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Adtech’s regulatory reckoning: It’s time to do the right thing with data

September 28, 2020 | By Evan Rutchik, CRO – Ogury @weareogury

If GDPR, CCPA, and all the emerging regulatory acronyms make you cringe, you’re not alone. 

Hopefully, though, that sentiment’s about to change.

Despite what many think, data regulation is not the end of advertising. In fact, for many, it could be the next step toward more effective advertising. But it requires a shift in thinking that many U.S. companies have yet to make. You must adapt to the idea that the user is a participant in the process of deciding what happens with his/her data.

Back when the Internet was starting its rapid ascent in popularity and potential, Europe was quick to step in to protect the data rights of users. Stateside data collection, by contrast, was more like the Wild West of old. We saw a mad rush to gather and hoard data for data’s sake, with few rules and fewer consequences.

Data that delivers

Having a lot of data is good. Having the right data is better. And you only know it’s right if you take a step back and determine if it’s just confirming what you want it to confirm or if it’s telling a story you need to listen to. Hint: it’s time to listen.

Ideally the state of adtech wouldn’t have come to this. However, it helps if you think of regulation as the catalyst for new opportunities to connect with consumers. Of course, that connection requires an understanding of the consumer’s choices and how data consent benefits them. The peril is not in partnering with the people who generate data; it’s in not respecting them as the center of the equation. 

The first step is abandoning the round-up mentality. Gone is the competitive edge companies had by collecting data on the sly. With a more level playing field, it’s the companies who shoulder the responsibility of educating consumers about data usage and the providers who properly vet their data-collection partners who will succeed. 

Fair value exchange

Today’s consumers are savvy digital navigators. They know nothing is truly free. But if they are empowered to pay with data for content that’s of value to them, they’ll probably make the choice companies want them to make. 

That’s the mindset companies need to adopt in order to adapt. Many are still stuck in the past, trying to force the principles that governed TV advertising onto a mobile medium. This legacy thinking is negatively impacting both their ROI and customer satisfaction. 

Our data shows that when consumers are engaged in a choice-driven fully transparent ecosystem their brand awareness and purchase intent both dramatically increase, and their perception of brand favorability increases 300%. Instead of being told what to watch/do/consume, those consumers feel they’re entering a peer-to-peer conversation, increasing the halo effect for that brand.

Consent is an advantage

Better ROI and customer satisfaction are a great start. But there are other benefits that having consent brings to brands. With self-selected data, we find we’re able to bring a better curated subset of consumers to brand sites. They feel they’re part of a premium experience that’s relevant to them, which makes them more open to exploring what a brand has to offer. 

There’s also the protection afforded to a company’s reputation. Showing you’re trustworthy with traceable proof of consent eases the minds of consumers. It also helps deflate attempts at fraudulent consent. Particularly now, as the Covid-19 pandemic has altered consumer behavior and points of view about social responsibility, the spotlight will shine harshly on companies that aren’t willing to engage more honestly.

According to Kantar, 75% of consumers want to know what companies are doing during the pandemic. And recent IAB data shows 53% of advertisers are increasing their marketing focus to talk about their mission. In a time when most people are feeling isolated and uncertain, consumers need relevancy as well as reassurances that all involved in their day-to-day transactions are doing the right thing. 

Regulation is not the end for adtech – it’s a new beginning. And in this dawning era of digital integrity, a holistic approach is what will sustain companies through these adjustments and well into the future.

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