How Can GDPR Help You Monetise on Data?

With GDPR at the gates (May 2018) Lawyer monthly hears from Andrea Tricoli at Expressly on the opportunities available for monetising on the regulation, as opposed to letting it damage your business.

We live in the Age of Disruption, so it never ceases to amaze me when marketers, of all people, have a knee-jerk reaction to any new legislation.

Rule number 1 of marketing: look for an opportunity in every problem.

Yes, preparing for the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) is going to cause some pain. But, if you take the trouble to think it through, you’ll see GDPR is actually a fantastic opportunity.

Yes, I do firmly believe this.

Whatever side of the Great Brexit debate you stand, Brussels has got it spot on with GDPR. And the UK government agrees to the extent that it has confirmed that GDPR will be part of UK law regardless of the Brexit outcome.

And we can sum up the big benefit in one word.


The Opportunity

With the advent of the GDPR, digital marketing organisations so far side-lined by the Duopoly have the opportunity to regain a central role, and monetise their user relationships and user data better.

The opportunity to:

– Re-establish user-publisher and user-brand relationships;

– Renew user trust in digital advertising by companies that embrace the spirit of GDPR;

– Renew trust in brands and punish frauds by starving them of engagement;

– Foster a better distribution of the value created, to benefit original content creators, and their relationships with users.

Direct and trusted user-publisher relationships are the best way to solve another issue in the current system of secret underworld: too may impressions, too many clicks are fraudulent. Advertisers pay for a system that all too often places their communication in front of eyes of robots. A publisher that knows their users can ensure their communication is seen by real people.

More trust from advertisers, and less reliance on third-party trackers and fraud-prevention mechanisms, in turn can give back importance to direct relationships between advertisers and publishers as well – with the opportunity of reducing the slice of value captured by intermediaries A recent report by Campaignlive highlighted how much agencies were clipping from their clients – in some cases, up to 70%. When you combine these so-called “tech taxes” to the Google/Facebook squeeze it shows how broken the current system is.

In a nutshell, GDPR, by placing data control back in the hands of users, can give new strength to publishers – our very source of critical news and original content – and away from the duopoly, with renewed trust across the entire ecosystem.

Future publisher revenues will be totally tied to building a proprietary database of customers who you are engaged with directly, on a personal basis.

As I stated at the beginning, I believe this engagement will come through developing trust.

How to miss the opportunity: the compliance-only approach

Unfortunately, organisations can easily miss this opportunity by only paying lip service to the legislation and not embracing the spirit of GDPR.

Adapting to comply with GDPR will require some pain and effort, but can be done with a “strictly-necessary” mindset. Companies can identify a data protection officer, ask for opt-in consent from users, and ensure that they follow the letter of the law.

The industry can miss it too. The ‘secret underworld’ of companies tracking us and placing cookies in our browsers could continue operating as they do today, after finding out how to obtain consumer consent. It’s not too hard to imagine long opt-in forms that users will skim through and consent to – even annoyed by an additional piece of bureaucracy originally intended to protect them.

However, I firmly believe that publishers can tilt the current equilibrium and acquire a new, central role in the digital marketing ecosystem – getting a bigger share of the pie, and more resources to invest in better original content, such as news and critical information.

It’s time to start building direct, human relationships online, and make them the centre of digital advertising: more power and value to content creators, more control and trust for users, more relevance and trust for brands.

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