- Isobar, a digital agency owned by Dentsu Aegis, is planning to introduce a conslutancy focused on the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to help its clients comply with the privacy laws set to go into effect on May 25, Digiday reported. Isobar's clients include Coca-Cola, Adidas, Enterprise, Procter & Gamble, Philips and Huawei.
- Executives at two large digital ad agencies, requesting anonymity in the Digiday report, said their firms are also creating services related to GDPR. Other examples include IPG, which has trained 200 "GDPR Champions" at its European agencies to help clients understand the regulations; and the marketing agency Marcus Thomas, which is counseling clients on GDPR compliance but not offering legal advice or specialized services.
- There's still a lot of confusion and uncertainty about what GDPR will mean for marketers, and analysts predict that that confusion will continue for as long as several years. The potential limits put on ad targeting could cause marketers to waste ad dollars, for example. It's unclear what services agencies like Isobar and IPG will actually offer since there's no GDPR expert designation, per Digiday.
GDPR, a looming and labyrinthian law that will impose potentially steep fines on non-compliant companies, is also presenting an opportunity for traditional ad agencies to lend their expertise in an area where many brand clients might be scrambling to catch up. GDPR rules demand internet companies receive informed consent for any online data they collect from European consumers, but how strictly that will be enforced and on what timeline remains somewhat murky. But as the Digiday report suggests, what exactly these agencies will offer is similarly murky, and a deluge of consultancy services focused on GDPR could lead to a crowded marketplace.
Regardless, GDPR is set to seriously disrupt the marketing industry. Beyond protecting consumers' data, it's viewed by many as a means to potentially limit the power of major digital advertising and technology platforms like Google and Facebook. However, as the May 25 deadline approaches, it's become apparent that the rules could have the opposite affect and actually stifle ad tech competition. Google and Facebook can more easily implement large-scale, sophisticated GDPR solutions and have name recognition with users that smaller firms do not when achieving compliance.
Some publishers are pushing back, concerned that GDPR will limit their ability to sell targeted ads, which will essentially force them to turn to Facebook and Google. German media giant Axel Springer, which owns brands like Business Insider, recently partnered with AppNexus to endorse the IAB Transparency and Consent Framework for GDPR implementation. Google has said it will support non-targeted ads to comply with GDPR, and Facebook, which plans to extend its GDPR policies worldwide, will ask users to review and verify information about how it uses their data and how they give permission to the platform to target ads.