proved far more popular with consumers than was widely anticipated, marketers have no choice but to adapt. Their success depends on how swiftly and effectively they pivot in response to such changes.”

James continued, “In many ways, this is positive. It represents an opportunity to accelerate technological advancements, to leverage data science, and to emphasise creative strategy and execution – all of which will only benefit the industry in the long run.”

Indeed, our data science team has been working tirelessly over the past few years, ensuring we have the best solutions in place that cover all strategies and requirements. Brands need to be investing in building their first-party data; for instance within apps, or existing CRM and communities or account functionality. This will come into its own over the coming months and years. The reality is, however, that the landscape keeps shifting. Take the fact that FLoC trials are now delayed in Europe thanks to GDPR; clearly, we’ve become very used to setbacks and uncertainty. Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts proposal for privacy-friendly targeting can’t be tested until it’s compliant with Europe’s privacy laws, despite the fact that there’s nothing that would constitute personal data in FLoCs, which can be built so that no identifiers are exchanged between ad businesses. Certainly, for many, the three-year-old body of regulation has been nothing but trouble. Yet the fact remains, many are likely to be happy to trade personal data for access to content and services. A clear value exchange is key.”

Big Opportunity for Data Governance Solutions 

Bo Ilsoe, Partner of NGP Capital

“The GDPR has affected the enterprise in many ways. The immediate hurdles of ensuring compliance, and reorganising business units to mitigate the risks associated with siloed, disparate data, have largely been overcome.

Surprisingly, the GDPR appears to have worked to the advantage of some big corporations, and it has been comparatively easy for companies, like Google, Facebook, and others with large existing userbases, to seek and gain their users’ consent. Whereas new, perhaps less trusted market entrants face increasing hurdles, which continue to affect sign-up numbers. Many new entrants have a hard time replicating the infrastructure that the big businesses have developed around privacy.

The GDPR has also benefitted the incumbents by making first party data more important and valuable. Since 3rd party data quality has weakened, and now comes with usage restrictions, the first party data collected by the enterprise and SaaS vendors has become a hugely valuable business asset.

At the same time, consumers are becoming more informed and protective of their data. As a result, Apple, a long-time advocate of stricter privacy, is being followed by a slew of newer entrants, who are using strict privacy as a competitive differentiator, like DuckDuckGo compared to Google, or Signal compared to WhatsApp / Facebook.

As investors, my team and I see a big opportunity for data governance solutions that can manage data access and compliance across the whole organisation, regardless of clouds and platforms, like Immuta.”

Thank you everyone for sharing your insights with us!

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