(Not) Another GDPR Article

This is not another “what it is” or “checklist” for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Plenty of that content has been produced already and Empower has curated some of the best that we’ve seen here for easy reference. It’s also important to note that Empower doesn’t collect or store personally identifiable information (PII) on behalf of our clients in any capacity. In order to deliver mass-personalized media solutions, we leverage a network of ad tech partners, all of which are working towards GDPR compliance.

Even though GDPR is an EU regulation, the perfect storm appears to be brewing, which has the potential to bring GDPR (and more, e-privacy?) to the U.S. much quicker than anyone would have thought. The recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica debacle is not only the latest in a long line of data blunders, it may have finally pushed us beyond the tipping point. Facebook has notified advertisers that they will be shutting down Partner Categories (their targeting solution that enables third-party data providers to offer their data directly on Facebook) and Mark Zuckerberg has a date with Congress.

So what does marketing look like in a post third-party data world? OK, that’s admittedly a stretch. It’s highly unlikely that third-party data will go away completely. In fact, this may be just the thing the industry needs to clean up its act. Though scale will surely suffer from shifting to opt-in data collection, the quality should increase. There are a few interesting ideas out there already that will give consumers more control and also benefit in return for sharing their data.

If you’re playing buzzword bingo, blockchain-based digital advertising solutions like Liberdy and BasicAttentionToken are incentivizing consumers to share their data with advertisers as part of a token economy. Only time will tell if these services will have the desired effect of a data relationship that is mutually beneficial to consumers and advertisers.

But just when you didn’t think first-party data could be any more valuable, BAM! Scale has always been the challenge here, so advertisers need to double down on efforts to collect their own data. Pixel that website. Capture that email address. Deploy that SDK in your mobile app. Of course, we encourage you to do so in compliance with GDPR in anticipation that at least some of those restrictions will become a reality here sooner than later.

Second-party data also becomes more valuable. Whether it’s a one-to-one relationship, private marketplace facilitated by a data management platform (DMP) or second-party data at scale, the combination of accuracy and scale becomes an increasingly important component of an audience strategy, if third-party data becomes a scarce resource.

Marketers can also shift more ad dollars into contextual targeting to offset the impact of the loss of behavioral targeting via third-party data providers. Consistently a top performer in our campaigns, we’ll have to keep an eye on this as increased demand will drive up the CPMs for endemic media placements.

Preparing for compliance to GDPR, e-privacy and whatever else comes next is one thing. Identifying alternative solutions to maintain marketing campaign performance is another. But we should also strive to shift the paradigm that got us into this predicament in the first place.

Ask not what their data can do for you. Ask how their data can be used to serve the people that created it.

Would a person, not a consumer, think it’s appropriate that you have access to their data? How can this data be used to improve an experience for that person? Humanizing your data by forcing yourself to realize that there are always real people who created it. That will not only help keep you on the right side of an ongoing ethical debate, it may even enable you to think about marketing efforts in a whole new way. And that’s a win-win.

* * *

GDPR Content for Reference:

Partner GDPR Documents:

Get our best insights delivered straight to your inbox.

Newsletter Signup