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Posts from the ‘technology’ Category

A Layperson’s Guide to GDPR

June 13, 2018




If you are a marketer, publisher or digital business, GDPR probably makes you shutter. For the rest of you, it probably makes you shrug. Let’s quickly break it down, in plain English.

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new regulation governing data protection and privacy in the European Union (EU). It went into effect Friday, May 25, 2018. Its goal is to give citizens more control over how their data is used. In the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica debacle, that’s a mission most people can get behind. But for marketers, publishers and vendors, it entails radical and expensive changes.

Even companies that are based outside of the EU have to abide by the new laws if they are offering good or services to EU citizens. That basically means every business in the world scrambled to become GDPR compliant.

What did GDPR change?

GDPR mandates that businesses be upfront about how they are using consumer data. If they are selling it to third-parties or using it for digital ad targeting, they need to tell you. Then, they have to obtain your consent. If a consumer doesn’t want their personal data used in a certain way, they can opt-out. GDPR also requires organizations that handle sensitive data on a large scale to appoint a data protection officer. Failure to comply results in massive fines, possibly as much as four percent of a company’s annual revenue.

There is a lot more to it then that. I have ghostwritten at least five articles about GDPR, but I still can’t pretend to know all the details. If you are really interested (or a masochist), read all about GDPR here.

To prepare for GDPR, companies leaned on their in-house legal counsel or hired outside experts. They often had to make massive changes to their privacy policies, compliance processes and in some cases, overhaul the way they use and store data, which can have massive implications for a business.

As a consumer, you probably noticed you received a lot of emails about updated privacy policies on or around 5/25, and that a lot of websites are serving popups with messages about how they use data.

What happens post-GDPR?

Execs around the world did a happy dance post 5/25. I don’t blame them, but at the risk of being a buzzkill, experts predict GDPR-related fallout as the industry adjusts to the legislation. Complaints have already been filed, and the finger-pointing has already begun. Some fear that GDPR will only strengthen the digital advertising duopoly, Google and Facebook, since smaller companies may not be able to afford the necessary changes, or to weather hefty fines.

Oh, and more changes are imminent. The ePrivacy regulation is in the works in Europe and US legislators are discussing the merits of the CONSENT Act, short for the Customer Online Notification for Stopping Edge-provider Network Transgressions act  (Now doesn’t that roll off the tongue?)

So, there you have it–an abbreviated overview of every marketer’s least favorite four-letter word, GDPR.

By Jacqueline Lisk

Photo cred:


Content roundup: Mobile ad spending on the rise

August 31, 2015


An increasing number of advertisers are spending more of their ad budgets on mobile marketing tactics. This trend is a logical result of changing user behaviors. As marketers, it’s our job to be where the people are, and more people are spending more time on their mobile devices. In January 2014, for the first time, Americans used smartphones and tablets more often than desktops to connect to the Internet, according to comScore. Here are some useful articles to help you understand the future of mobile advertising.

1. Mobile to account for more than half of digital ad spending in 2015, eMarketer

This year, mobile spending will surpass desktop spending for the first time. eMarketer shares its recent research on the shift. Read it here.

2. Programmatic and RTB

Programmatic ad buying affords its adopters a host of benefits, including increased efficiency, cost savings, transparency and targeting abilities. It has implications beyond mobile, but it’s particularly interesting to watch these trends converge.

  • Digiday explains programmatic in layman’s terms. Read it here.
  • Acquity’s blog post breaks down RTB in a way that’s easy to understand. Read it here.
  • Business Insider summarizes its comprehensive report on programmatic buying. Read it here.

3. The future of digital advertising: Mobile, programmatic and native

MoPub’s guest blog for Audience Science explains how these tactics come together to offer superior results for advertisers. (In full disclosure, JR Lisk helped MoPub with this piece!) Read it here.

Have an article recommendation? Let us know on Twitter @jlisk1

Photo Source: Union Square Media

Digital ad fraud: What’s the deal with bots?

February 5, 2015


This past December, the Association of National Advertisers and White Ops, Inc. released a 50-plus page report on bot fraud in digital advertising. (Bots are web robots—software programs that masquerade as people by performing automated online tasks.) Their research found that bots are everywhere, visiting real sites created by real companies. These bots “inflated the monetized audiences at those sites by 5 to 50 percent.”

Bottom line: marketers are all too often paying for ads that aren’t actually seen by human beings. In fact, global advertisers will lose $6.3 billion in 2015 to bots.

Below are a few important findings from the report to help you understand and ultimately, minimize bot-related fraud:

  • Bots are most active at night
  • Bot activity accounted for 11 percent of all display impressions observed by the study
  • Third-party trafficking accounted for 52 percent of bot fraud
  • Video inventory contained nearly twice the percentage of bot fraud
  • Older browsers are more susceptible to bots
  • Even premium ad spaces aren’t immune from bots

As an industry, the first step in combating the issue is acknowledging the problem. The report did a fantastic job of suggesting practical solutions, which included monitoring for the fraud and authorizing third-party validation technology. Encouragingly, bot traffic percentages can actually drop when the bot supplier (remember, there is a real life criminal behind those bots) becomes aware of the increased scrutiny.

There’s no silver bullet, but all parties—marketers, publishers, tech companies, etc.–must work together to raise awareness about the issue and to collaboratively fight those bots.

Download the report here:

What do you think can be done to minimize bot-related ad fraud?  Tell us what you think.