The State of Digital Ad Targeting Post-GDPR

For the advertising industry, May 25 is an important date, since it marks the advent of GDPR.

However, more than four month later, there are still publishers and advertisers who cannot target users in Europe due to issues related to GDPR.

The balls keep dropping at Facebook. Just recently, the company announced that it would be removing the Partners Categories program. The program helped agencies and advertisers to use third-party data from brokers to optimize their targeted campaigns on the network.

Though the company should have answered the problem with first-party data, marketers doubt whether the data collected over the past two years meets the standards of today’s legislation on data. The following are three solutions that can enable agencies and advertisers to address the current targeting challenges:

Contextual targeting

Contextual targeting is one of the earliest ad targeting forms and has been gaining traction after scares of brand safety and the GDPR. However, taking advantage of new technology, contextual advertising can help to target better.

Channel 4 is using AI tech to seek out storylines that are contextually relevant to create new targeting opportunities. According to the UK-based lead data strategist, Neil Taylor, ‘I can watch a program with a character using a wine glass and have an ad break automatically bring a commercial for a wine brand. The moment is simply contextual.’

But does the form perform? Online interviews done by Channel 4 reveal that those who saw contextual ads were the most aware. It is possible that technology can do for contextual what native did to the old advertorial.

Direct publisher relationships

Another way marketers and advertisers can use third-party data is by liaising with publishers who have a lot of reader data. While some publishers have bugs that are related to the GDPR, sophisticated technology is also being licensed to help to target. There are immense marketing opportunities for agencies and advertisers among readers.

Developing models of consent for user data

It often requires time for a digital process to become accepted. For instance, ad blockers have been on the block since the 90s and they are only just gaining prominence. Close to ten years ago, companies like Personal sought to help consumers organize, protect and share their data. It is now after the Facebook scandal that consumers are ready to take interest on the matter.

By allowing consumers to control their data, new models can help them to benefit from it. For instance, rewarded ads can offer the user an incentive for sharing data in a controlled setting.

For other app ad creatives, this will present a chance to get user data access that is currently walled in at Alphabet and Facebook properties. Given the pressures that flow from regulation around the two companies, one might expect them to actually support data user empowerment.

Instead of crying over spilled milk, it is time that people were involved in conversations that will shape the industry and help create new models for targeting while encompassing user content. The idea is to develop the next generation of targeting that will satisfy all the industry players.

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