Thought Leadership

AdAge 2019 Forecast: The Year Ahead

AdAge 2019 Forecast: The Year Ahead

Transparency and accountability are once again major storylines in 2019. The AdAge Trends Report highlights smart perspective on hot topics like duopoly, privacy, innovation and what we can expect this year and beyond.


What GDPR could mean for marketers


Many industry observers believe that the U.S. government will adopt some form of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), possibly using California’s Consumer Privacy act, which goes into effect in 2020, as a guide.


Among the most sweeping reform ideas circulating in Congress are removing liability protections for Web platforms and offering a more limited right for users to consent to the use of their data. It remains to be seen how much of the population would take advantage of new rules that may require companies to stop using their personal information for marketing purposes without their consent. Following the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, some analysts noted that even people who were disturbed enough by the revelations to consider taking action against Facebook may nevertheless likesome of the offers or other benefits they get in exchange for giving up their data privacy.


The same may not be true of websites and third-party data providers that have become essential to marketers’ highly targeted and personalized advertising campaigns. Indeed, some agencies view stricter data privacy laws as an imminent threat to DSPs and other intermediaries in the media ecosystem.


“Companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google are part of our lives at this point—and it isn’t hard for companies like this to require consent in their terms of use, which means that most of the population will provide this consent to continue using these services. The losers will be the data providers and platforms that aren’t used directly by most people and don’t have any leverage to secure consent,” says Dave Grzelak, managing partner and chief strategy officer at The Shipyard.  “These companies are at risk of being legislated out of business in the name of consumer privacy—which is an ironic outcome considering the government’s record on privacy.”


But the ripple effects of GDPR are already being felt in the U.S. In what may be a sign of things to come, the French data regulatory agency CNIL levied a $57 million fine on Google for “lack of transparency, inadequate information and lack of valid consent regarding ads personalization. On an execution level, all of the changes are making it more difficult for marketers to adopt a consistent approach:


“Media planning, attribution and measurement are challenging when targeting options and reporting suites are constantly changing in parallel with modifications in data policy,”  says Grzelak.  “As new policy rolls out, organizations are forced to alter their current solutions to adhere to new and existing policy in order to be compliant.  This has a significant impact on innovation surrounding attribution and measurement.  Right now, there is a reluctance by adtech and media organizations to develop new innovative solutions.  While major investments are continually being made focused on acquiring access to data – the pace of innovative around new attribution solutions has been at a crawl as the major players are waiting until the issues around consumer data privacy have been resolved.”


SOURCE: Ad Age, January 2019