GDPR in AdTech 1 Year On: What’s Changed?

GDPR- 1 year on_NBG


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The lead up to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25, 2018, was akin to previous looming deadlines like the Y2k bug. The anxious anticipation and speculations set the industry on fire: GDPR-themed blog posts, articles, analyses, predictions started spreading like wildfire.

In the weeks and months leading up to the enforcement date, there were theories that the GDPR would end targeted online advertising, companies were scrambling to ensure their contact lists were GDPR compliant (remember all those opt-in emails?), and AdTech was bracing for the unknown.

Now that the GDPR has been enforced for a year, we have the benefit of hindsight. Was the hysteria justified? Did the GDPR impact AdTech the way everyone thought it would?

To answer these questions, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular news stories that circulated before the GDPR, on the day of enforcement, and life since then. This gives an idea of how much stir the GDPR caused when it was finally introduced – but also how much was speculated about it way before the (G)D-Day.

The Leadup To the GDPR

Before GDPR kicked in, the excitement was building up, although little was known about what was actually round the corner for AdTech.

Then, the general sentiment around the web was that companies were not prepared for the new law. One of the reasons for that was that the GDPR was intended to affect all non-EU based businesses processing EU residents’ data in the same way as it would affect EU-based companies.

As the GDPR was slowly looming into view and the enforcement date was mere weeks away, there was clearly a better understanding of the regulation in the industry, and more specific analyses started surfacing around the web.

The closer the enforcement day, the more specific were the ideas as to how a GDPR-compliant consent collection should look and how consents should be managed

The GDPR fever spurred speculations about what getting, storing and managing user consent would look like from the technical perspective before a single consent box saw the light of day.

Enforcement Day, May 25, 2018

Here are a few stories that the AdTech industry saw when the day (May 25, 2018) finally arrived:

AdTech In a Post-GDPR World

In the days, weeks, and months after the enforcement date, there were a number of news stories about topics we all expected to read about, and some that we didn’t:

What the future holds of AdTech in a post-GDPR world?

While the enforcement of the GDPR didn’t result in the doomsday scenario like many clickworthy headlines prophesied, there’s certainly been many investigations by various European DPAs. We already seen Google receive their first GDPR-related fine and we’ll likely see other companies face a similar fate.

But the GDPR is only one area that AdTech companies, agencies, brands, and publishers have to worry about. The introduction of Apple’s ITP in Safari and Google Chrome’s changes to third-party cookies will likely have a bigger impact on AdTech companies as these are technical changes with immediate and direct impact, rather than policies that should be implemented, but can be easily ignored.

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