What is GDPR, and What Do Performance Marketers Need to Know?

For the past few months, the digital marketing space has been abuzz about the general data protection regulation, or GDPR, and what it means for the future of digital advertising.

Because it regulates privacy and data collection, GDPR will cause some shifts in how digital advertising is executed and how we deliver certain tactics available to the performance marketer. However, it’s important to recognize that by far the greatest impact will be felt in the EU rather than in other markets, including, of course, the U.S.

From an opportunity standpoint, GDPR will almost certainly increase the importance and impact of high quality AI and also contextual data for driving high-performing campaigns going forward. Our experts have assembled a concise guide to GDPR, clearly articulating how AUDIENCEX can help our clients continue to achieve exceptional results, even as the regulatory environment in the EU undergoes change.

What is GDPR?

The general data protection regulation is a European Union law covering data privacy and protection. There are several components, but the ones that matter most to advertisers dictate how online entities collect and use consumer data. With the law going into effect on May 25, citizens of EU countries will have to give consent for their data to be used, and they will have full access to their data with an option to opt-out, or a “right to be forgotten.”

All publishers, advertisers, and third-party technology vendors who engage specifically with EU citizens will have to comply, or else face financial penalties. For more information, our partners at Sizmek have developed a 7-step compliance guide.

What does it mean for performance marketers?

The GDPR only applies to consumers who are EU citizens, so it is unlikely that marketers who focus on the U.S. population or other international markets will face those EU mandated fines. Still, the majority of ad-tech and mar-tech companies are making sure they comply with the regulations. If publishers and data vendors adopt stricter opt-in policies across the board, it could mean less consumer data available than in the past. While this may sound restrictive to performance marketers, advancements in data-focused technology will almost certainly mitigate any decline in campaign success.

The AUDIENCEX solution 

Less expansive access to audience data, at least in the EU, will likely push advertisers to rely more on contextual data signals to deliver relevant, targeted ad messages. Fortunately, AUDIENCEX’s deep relationship with Sizmek provides our clients with access to the Peer39 data set for contextual targeting. Peer39 analyzes words and phrases and the relationship between them to understand the context and category of a page, allowing ad targeting without personal data.

At the same time, less data availability makes powerful AI-solutions ever more important. Performance marketers seeking impact and efficiency need algorithms that can make smart, accurate decisions about which consumers should see their ads. “The more advanced AI platforms will shine while others that use the word but who are not using AI in an advanced way will suffer more than the advanced platforms,” Sizmek’s CEO Mark Grether said in a recent interview.

Finally, the AUDIENCEX and Sizmek relationship provides a superior, future-proof alternative to the ad buying solutions presented by Google and Facebook. While these so-called “walled gardens” will still have data on their users, they will continue enforcing a black box approach that provides little transparency into campaign results and target audiences. This makes it much harder for advertisers to understand and repeat successful campaigns and is especially restrictive to mid-market advertisers that can’t assemble their own tech stacks.

As an independent and open platform, Sizmek provides AUDIENCEX clients with full reporting and analytics so that they retain control of all of their data and reach consumers across the web, avoiding the restrictions and challenges that come from working with Google and Facebook.

Of course, all of the concern about GDPR is focused on what might happen after the law goes into effect. Things are likely to change, and the advertising landscape will evolve, but AUDIENCEX will remain a trusted partner for performance marketers by helping our clients stay up to date with the latest solutions and innovations. Our strategic partnership with Sizmek ensures continued access to AI-powered campaigns and contextual targeting solutions, as well as Sizmek’s GDPR-compliant ad server, DSP, DMP and data governance tools. We’ll also continue to evaluate best-in-class technology providers to ensure that we keep our clients on the cutting edge of marketing innovation, no matter which audiences they are pursuing and no matter what changes we see in the ever-shifting digital landscape.

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