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Five ways online advertising is changing with ICO regulations

“The GDPR applies to all sectors and adtech is no exception. We understand that real change is challenging, but real change is what is needed”. The ICO has been clear and definitive in its guidance, and anyone not currently adapting their online advertising methods is in danger of infringement. Guy O’Brien discusses these changes.


new regulations

, surrounding using customers’ information “in a way that is respectful, lawful, transparent and secure” online will usher in (much needed) change not just to the digital landscape as we know it, but to the currency of programmatic advertising placement. 

The currency is currently data. Whether you’re buying it or selling it, the end goal is to have the best in class that represents the audience profile your message should be reaching.

1. A return to specialisms

As we reach the era of full consent, it will be increasingly hard for marketers to target

third party data audiences

, particularly doing so at scale. Even reaching niche audiences will require a change of approach.

B2B marketing has always relied on specialist knowledge. This will become increasingly important as those with in-depth sector and market knowledge will have a distinct advantage. Audience, landscape, channels, context and content expertise will be critical. 

2. Changes at agency-level

Agencies are more under the spotlight than ever, and sometimes, for a good reason. However, as these human skillsets become more relevant to online advertising, communications, creative and

media planning

will become even more vital to executing campaigns effectively.

This is when great, specialist agencies can offer holistic planning will come into their own.

3. Context and environment are all-important

The environment and context of online

advertising placement

will become pivotal to delivering high performance. 

Tools and tech have been developed to help with context and environment when targeting advertising online. However, we have found that results are hugely improved by customising the approach and drawing on expertise, specialism, knowledge and insight to ensure context and environment fully align with the audience’s journey. 

4. Different models will emerge

The traditional cookie data landscape is completely changing and tech providers are having to move very quickly to maintain relevance and deliver a product or service fit for purpose and one that delivers the scale and performance brands have come to expect.

Premium publishers, those that readers or viewers actively seek out and have strong relationships with, should also see a boost in adverts being placed directly. This can still be delivered through programmatic.

5. The rise of management consultancies

Not for the first time, management consultancies will be eyeing an opportunity. 

So many businesses rely on their digital capabilities to deliver outstanding ROI that if this is suddenly put at risk the rest of the business has to be able to realign to develop new models that can react.

Whether or not the ICO rulings will be fully implemented remains to be seen, but what is clear is that those who have already started evolving their models in light of these changes are the most likely to benefit. 

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