2018 ended with reports indicating that brand safety remains a major challenge in digital advertising. Inevitably, safety now must be a favourite with the advertising industry at all levels. With the GDPR regulation coming into effect, and changing online advertising as we knew it, meticulous data protection has become more than best practice, it became necessary. Far from new, brand safety and data protection will therefore continue to be at the top of any advertising agenda in 2019. Quality over quantity is turning into the main theme for both ad placement and data usage.
Programmatic advertising relies on a safe environment and we see an increased readiness from the marketers to invest in safe and high-grade environments. However, in a Sizmek study, 64 percent of the marketers state that their efforts to enhance brand safety has a negative impact on the performance of their online campaigns.
Safety, quality, and performance, how does it all come together? In this blog post, we do not only go to the roots of the GDPR and the importance of functioning brand safety but attempt to point out possible approaches and solutions to future challenges in this area.
Brand Safety Done Right
No doubt, brand safety is on the plate for everybody involved in digital advertising and marketing. Brands are demanding more transparency and accountability and apparently for good reasons: according to a CHEQ study, users assume that ad placements are always intentional and flawless. If a brand shows its advertising next to, for example, violent content, the viewer assumes it has been done on purpose because the advertiser agrees with the neighbouring content. For this reason, the official DMEXCO theme Take C.A.R.E didn’t come as a surprise. Curiosity, Action, Responsibility and Experience are key values both brands and agencies must embrace to ensure compliance with ePrivacy regulations.
Naturally, ad placements in a safe environment are a challenge for companies of all sorts and sizes. So how do we proceed from here? As is so often the case, the answer is: count on expertise!
With the right technology partners, agencies can help to minimise the risks. Careful implementation of campaigns is key to maximum safety for a company. In cooperation with powerful partners, adverserve gathers information about the domains and selects brand-safe environments only. Internal quality managers double check on the quality of the ad inventory and make further amendments if needed. To guarantee the best outcome, clients can provide blacklists to exclude certain sources. Every partnership is unique and adverserve always takes the client’s preferences into account before initiating a campaign.
Wondering how and where to place your advertisements best?
There are different types of inventory in the advertising spectrum, ranging from very safe models, which focus on the national media market only, to more high-risk open auction approaches. A cheap placement tends to be of low quality and rarely pays off for the brand. We at adverserve recommend a focus on national ad inventory, for example in the form of private deals.
A New Era of Data Protection: GDPR and ePrivacy
In the EU, there is still a considerable lack of awareness regarding the management of personal information. In combination with an increasing concern regarding privacy and data protection, this represents a major risk for sustainable growth of online advertising.
Before the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), more than half of the citizens neither liked providing personal information, nor the use of their personal data for targeted advertising. These numbers implicitly demanded more transparency over the use of personal data in online services. The recently adopted regulation , which updated the European Union’s 1995 Data Protection Directive, intended to improve the current situation by enhancing users’ control over their personal data.
The GDPR provided a far-reaching legal reform affecting how online marketing may, and may not, use data. EU citizens enjoy a much greater degree of control over how firms gather, store and use their personal data since the regulation came into effect. Peter Fader, Marketing Professor at the University of Wharton, confirms that “it (the GDPR) will force companies to take a closer look at their data infrastructure, much more so than they would otherwise”. At the time of its coming into effect, we already reported on how the GDPR poses challenges and left many questions open. In particular, the definition of personal data is broad and controversial.
Need a refresh about the GDPR? Have a look at our blog post about WHAT DIGITAL ADVERTISERS NEED TO KNOW
Despite the criticism, the implementation went through, and the effect is profound: Since commerce and data move freely across international borders, companies worldwide need to conform to its guidelines. Not only does it apply to companies in the European Union, but also to anyone offering goods or services to customers located in the EU, or those monitoring consumer behaviour.
The GDPR did not come alone. In order to supplement the new regulation, the European Parliament drafted another part of the reform of the EU data protection framework: the EU ePrivacy Regulation. The new regulation comes across as an attempt to put digital services, such as FaceTime or WhatsApp, under EU rules and severely punish in cases of rule-breaking. It will be binding across all member states and immediately come into force on a set date. Unlike guidelines, regulations do not require transposition into national laws, which makes ePrivacy quite a powerful instrument. Replacing the 2002 ePrivacy Directive, the proposed ePrivacy Regulation was planned to be applicable already from 25 May 2018. However, it is currently not expected to take effect until 2020/2021.
