“We can all see the costs to bear”: eight performance marketers on GDPR’s anniversary

GDPR is perhaps the most famous piece of privacy legislation in history, with an impact felt far beyond the EU. As the legislation reaches four years old, PMW spoke to five experts on what performance marketers can do to tackle future challenges.

“We can all see the costs to bear”: six performance marketers on GDPR’s anniversary

“GDPR races to retrofit new legislative ‘add ons’ that most technology companies will have evolved”

Ryan McDermott, Director of Strategic Alliances at HubSpot: “The sophistication of data capture has finally outpaced its watchguard and GDPR is no longer fit for purpose. Regulation has always favoured the big; so much so that the tech giants that should have been the most hamstrung by the privacy law’s inception in 2018 – the likes of Facebook and Amazon – remained more or less impervious to it. And now, as GDPR races to retrofit new legislative ‘add ons’ that most technology companies will have evolved well beyond by the time they’re implemented, GDPR is barely an afterthought for marketing professionals who are readying themselves for a much more seismic change this year: the crumbling of third-party cookies.

“Because of that, advertisers will require new, privacy-respecting, non-tracking-based approaches to reach their target audiences. Now, then, is the time for businesses to establish what a value exchange between users and an ad-funded, free internet actually looks like – but that goes far beyond the remit of GDPR. In order to rebuild the commercial internet with a focus on privacy, the biggest platforms will have to lead the charge and collaborate when it comes to establishing a best practice on data capture. For the smaller businesses, it’ll be about forming an allegiance with bigger technology companies who have the resources to navigate these changes so they can chart a course together.”

“Intense debate around the true meaning of the word ‘consent"

Michael Nevins, Chief Marketing Officer, Smart AdServer: “The GDPR has not only encouraged tech giants to reassess how they collect data, but set in motion an intense debate around the true meaning of the word ‘consent’. The industry’s desire to regulate monopolistic players remains strong, but it will soon be consumers that are seen as the key drivers of change in adland, as they become increasingly aware of their data and how it’s used. Moving forward, adtech companies that prioritise the public good by operating with openness, fairness and accountability will be able to meet not only the industry’s need for transparency and privacy, but also the everyday consumer’s need for choice.”

“The creative can now be used to provide a new kind of first-party data to alleviate signal loss” 

Anthony Lamy, VP EMEA Client Partners, VidMob: “Over the last four years we’ve moved into a time of innovation, with an increasing number of marketers revisiting how the core component of their campaigns – the creative – can now be used to provide a new kind of first-party data to alleviate signal loss. Combining performance metrics with creative data extracted by new artificial intelligence and machine learning tools, can give clarity on creative performance, allowing for precise optimisation and targeting. Marketers are again recognising that creative is the primary driver of campaign success, and using the latest tools to gain a deeper understanding of its effectiveness is helping them drive ROI, while respecting user privacy.”

“Teams are challenged by GDPR’s complexity”

Tony Ayaz, CEO, Scuba Analytics: “Teams are challenged by GDPR’s complexity, which is often worsened by limited company bandwidth and technical expertise to monitor alignment with regulations. Compliance becomes even more difficult to navigate when considering the global reach of GDPR, challenging even tech giants to comprehend and meet data transfer regulations between regions.”

“Evolve long-term data compliance strategies”

“To anticipate these inevitable changes, companies must evolve their long-term data compliance strategies. Fortunately, one powerful solution for brands is to minimise the volume of external data sharing and exportation – a commonplace practice of legacy analytics systems – and ensure their analytics tools work within the confines of their own firewalls and security measures.”

“We can all see the costs to bear”

Amy Yeung, General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer, Lotame: “[Data minimisation] will cut costs in terms of dollars and personnel resources, as well as safeguard businesses from reputational damage. Now that there is the “shot heard around the world” and we can all see the cost to bear, it’s imperative that businesses employ smart solutions to responsibly manage data and keep privacy front and centre.”

“Move back to contextual is on the cards”

John Tigg, GM, International, Yieldmo: “The users’ right to privacy must be respected and there are ways to manage this long term. Effective results and data privacy are not mutually exclusive and this can be proven by opening up and better monetising previously unaddressable inventory, and reaching customers across all digital channels. A move back to contextual – anchored in an advanced machine learning and a privacy-first approach – is on the cards.”

“Development of Web3 and the metaverse is only going to continue this trend”

Ben Erdos, Chief Services Officer, Total Media Solutions: “As the raft of more recent legislation and the scrapping of third-party identifiers has shown, tightening regulation and privacy concerns are here to stay; the development of Web3 and the metaverse is only going to continue this trend. With the possibility of both greater immersion and tracking, the industry needs to focus on making Web3 more privacy secure in a more user-centric manner than its predecessor.”

“Marketers must utilise server-side tracking”

Lloyd Davis, Managing Director, Making Science UK: “The last four years have also brought changes to the tools available to execute first-party data strategies, such as Google’s GA4, Facebook’s Conversion API (CAPI), and data collection techniques like server-side tracking. Marketers must now look to utilise these.”


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