Data Protection Day 2024: Adtechs on the way ahead

data-protection-day-2024-original-Image by Robinraj Premchand from Pixabay

This year’s Data Protection Day 2024 takes place on Sunday 28 January, marking the 18th year since it was first introduced by the European Union.

This year the main theme is control with much time being devoted to the issue of consumers finally taking control of their data.

But what will it all mean for the marketing, adtech and advertising sector?

Here, our leading lights give their take on how things stand…

Rob-Sewell-CEO-SmartFrame-Technologies-1Rob Sewell, CEO, SmartFrame

“When it comes to data privacy, brands must be especially aware of growing concerns around generative AI solutions, namely how copyrighted content collected without consent is included in the datasets these tools are trained on.

“While data legislation such as GDPR, the Digital Services Act, and the AI Act aim to tackle these issues, many instances of unethical data use still fall under the radar as the industry works towards standardisation.

“In the meantime, the onus is on the brands themselves to drive best practices by ensuring transparency and fairness throughout their data collection and processing, fostering a more trustworthy ecosystem for their customers and stakeholders.

“This is increasingly achieved by embracing diligent checks and risk assessments at every step of the data handling process.”

Suzanna-Chaplin-CEO-esbconnectSuzanna Chaplin, CEO, esbconnect

“The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK’s principal data protection authority. It is playing an increasingly prominent role in adtech regulation, and how the digital advertising industry uses personal data.

“Recently, the ICO has not been making a lot of friends within the sector. A lack of clarity on its guidance, and inconsistency in the information it has provided, has left many in the digital advertising world feeling at best unsupported, and at worst unfairly fined.

“However, the ICO has released a new strategy – called ICO25 – which aims to bring a new focus to its messaging, guidance and support.

“It has also reevaluated how fines will be levied, only issuing financial penalties when harm has been caused or malicious intent is clear.

“The ICO believes its new strategy can save businesses more than £100m through greater certainty and more targeted support, which is a boost for the industry as we get into 2024.”

Lauren-Wetzel-infosumLauren Wetzel, COO, InfoSum

“With so many organisations pushing their privacy credentials as a selling point, those that are merely paying lip service will be quickly exposed.

“Research shows that more people than ever are taking control of their data by exercising their Data Subject Access Rights and turning their backs on businesses that don’t have adequate data practices and policies.

“Any organisation that makes claims about how ‘privacy-centric’ or ‘privacy-first’ it is must put words into practice.

“It’s not enough to simply talk the talk; firms must take solid action when it comes to satisfying regulators and protecting customers or risk the wrath of both.

“While businesses should be upfront with customers about what data they collect and why, the best way to protect this data is to never share it.

“While legacy marketing practices involved passing customer data between multiple parties, brands are beginning to tap into the potential of first-party data strategies and trusted collaborations with media partners that don’t expose any consumer data.

“Those businesses that can hone and perfect these strategies will demonstrate that they walk the walk when it comes to privacy.

“Not only will they stay ahead of fast-evolving privacy regulations and maintain strong relationships with customers, but they’ll have developed future-proof marketing practices that can provide a foundation for success for years to come.”

evgeny_popov_verveEvgeny (Ev) Popov, EVP & GM International, Verve Group

“In the first Data Privacy Day since AI became mainstream, it’s crucial that we make progress on establishing the ethical management of this transformative technology.

“Reaping the rewards of AI’s potential while navigating a minefield of potential harms requires guidelines to root out biases, protect privacy, and ensure transparency.

“Ethical AI fosters trust, which will be hard won after years of digital platforms being far too comfortable getting “hands-on” with personal data.

“Data ethics are tied closely to AI ethics, and we must resolve growing concerns around data privacy before going all-in on AI, or risk building new infrastructure on shaky foundations.

“Expect to see a continued shift towards first and zero-party data collection, where informed consent around its collection and use — including machine learning models and training data — can be established and maintained.

“The tech world cannot afford to take its usual “move fast and break things” approach when it comes to AI.”

Elliot-Hill-VeraViews.jpgElliot Hill, Consultant CMO, Verasity and VeraViews

“In today’s world, data privacy is at the forefront of industry and regulatory challenges worldwide – with more users aware of the implications of their data being collected and stored by advertisers and agencies than ever before.

“A move towards greater privacy protections in the post-cookie world is a great step forward, but there are concerns it could make it harder to build and track profiles of genuine consumers and make it easier for fraudsters and bots to conceal their identity.

