EU’s new privacy regulations to challenge advertisers

How well do you know the people online you are tracking?

If your company is using third party data then the answer is not well enough — at least so far as the European Union (EU) is concerned.

Soon advertisers lacking a direct relationship and relying on third party data will no longer be able to use the individual data of any of the EU’s 500 million citizens without their explicit consent.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) won’t take effect until May 2018, but its impact on advertisers should not be underestimated. And, according to Stephan Loerke, CEO of the World Federation of Advertisers, the EU rules are likely to become a global standard.

Reporting in AdAge, journalist Emma Hall writes: “Put simply, targeting and tracking companies will need to get user consent somehow. Everything that invisibly follows a user across the internet will, from May 2018, have to pop up and make itself known in order to seek express permission from individuals”.

Companies found to be in breach of the new regulations may be fined as much as four percent of their global revenues. That will include UK businesses, as the UK will still be part of the EU in May 2018 and has said it intends to continue with compliance over the long term.

Why should you care?

No stranger to a good headline, Dr. Johnny Ryan of PageFair (the anti-adblocking company) says the EU regulation has the potential to “rip the digital ecosystem apart”.

While companies like Facebook and Google (which have direct relationships with internet users) won’t be affected, Ryan says that “publishers may finally have the upper hand”. Businesses that “create value only by using data and tracking people across the internet” will be seriously disrupted and “will have to find a way to build a relationship with the customer”.

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About the Author Jeremy Templer

Jeremy is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire. Jeremy has been working in search since 1996, when he joined the Australian search engine, LookSmart. After relocating to San Francisco, he was instrumental in the development of the company’s paid search ad platform. At analytics company Coremetrics (now owned by IBM) he established an in-house search agency managing campaigns for Coremetrics clients such as Macy’s, Bass Pro and Lands End. At Acxiom he managed members of the pioneering SEO firm Marketleap and worked with clients such as Capital One, American General Finance and Kaiser Health. Joining SureFire in 2009, he is the head of Paid Search Advertising and oversees the delivery of AdWords and other PPC campaigns. He also helps clients make sense of their website data.