Nobody agrees about California’s privacy laws; weeding out dodgy data in 2020; and the enviable position of Facebook.
The new California privacy law has taken effect and notices are popping up on apps and websites that give the individual the option to click on— “Do Not Sell My Personal Information.” But there is still confusion on what that means.
The message depends on how a company interprets the law, as many of the new requirements are so different, and there is general disagreement on how to comply with them. It is an interesting debate and there are extremes in how companies are responding. In regard to the provision of selling data, it applies to companies that exchange data for money or other compensation. Evite, an online invitation service, is giving its customers a chance to opt-out. Whereas, Indeed, a job search engine is telling its customers that want to opt-out to delete their account.
Many major companies have simply chosen to not talk about the new law in California. The law applies to companies that operate in the state but also has national implications because a large company like Microsoft is going to go ahead and apply the provisions to the rest of the country. And, stalled in Congress right now, you also have Federal privacy bills that could override the California law.
A new catch-all term for 2020 will be “data provenance” and it involves the determination of whether data used for tracking is accurate and legitimate.
The attempt to identify dodgy data and separate it from good data has always been a tough proposition. One of the reasons is that the largest data brokers don’t want to disclose their prized assets because it could harm their business in terms of quality. As such, advertisers are susceptible to inaccurate audience segmentation data—including wildly inaccurate foot traffic attribution and spoofed location data that cannot be verified.
But now the industry is staring down the barrel of fines for the illegal collection and processing of data. Especially in the UK, where there is a suspicion that many firms are still playing fast and loose with the rules of GDPR. The UK Information Commissioner’s office is on the warpath of compliance.
Nowadays, says the head of digital at a global advertiser, data transparency is just as important as financial transparency.
So, how can publishers determine the extent the new California law applies to their ad business?
The good news is that the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and other digital ad groups say there is flexibility that will allow publishers the ability to coordinate with ad tech partners to preserve components crucial to digital advertising—primarily being able to measure when an ad has been viewed.
The problem is that ads served to consumers who chose to opt-out could lose their effectiveness and generate reduced revenue. It could also produce less targeting sophistication which diminishes an ad’s value. As for solutions, the industry is going to have to get creative in how they serve ads in order to reach those who agree with the stricter data options. And there are technology options available in form of consent management platforms, which provide a mechanism that gets a handle on visitors who have opted out. More publishers are now choosing contextual advertising—shifting the targeting to what a user is consuming, instead of personal data.
Media analysts are predicting that higher rates to advertise on Facebook will not deter advertisers from buying more ads.
This, of course, is an enviable position to be in. Sort of like the TV Networks used to be— supply and demand kept prices rising even in the wake of fewer gross rating points to buy. Experts thought the ability to simply create more digital inventory would temper the cost. But this hasn’t happened with Facebook.
However, the ability to closely link marketer’s campaigns to specific business outcomes and consumer data provides the necessary ROI for media spending measures. It has such tremendous scale in the digital space that small to mid-sized marketers simply can’t say no.