Whether you’re a consumer or a digital business, you couldn’t avoid hearing the words GDPR or consent in the last six months.
So, what happens now? Consumers received email consents and opt-in notices, companies made a mad dash to prepare for GDPR compliance and industry conferences covered the topic extensively. Certainly, GDPR has changed business practices, but has it actually changed perceptions around data usage and what companies plan to do in 2018 and beyond?
I spent a week at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity asking industry leaders their perspective on this topic. I set out to learn two things:
- What do you think about data-driven marketing post-GDPR?
- What questions and concerns are your clients voicing to you about GDPR compliance?
I met with TiVo Advanced Media & Advertising SVP/GM Walt Horstman, Spotify Global Head of Advertising Brian Benedik and Apps Flyer Senior Marketing Director Ari Rosenstein. Here’s what I learned.
Thoughts on data-driven marketing post-GDPR
“Our position is that GDPR will create a flight to quality in the data world, which is an advantage for TiVo,” explained Walt Horstman. “We’ve always had rigorous policies in place with regards to TV viewership data. GDPR largely benefits us because the industry has been conservative in terms of the mechanisms by which data can be released to the marketplace. Everything has gone through appropriate vetting.”
We went on to discuss some of the new targeting techniques that don’t rely on cookies, and Walt sees a lot of opportunity with data matching in order to help meet their targeting goals. Specifically, he said, “TiVo’s real strength is that our data is deterministic. We know that it is a household, although we don’t know whose household it is. We made a decision a while ago, which turned out to be quite strategic, to aggregate that data, and to build out matching capabilities. As a result, we can match a brand’s first-party data, as well as compliant third-party data to our household data, allowing brand marketers to target the right consumer as they watch TV. But that’s just the start; our analytics allow the marketers to see the exact household ID[s] that were exposed to the campaign, and use that to inform all sorts of analytics across digital and beyond.”
Spotify’s Brian Benedik said about data-driven marketing post-GDPR:
Personalization is key. Spotify seeks to understand people through the music they listen to; this is the core of what we do, and we accomplish it through our first-party data, which we call streaming intelligence.
When the conversation turned to data matching, he said, “Matching datasets with [those of] a large brand is a key piece, and we’ve been quite successful at it.” As for the targeting techniques in a post-GDPR world, he said, “We are a cookielessenvironment, and truly people-based, so GDPR gives us the opportunity to move forward.”
What advertisers are asking for and saying
Walt Horstman said TiVo clients want a description of how they handle data, and whether or not TiVo has appropriate data governance mechanisms in place.
We went through a rigorous process to ensure we have the right process in place before we do matching with other datasets.
Are they also asking if their vendors are good actors? According to Walt, the answer is yes. “Ultimately, I think the GDPR situation we are in, and frankly headlines we’ve seen about data, is good for the industry because it forces everyone to ensure they have the right process and practices in place. It also ensures that advertisers get access to better data.” He went on to share that “The people who are most interested in that in TV are digital folks because of this data linkage, along with true deterministic data in television. This eliminates the barrier between TV and digital in a fundamental way.”
Spotify’s Brian Benedik also agrees that the focus on data governance is good for the industry: “Everyone needs assurances on trust and brand safety.” I asked him if any marketers threatened to or pulled spend off the platform because of GDPR concerns, and he said, “The process of discovery was there. To be sure, questions were asked, documents were signed. But in the end, clients were happy.”
For AppsFlyer’s Ari Rosenstein, it’s more regionally based. He said:
Marketers in Asia are asking how GDPR will affect them. Most EU and US companies have a good grasp and are doubling down on marketing best practices. If you’re a decent marketer and know the answers, you are fine.
The economics of the value exchange
Next, I spoke to Dr. Jenny Darroch, dean of the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.
If we focus on TiVo and Spotify, I’d expect that because they have collected data on my behavior and preference, the exchange is that they then provide valuable recommendations on my behalf in return. If [as consumers] we are highly targeted, and in return, our preferences are understood and employed to make useful recommendations, utility and satisfaction will naturally increase.
The brands and partners who will come out ahead are those who continue to build trusted relationships with consumers. This means proving that they are good actors and can protect consumer data, and that in return for this information, they provide real benefits back to buyers.
My prediction for data usage post-GDPR is that people aren’t shying away from data, they are doubling down on acquiring better ways to own and control it. Look no further than IPG’s acquisition of Acxiom that was recently announced.