State of Advertising
Privacy Rules Supreme.

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Last year’s GDPR legislation certainly shook things up for advertisers, and we can expect more to come throughout 2020. In a continued effort to clean up programmatic, the ICO have placed digital advertising – in particular Real Time Bidding (RTB) – under scrutiny. The industry has until Christmas to demonstrate that we can still target users, while still respecting their privacy.

Quite what happens if it cannot, is anyone’s guess. Expect more on this as we head into 2020, as the ICO’s verdict will have a huge impact on marketing activity and budgets for the rest of the decade. 

This hasn’t been the sole priority of the ICO however. There is also the ongoing investigation into whether Google’s gathering and use of personal information is compliant with GDPR. This relates to Google’s “forced consent” push via pop-up boxes, which requires users to agree to data collection in order to access their online services. This could have far-reaching and unprecedented consequences, so be sure to follow this story as it brews towards the end of the year. 

While this plays out, the Justice Department in the US will be stepping up its investigation into whether the tech giants, most particularly Google and Facebook, stifle competition. This coincides with a debate in Congress which The New York Times predicts could see a federal equivalent of California’s Privacy Law and the EU’s GDPR rolled out.

The third and possibly the biggest development in privacy, particularly for the UK, will be the introduction of the ePrivacy Regulation. This is essentially the second half of GDPR, and while it’s predecessor focused on the processing of personal information, ePrivacy instead looks at how you can use it. We anticipate both an insistence that all browsers allow third-party cookie blocking, and a more concerted shift towards consent-driven marketing. This will help to curtail spam marketing, as well as further GDPR’s goals of re-establishing consumer confidence in data use. 

Love them or loathe them, we cannot deny that privacy laws have forced us to be the best advertisers that we can be. Less personal data means finding different and better ways to deliver the most relevant content possible to users. Seen in this way, we can find huge opportunity in privacy legislation to get creative with our ads.