“We believe one solution to this is browser-level integrations of anti-fraud and customer verification tools, that verifies a user is real without collecting and storing their data, or utilising cookies.”

Husna-GrimesHusna Grimes, VP of Global Privacy, Permutive

“Consumer demands for more control over their privacy has led them to opt out of sharing data online and use cookie-blockers on their browsers.

“The upshot of this is that advertising addressability on the open web now sits at just 30%. Advertisers and publishers alike need to be working together to overcome this, without losing out on privacy or revenue.

“Fortunately for the industry, publishers are able to fill the data gap of lost user-level data.

“The behavioural, lifestyle, and demographic signals they have access to through their first-party, consented relationships with users allow their advertiser partners to target without the need for third-party cookies.

“Forming more direct relationships with advertisers is a strategy many publishers are focused on this year, as a way to capitalise on privacy, as well as maximise revenue.

“In fact, 58% of respondents to a recent Permutive and Digiday survey stated that they expect 41% or more of their 2024 ad revenue to come from direct-sold deals.

“Data Privacy Day provides a timely reminder that advertisers, publishers, and adtech providers must collaborate to respect consumer privacy while protecting reach and revenue.”

Dr-Jochen-SchlosserJochen Schlosser, Chief Technology Officer, Adform

“If it wasn’t already overwhelmingly clear by Google finally pulling the trigger on cookieless, brands must take this Data Protection Day as high time to tighten up processes.

“Indeed, they can no longer afford to drag their feet when it comes to leveraging solutions and adhering to frameworks that can support them through the evolving privacy landscape.

“Facing down the fragmentation of the media landscape, precipitated by new channels and various privacy laws coming into force, brands will need to make sure they are grappling effectively with the growing list of requirements, or face significant fines.

“This means holding themselves more accountable, and prioritising means of transacting data while upholding consumer privacy and trust.

“In terms of actions, brands must make the switch to high-quality, first-party solutions and investigate available technologies that can tackle the challenges and opportunities of the multi-ID world.

“In particular, those that can target addressable audiences across environments and which are built with privacy by design.

“Alongside being sustainable from a data protection point of view, this will crucially enable brands to change the game and take back control of media investments.”

Jaysen GillespieJaysen Gillespie, Head of Analytics & Data Science, RTB House

“Data Privacy Day reminds marketers across the world that they are finally being forced to confront an inconvenient truth: at least some of their sales have been fuelled by data products that don’t fully respect end user privacy.

 “The final nail in the coffin for the stealth data-aggregation industry is Google’s deprecation of the third-party cookie, which began successfully at the start of the year.

“As a company headquartered in Europe, and deeply invested in playing a role in the future of privacy standards and regulation creation, we know that marketers must start to look towards cookieless solutions.

“These tools will be what carries the industry forward in the coming months.

“One of these options is Google’s Privacy Sandbox. This is a technical tour de force that enables the power of personalized marketing while keeping user-level data private.

“We anticipate strong adoption across both advertisers and publishers as the death of third-party cookies in Chrome becomes a reality.”

Beatrice-bottiBeatrice Botti, VP, Chief Privacy Officer, DoubleVerify

“As the privacy landscape continues to evolve, propelled by new regulations and technological advances, 2024’s Data Protection Day will inevitably hold greater resonance than in previous years.

“Privacy can be approached as a compliance obligation, or it can be embraced as an opportunity to stay ahead of the curve and lead the conversation as laws and best practices evolve.

“Indeed, as new laws are enacted and privacy continues to be a leading topic in technology and beyond, consumer awareness of individual privacy rights is growing.

“By shifting the focus from mere compliance to investing in transparency and accessibility, businesses can build a successful and mature privacy programme, fostering consumer and stakeholder trust, as well as becoming a building block for the organisation’s overall success.

“Education meanwhile continues to play a crucial step in bridging these gaps in knowledge.”

Raphael Rodier, CRO Global, OguryRaphael Rodier, Global Chief Revenue Officer, Ogury

The paradigm has well and truly shifted when it comes to data privacy. No longer something that hides in the small print, consumers are increasingly aware of the value of their data and the rights they hold.

“It is not just lawmakers that have responded to this shift, but global brands as well.

“Google’s decision to shutter the third-party cookie is arguably the clearest signal that we have now entered an era where data privacy is prioritised for consumers.

“Advertisers can no longer fight this shift and those who have not already prepared, run the risk of falling further behind.

“By embracing privacy-first solutions, advertisers will not only continue to reach their target audiences, but will also stay one step ahead of any incoming privacy developments.

