Following GDPR, ad tech has a PR problem

The drumbeat “ad tech is dead” has risen in intensity and bubbled up from what was an insider conversation to the mainstream media thanks to the roll out of GDPR. Experts questioned the model of many ad tech providers -- pointing to the fact that in order for online advertising to be effective, it needs to be based on personally identifiable information (PII). But the reality is different from the picture that’s been painted. 

GDPR could positively impact the industry by pushing issues that have been swept under the rug up to the forefront. If you’re an ad tech company, here are four ways that you can help combat the industry’s PR problem. 

Highlight Compliance & Proper Use of Data
The best ad tech players in the industry, like Kite Hill PR client Tapad, have been preparing for this rollout and have taken a proactive stance in communicating the impacts, new process and procedures that they’ll employ in the post-GDPR world, including “3 Reasons Why Marketers Should Welcome GDPR.” 

Another Kite Hill PR client Merkle recently voiced a positive perspective on the legislation, explaining that it validates the way marketers are striving to communicate with consumers. Rather than a en masse approach, GDPR enables people-based marketing. 

Deliver Better Ad Experiences
In some ways, the industry created its own issues. Frequently forgetting best practices and letting ads follow uninterested consumers around the internet, burying user terms and conditions so that privacy policies are an afterthought - there’s plenty of no-no’s to highlight. GDPR will help weed bad players out. Companies should now be taking control into their own hands by reviewing how marketers are leveraging their platforms and offering training on how to deliver the optimal experience. We’re well past the John Wanamaker days. Every ad dollar counts and should be put into great creative that reaches the right users.

Demonstrate the Benefits Beyond the Duopoly
The media industry needs ad tech. And ad tech needs media. An unexpected consequence of GDPR’s rollout could be to strengthen the hold that Google has on the marketplace. Google has noted that websites and apps using its ad tech tools must get a user’s consent, while also limiting their use of other ad tech vendors. A more diverse ad tech ecosystem can put the control in the hands of publishers.

Think about What’s Next
In the U.S., there are several laws being proposed that would curb data usage in similar ways to GDPR. In the EU, ePrivacy legislation is also now being debated. ePrivacy would go further than GDPR to curb a company’s ability to use data. Speaking about the potential consequences of these proposed laws offers ad tech companies an opportunity to stand apart from their competitors, and might even play a hand in influencing the likelihood that the laws will be passed.  

The ad tech industry isn’t dead. But it is evolving. Highlight how you are a part of the industry’s evolution to survive.