Why GDPR Might Actually be a Good Thing for Advertisers

As the EU’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is all about regulating the ways data is collected and managed online, it will have a profound impact on the data management platforms (DMP’s) as they’ll have to ensure the ways they collect and transfer data fall in line with the new rules. Here Chris Hogg, managing director EMEA at DMP Lotame, explains how GDPR might make advertisers focus on quality of data over quantity, and help eliminate the types of data which add little real value. 

Last year, the EU approved a new law called the General Data Protection Regulation, which is being implemented to strengthen digital data protection and give consumers more say in the ways that companies use their personal data.

For advertisers, GDPR has largely been negatively received. Consumer data helps advertisers deliver stronger, more personalized digital ad experiences. However, GDPR has a broader definition of what qualifies as personal data, and puts anonymous data and personal information — such as email addresses and names — in the same bracket. As a result, many advertisers are concerned that these new regulations will stand in their way of delivering strong ad experiences to their customers.

Relatedly, there are certain compliance costs associated with GDPR. And those who aren’t compliant by this year’s deadline will be subject to massive fines equal to the greater of four percent of global revenues or $20 million. But, despite some of the initial challenges in becoming GDPR compliant, I expect substantial, long-term benefits from embracing GDPR for advertisers. Namely in the area of data quality.

Here’s what I mean.

Forget big data

Under the new regulation, advertisers will see a hike in compliance costs from consumer data. And while this may not seem ideal on the surface, it can actually be hugely beneficial for them over the long-term. With these higher costs, the advertising industry will be forced to change the way it views data strategy. Historically, advertisers have valued data by size and volume. However, as GDPR raises the compliance costs of maintaining, analyzing and using datasets, it will no longer be practical or cost-effective to rely strictly on volume. Such a narrow focus becomes too expensive, and ultimately not worth it. As a result, advertisers will soon see that the best — and most useful — data strategies favor quality, not quantity.

Improved data quality

Beyond mitigating costs, GDPR will deliver several other benefits for advertisers. Studies show that almost one-third of marketing data becomes obsolete after a just single year. So as the new data privacy regulations begin to impact which information is fair game — and the type that can’t be collected — advertisers will have no other choice but to focus on the most meaningful datasets. And devoting their attention to the higher-quality data will pay dividends in providing more actionable insights that can have a positive impact on business. To date, this has proven to be a real challenge for marketers. An IBM study revealed that just 3 percent say that their ability to act on customer data is ‘excellent’, with over half calling it poor. GDPR will deliver more actionable intelligence and customer data, helping all boats rise.

How to win

There are several different methods that advertisers can use to make sure they’re finding the best-quality data possible. The most obvious is partnering with transparency technology platforms — such a third-party attribution and quality measurement platforms — to help eliminate weak impressions and fake audience profiles. In a similar fashion, advertisers can use the new GDPR laws to build consumer profiles that are more authentic, and of a higher quality. This type of top-tier data will lead to more opt-ins, and better all-around results.

So while many advertisers see GDPR as a cause for concern, it will likely lead them to better quality data, and positively impact their advertising efforts.

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