Julie RooneyJulie Rooney, Dep. Gen. Counsel & Head of US Privacy, OpenX

“Given the continuously evolving privacy regulations around the world, it’s incumbent on all organisations to review not only their own privacy practices, but those of their partners.

“Businesses need to understand the big picture around privacy flows in order to create effective internal processes.”

“The changes in legislation coming in 2024 will cause meaningful shifts in how programmatic advertising functions. Rather than viewing this as a threat, the privacy shift represents a massive opportunity.

“Developing privacy-compliant solutions can be a point of differentiation. Brands are looking for new ways to reach their audience while being respectful of consumer privacy.

“Vendors with effective, future-proofed technologies will have a competitive edge.”

“As we get closer to a world without cookies, advertisers will be looking to form new partnerships that enable them to test various solutions that effectively target audiences and measure campaign performance.”

greg-endeanGreg Endean, Commercial Director, EMEA, Beeswax

“With consumer data privacy at the forefront of marketers’ minds, having greater access to automation and advanced data-driven technology will profoundly shape the way they approach their audiences.

“Those who continue to invest in privacy preserving capabilities, transparency, user anonymity and control will have a smoother path as the third-party cookie continues to deprecate.

“Leveraging data to reach the right audiences will always be the bedrock for marketers, and the ability to meet brand needs in a new regulated landscape will make such targeting even more potent.”

Anoop-RamachandranAnoop Ramachandran, CTO, Preciso

“The death of the cookie has come to symbolise the dawn of a new era in digital advertising, and the need to protect consumer data is changing wholesale how the industry goes about targeting audiences.

“Ultimately, this is great news for programmatic advertising (which always benefits from an extra dose of transparency), and there’s no doubt that this new emphasis on privacy will profit both the industry and consumer.

“Contextual advertising is a privacy-centric ad targeting solution that will prove increasingly popular.

“Contextual ads target consumers based on signals that understand the frame of mind a person is in as they view a webpage, and displays an ad that resonates with their mood. It’s entirely privacy-safe, and proving highly effective at producing engaging campaigns.

“Any provider or solution that has consented access to first-party data will also thrive in this privacy-first era.

“Whether that’s a publisher that can use its understanding of its audience to provide an improved advertising experience, or an email advertising platform that can help boost omnichannel targeting, there’s much to be excited about in this new era for digital advertising.”

sarah-vincentSara Vincent, Managing Director, UK, Utiq 

“It’s Data Protection & Privacy Day on 28th Jan. How should brands, publishers and the ad tech ecosystem be approaching the issue of data privacy to ensure that consumers’ best interests are served?

“Putting privacy front and centre of business decisions will ensure that consumers’ best interests are served. This doesn’t have to be at the cost of sales or business growth; the two can co-exist.

“Privacy should be a default setting, not a service or optional.

“Users who feel they have control will be more receptive to the value exchange of consent for access to free, open, quality journalism.

“Privacy regulations are only evolving; there will be more regulation in our space in the coming years. Privacy regulators are starting to monitor adherence and compliance across parties in the ecosystem, it’s better to get ahead of this and take a responsible step of privacy-first, by design.

Luke-Fenney-LiveRampLuke Fenney, VP Addressability & Ecosystem, EMEA and LATAM, LiveRamp

“With Google having taken the first step in its phaseout of third-party cookies this month, Data Protection Day has never been more relevant for the three main stakeholders in the open web – users, publishers, and advertisers.

“Consumers are increasingly aware of the importance of data privacy and the rights they have to protect their data but still expect seamless omnichannel experiences.

“This means brands must prioritise personalisation and privacy in equal measure. Those who have not yet placed these pillars at the heart of their consumer-facing strategies will need to act swiftly or be swept aside.

“There are actions brands can take today to ensure they’re doing this. Firstly, the Data Protection Officers (DPOs) and the privacy team must be given agency.

“They are the ones best able to keep the business abreast of the evolving data privacy landscape, and can recommend the most efficient and privacy-centric means of using data for campaign targeting, audience building, and more.

“This includes leveraging the gold standard of inventory: authenticated audiences. The privacy team can also help to build consumer trust, through being transparent about what data is being collected and consumers’ right to opt out.

“Likewise, they can regularly audit their datasets to make sure that policies are always complied with.”

“Brands who have already taken these steps will be well-placed to not only navigate the evolving privacy landscape but also build new value by strengthening relations with their consumers.”