General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force across Europe on May 29 and have since severely restricted popular forms of digital marketing. However, it has also created new opportunities which may be life-saving for online publishers who have been struggling with declining ad revenue for the last decade or so.
Many see GDPR as a blow to the digital marketing industry but, in reality, it’s a great opportunity. There are two ways of delivering an online ad: behavioural targeting and content-based. Behavioural targeting involves identifying individuals by their web surfing patterns, working out what their interests are from those patterns and then delivering “targeted advertising” which match those interests.
Content-based advertising is the foundation on which TV, radio and print have survived and grown for the last 200 years – and is also why Google is so richIt’s not new: behavioural targeting was pioneered in the United States by the Sears Catalogue in the 1920s, which analysed customers by their purchase patterns. The web simply made it possible to analyse more people in more detail. However, it has never been popular with consumers, who complain that it feels “creepy” when a company seems to know so much about you.
It became an online privacy issue because companies emerged who specialised in tracking people around the web through hidden techniques, building secret profiles of them, and selling that information to all and sundry.