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BizReport : Law & Regulation : May 08, 2019

How UK brands are adapting a year into GDPR

With the one year anniversary of the EU's GDPR adoption coming up, we wanted to check in to how European businesses are adapting to the changes in how data is collected and used in the online space. According to one expert, one change is that those brands who initially pulled out of location data are now pushing back in.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: We're coming up on the one year anniversary of GDPR implementation - what are you seeing in the data space currently? 

Mark Slade, CEO, Location Sciences: In terms of location data, we are seeing levels pick up again in exchanges, as apps get to grips with the new consent piece. While we are still way below pre-May 2018, it is starting to grow again. The shortage of good signals is making it difficult for the industry to scale campaigns. Now more than ever brands need to know the types of location signals that are used in the supply chain because when there is a shortage of good GPS signals, the temptation in the supply chain is to use less precise signals like IP. 

Kristina: How are brands/businesses in the EU responding to GDPR - are they testing new tech or are they holding back?

Mark: We have seen brands pull out of location advertising in the UK and Europe, but it is starting to come back. It's still a great data signal if done properly. We are now also beginning to get interest in third-party verification of this data by some of the more forward-thinking agencies and brands, which is needed in this space to help bring back more trust. Ironically, despite GDPR, we find that the U.S. is way more proactive in implementing and testing new verification tools. U.S. agencies have more choice when it comes to location providers; therefore, they seem to be more interested than the UK in ongoing audits of their suppliers to pick the best ones. Preferred supplier deals and rebates in Europe likely have a part to play in this dynamic as well. Why audit your one preferred partner?

Kristina: Location data is one area that was hit, so to speak, with the GDPR implementation, even for businesses outside the EU. Have you seen changes in how EU businesses use location data? What about the U.S.?  

Mark: We are starting to see more scrutiny from agencies and brands in terms of where the location data is coming from and the consent being given. Some agencies take the view that behavioral-driven audiences are too much of a stretch for consumer consent. However, the reality is that location data is still a dark art for most brands. They rely on what the agencies tell them, who internally get their lead from the location specialists. For this reason, there hasn't been much of a change in uses, but rather a more cautious approach to ad spend/budgets. Personally, I think if the industry was a bit more transparent it would help kick-start the industry again.

Kristina: For marketers that have a presence in the U.S. - which hasn't implemented GDPR regulations - and in the UK - which has implemented regulations - how can they ensure they are using data, and abiding by regulations, correctly in both regions? 

Mark: The key is to understand in detail where your ads are running, the signals being used (GPS or IP/Wi-Fi) and, to some extent, the consent being gained from consumers. Both GDPR in the EU and the California Consumer Privacy Act in the U.S. mean that brands are effectively on the hook for this, so in theory they should want to know the details. However, the reality is that very few brands ask any questions, as they are told with supreme confidence from the supply chain that everything is still perfect. This needs to change, and brands that run a lot of location advertising would ideally do more to learn the intricacies.

Tags: advertising, data trends, digital marketing, ecommerce, GDPR, GDPR update, Location Sciences, UK advertising GDPR

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