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EDITORIAL GDPR arrives… but what does it mean for performance marketing?

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So the big day has come – and gone – we now live in a GDPR world. So now what: how is this going to impact marketing in telemedia?

The biggest likely fall out has been that the number of people on your active database has probably plummeted. On the day it came into effect, most organisations with consumer data were predicting that they were going to see a drop off in the number of people who agreed to be marketed to.

More pressingly, however, the data that is left for many merchants and service providers and other customer-facing entities is a bit rubbish.

On the day GDPR came into effect, research by Vibrant Media reported that many media buyers were saying that they consider less than half (43%) of retailers’ EU consumer data to be usable post GDPR.

The study questioned media buyers representing hundreds of brands, many of whom were reporting problems including low opt-in rates to email databases, slow uptake to review and set communications preferences, low traffic rates to websites to get explicit consent and a lack of confidence in the adequacy of GDPR compliance.

More worryingly, it seems that programmatic marketing has taken a direct hit and no-one is quite sure when or if it can recover. Even though nearly half of media buyers (48%) think that infringements of GDPR will be difficult to enforce, many report a decline in spend on the most GDPR unfriendly marketing strategies in their canon – and that means programmatic.

For example, two-fifths of media buyers (42%) say that GDPR is resulting in a drop in programmatic spend, with brands telling them that the reputational risk of a GDPR-infringing programmatic campaign is enough to put such strategies on hold.

There are even rumours that brands planning to continue running GDPR-risky campaigns have established budget lines to pay for fines.

This is potentially a big problem in telemedia as the industry relies on this sort of advertising to thrive.

But affiliate marketers and other performance marketing insiders aren’t too worried. Most agree that GDPR will be a much needed clean up of the industry and will help ‘professionalise’ things more. The shying away from programmatic at the moment is merely a reset as brands and agencies work out which networks are going to work well within GDPR and which aren’t.

As with all regulatory changes there are challenges and opportunities with GDRP for performance and programmatic advertising. Those players that work within GDPR and adapt to work well inside the regulations will thrive. Those that don’t won’t. Those that do will see things improve quickly and dramatically, many industry watchers predict, as brands will finally feel more confident about using these kinds of marketing channels.

Consumers should also benefit as they will get more of the kind of marketing they want from the brands they want to hear from at the point where the customer wants and needs to hear from them. This is going to be a shot in the arm for both programmatic and for personalisation.

So, right now there are some early day troubles, but soon GDPR will be forgotten as a thing and business can continue as ever with impunity.

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Editor and content creator for Telemedia – for 18 years and counting

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