The digital industry has long been operating under the inertia and ignorance of consumers who were unaware of the amount of data being collected on them. As the industry matured, consumers became more informed about “cookies” and noticed that somehow, ads seem to follow them across the web. It was too close for comfort for many.
These pressures prompted more transparency where websites disclose the collection of cookies and permission has to be given in order to track location. But these measures will be dwarfed by the strict privacy rules that Europe will enforce via GDPR in May, 2018. This legislation will apply to all companies doing business with EU citizens (including those companies based outside of EU). Consumers will have a lot more control over what data is collected and how it’s being used, and can choose to have everything about them erased as they wish. These sweeping changes will ripple through and affect multinational companies with an EU market and it’s more likely than not that such rules will spill over to North American privacy regulations.
The biggest impact to marketers is that data, especially personal data, will be harder to obtain. That has a huge impact for ad targeting which has been driven with rich demographic, behavioural and location information because it may not all be available anymore. Depending on where the final perimeters land, marketers will have to be prepared to find other ways to find their audience that don’t rely on personal data on the hit list.
As with all new regulations, it will take some time for the industry to grapple with its effects and come up with solutions. What is undeniable is that the GDPR is powerful enough to finally change the rules of the game and it will continue down that direction. To build a more sustainable future, companies should invest into building a data infrastructure that is secure and flexible to add in or take out certain components as rules change. Digital marketers need to come up with new strategies for data usage – one that is focused on providing a better experience for consumers without invading personal privacy. The question marketers should start asking is what information can I collect to provide a better experience for customers that does not infringe on personal privacy?
To address these changes and take our own advice, in 2018, JUICE will be moving towards a more robust data platform which allows us to nimbly add more components as needed and efficiently manage our resources. As the specifics of the GDPR unfolds and we learn more about its practical implications, we are exploring the application of other data sets that are relatively under used, such as weather and event info, but may provide tremendous value as it enriches the environmental and situational context of the consumer, making ad units more relevant.
The direction towards heavier regulation is unavoidable as policies try to catch up to the advancement in technology. Our innovations are preparing JUICE for significant changes in the future of data and we plan to continue evolving with the times.