The GDPR (Global Data Privacy Regulation) is a European law intended to restore control of personal data (what we usually refer to as PII, personally identifiable information) to the consumer. Under GDPR, businesses must comply with a set of strict stipulations regarding data collection and usage that require consumer authorization, both for collection and the intended uses. For more background on the law, AdWeek has a nice piece summarizing the regulation from the perspective of advertisers, agencies and tech companies. and the EU has an excellent interactive infographic.
GDPR changes the worldwide advertising playing field. Even though it is a European law, compliance will be expected from any company, anywhere, that might have access to an EU citizen’s private data. On the technical side, which I am not going to cover here, the data management platforms and ad tech companies that support advertisers, publishers and the programmatic media infrastructure will have to manage permissions to ensure that no one is using data in an unauthorized manner. All data – first, second and third party. It’s a huge effort. Complying with the provisions of GDPR is table stakes. You have to do it or risk pretty hefty fines.
Brands and publishers will need to be transparent about data collection and use. In order to obtain, and retain, permission to use customer data to target, retarget, market, they will need to demonstrate value for their use of this information. As perceived by the customer. This is the opportunity and the silver lining to GDPR. It is now far more likely that brands and publishers will invest in innovative permission-based marketing to differentiate themselves from the pack.
Beyond table stakes
We have permission, as marketers, to go beyond a transaction based commodity marketplace driven by programmatic advertising and ever more creepy targeting and retargeting. A marketplace, by the way, in which media companies risked marginalization if not extinction as brands began to realize they could create content and target it to their audiences with direct buys through Google and Facebook, without the intermediary and mark-up of a publisher. As I commented last fall:
… for publishers, re-selling each viewer at a slight mark-up for what it cost to acquire that page or video view is not sustainable. Unless you add measurable value to that view, such as increased conversions, the pyramid will eventually collapse. Brands will figure out that they can buy those views, that awareness, cheaper if they go direct.
We now can go beyond the table stakes of privacy regulation, and build the permission-based proprietary audiences that will deliver true advertiser and consumer value.
What are we delivering to the reader/viewer/listener in exchange for the permission to use the data that we seek? Is it truly differentiated from the competition? If not, think some more. You must offer unique value to make it worth giving YOU the permission to store and use personal data. This is just as true with a subscription offering. Subscriber data is still used to market the audience to advertisers, and just as subject to GDPR. The paywall only increases the demand on content value.
This is why I advise:
Make your voice matter. If your publication/channel is the go-to source for the audience, your editorial voice becomes relevant again. Even though the brand can buy your audience elsewhere, it cannot buy your editorial endorsement anywhere but from you.
Other things to think about:
- Community – Building a community around your content through exclusives, discounts on services, events (on and off line). Digiday is an example of a publisher creating a community of senior marketing execs around a paywall offering.
- Infuse your content with your customer — whether sponsored content created by influencers, or crowdsourced reviews or live stream events in which they can participate.
- New content streams. Go beyond digital and video, and look at podcasts and events as ways to lock in your unique value, your unique audience. Vox Media and Crooked Media are two examples of firms successfully exploring new content streams.
- Newsletters are the ultimate permission-based marketing tool, so don’t use yours just as a billboard for content that is consumable on your site. Add additional value, shoppable links and images, even original content that is only available in your newsletter.
Your objective is to create an ecosystem of value in which your user (or prospect if you are a brand) regularly extends and renews permission to use her/his private data. You still have to abide by the GDPR rules, and be transparent about how you use data, whether you share it with others, and so on, but provided you don’t betray the trust of your reader/viewer/listener by breaking those promises, at the end you will have something far more valuable than retargeting data.
You’ll have a loyal audience. And that can’t bought. It can only be earned.
Agree with my ideas, but not sure how to get started? I can help with everything from strategy development and content creation to influencer, digital and social marketing, performance audits and presentation decks. Even better, the first hour is free. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your free consultation. I’ll give you some thought starters during our conversation, and we can go from there.