Everything That’s Old Is New Again

Susan Bidel
Susan Bidel
Senior Analyst
May 9, 2018

GDPR, the new data privacy regulations applicable to all marketers doing business with citizens of the European Union, will take effect later this month, on May 25, 2018. In preparation, Google is changing its terms of service for advertising partners. On April 27, the company let its European platform customers know that, as of that date, access to their DoubleClick IDs when leveraging Google’s data transfer service would no longer be available. The same restriction will apply globally eventually, Google said.

This is the latest in a series of policy shifts that Google has announced under the guise of compliance with GDPR that reinforce the exclusive nature of their walled garden and, given the size of Google’s footprint, effectively alter the digital media buying landscape. These announcements raise issues that Forrester analysts will address by blog in the coming days. Among them:

  • Attribution. Attribution has been set back in time, 10 years at least. Now, as then, marketers will be unable to measure, compare, and contrast the effectiveness of their media buys across the variety of tools, platforms, and channels that they use. Left with only Google’s Ads Data Hub as a measurement resource for buys executed through Google, the height of the wall around this particular garden just got that much higher. Tina Moffett and Jim Nail will expand on this troublesome question.
  • Behavioral targeting. Just as marketers are poised to fully embrace omnichannel advertising for brand advertising as well as direct response, their ability to use data to hone in on their best prospects has been severely limited. Will they see this as an enforced A/B test and adopt a bifurcated strategy by complying with European restrictions wherever necessary while maxing out their ability to target elsewhere? Fatemeh Khatibloo, Forrester’s data privacy specialist, will address this issue.
  • Consumerized B2B strategies. B2B marketers have observed that their customers are acting more like consumers every day and have adopted B2C strategies to reach them accordingly. For them, GDPR is a double whammy. B2B enterprises must comply with GDPR throughout their traditional marketing organization and with all the B2C tools they’ve recently adopted. Lori Wizdo explored the impact of GDPR on all of B2B marketing in her recent blog: “The GDPR and The B2B Marketer: Ready or Not, Here I Come.”
  • Publishers. Like all other entities with direct, one-to-one relationships with consumers, publishers will have to obtain consent from those consumers to comply with GDPR. Google, which regards itself as a processor of publisher data but not responsible for it, has a product in beta called Funding Choices that is intended to help publishers gain consent. Funding Choices limits the number of partners a publisher can share that consumer data with, which presents a challenge to media companies with complicated supply chains. I will be blogging on this and other implications for publishers of GDPR.
  • Search. Innovations in paid search targeting, such as Google Customer Match and retargeting lists for search ads (RLSA), will be affected by GDPR as marketers will need consent from those customers before uploading those lists to target searchers. Search will be largely unscathed by GDPR outside of those targeting capabilities. In fact, it’s possible that search, which Google dominates, may benefit by picking up additional share of marketing budgets from channels where GDPR will be more impactful. Collin Colburn will be writing on search in the days to come.

Thanks to Tina Moffett, Jim Nail, Fatemeh Khatibloo, Lori Wizdo, and Collin Colburn for contributing to this post. Full disclosure: Forrester asked for time with Google to explore these and other questions, but we have not had a reply.

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