Once implemented, a successful ePrivacy Regulation could be a milestone for data sovereignty. Currently, the market is led, and divided, among a few, big players. The European Commission set out to build a “digital single market”, and a fair playground, through regulation, policy and more investment.
Notwithstanding, the proposals on ePrivacy are controversial, even among EU member states. The principal challenge lies in its compatibility with its counterpart, the GDPR, and is fuelling an ongoing discussion. In fact, for a customer-centric future of digital advertising a badly drafted regulation would be an unwelcome incidence. Opponents of the current version expressed serious concerns about its practicability. Experts claim that the current draft for the ePrivacy Regulation could complicate digital marketing unnecessarily and support what it set out to combat – the dominance of a few international companies.
You want to know more about the UPS AND DOWNS OF ePRIVACY? Read our blog post for all the details!
Were the last twelve months a black year for online marketing then?
Not for forward-thinking digital marketing. On the one hand, the new regulations require an extra effort and a lot of challenges and uncertainties lie before us. On the other hand, the GDPR replaced the varying national regulations, providing more transparency for both sides. Online marketers must now comply with one general data protection policy only. The usage of personal data for marketing is facilitated in many cases because companies can claim a legitimate interest.
In effect since May 2018, the GDPR Regulation will soon celebrate its first birthday. Even though the interpretation of the regulation is still a controversial topic, the implementation of the GDPR is well on its way. Frequent audits of data protection and transparency already aid the consensus. This will certainly lead to further awareness in the digital advertising world and a revision of the status quo.
“It (the GDPR) certainly is challenging for the advertising world. Nevertheless, the advantages far outweigh the burden if the consumers can trust that their data is protected, understand how it is used and actively give their permission. The outcome will be a more balanced, sustainable relationship between us and the client.
Georg Klauda, Director Enterprise and Data Protection Officer at adverserve
What can you do to guarantee you’re up to date with the data protection of your clients?
Being the owner, you are liable for your client’s data and nobody can protect them but you. However, with a solid strategy and powerful data management platforms, companies can take the necessary steps to optimise data usage. As a full-service partner, we work with companies on an operative and a strategic level. As a consultant, we advise on how to analyse and use data. Our individual data management solutions put this into practice by collecting data in accordance with the GDPR and enabling differentiated customer targeting in real time.
While the advertising campaign is running, information is collected and filtered in a dynamic data aggregation process across all channels. The target group segment data is fed back directly into the normal campaign cycle. In addition, the data material can be refined with external sources such as CRM data. Using intelligent DMP solutions for the management of a campaign does not only result in an outstanding return-on-investment, it gives you more control over the how and when of your data usage as well.
Artificial Intelligence – The Solution for a Safe Environment?
Even the best advertisement is worthless in the wrong placement. No matter what, digital advertising remains all about meeting the user with the right message at the right time in the right place. Digital advertising can only become what it is supposed to be when we manage to delight the user with our offer. Thanks to the readiness of data at hand, and careful processing, this becomes possible for us.
Nevertheless, it is not only about what data a digital marketer may use, but also which data they should use. Today we are flooded with information and making sense of the data we receive is a major priority. This is where Artificial Intelligence comes in as one of the central innovations of our times. In order to analyse and manage this data universe, we will invariably need Artificial Intelligence.
AI has become a buzzword in digital advertising lately. What does it mean to us in practice?
A major problem for marketing managers is tracing the environment and context of their ad placements. With the help of machine learning, we can analyse websites and detect environments, which could represent damage to the brand image. Machine learning processes allow us to meticulously collect and filter data. Algorithms process and analyse the collected data so we can use them for more efficient campaign management.
84 percent of the marketers in the Sizmek study hope for better results when it comes to brand safety – and Artificial Intelligence might be at the heart of it, acting as the missing piece to transparency and brand safety. Owing to increasing spending on digital advertising and programmatic, the implementation of Artificial Intelligence technologies becomes more relevant. The technology is moving away from the image of a black box to a true counsellor, vital in helping with the analysis of the where, when and why of ad placements. Does this mean the end of human creativity in digital advertising? Not at all. At the end of the day, any AI can only be as good as the person who trained it.
The bottom line: Ever since digital advertising became a top priority on most companies’ agendas, we see how they face challenges when it comes to guaranteeing a high-quality environment for their advertising. Around 60 percent of the brand marketers experience the digital media landscape as too complex.
The message is clear: Experts are needed. Since we accompany every customer on their individual customer journey, adverserve can ensure both the quality of the environment and the data usage in compliance with data protection requirements.
No brand is the same and it is central to find the right model for your company. Use our consulting services to ensure you make the most of your marketing budget!