GDPR: Bringing the industry together for change


In the programmatic industry, as with most industries involving any sort of consumer communications, Friday May 25, 2018, will forever be known as GDPR Day. At dataxu, three years of planning and cross-functional work went into the preparation for the GDPR implementation day. And it was with a mixture of anticipation and, perhaps, relief that the team came into work on Friday morning to see how the new General Data Protection Regulation in Europe had affected campaigns running through the TouchPoint™ platform.

While it is still early, and we continue to be vigilant, we’re thrilled that the first results from the platform show that we are receiving consent for around 50% of available impressions. And that number is still climbing. Additionally, our decisioning engine continues to optimize so that campaign performance has been unaffected.

The key to this success? Collaboration.

The road to GDPR compliance

The nature of the GDPR means that it has been far from easy to both predict its effect and plan for compliance. Various predictions were given around the number of consumers who would actively consent, remove consent, or just do nothing at all. Debates were held about which legal bases could be used for data collection. The industry ended up edging forward cautiously and sometimes it felt like two steps forward, one step backward as legal teams across both the buy- and sell-sides interpreted the various clauses and analyzed potential business impact.

The new law saw internet giants such as Google and Facebook attempt to use their power to influence the outcome in a way that best suited them. But this time the rest of the industry put its foot down. Google did a U-turn at the last minute and is now integrating DBM with the IAB Technical Consent Framework, but too late—and advertisers are seeing disruption to their campaigns in the interim.

A collaborative industry

Meanwhile, I was proud to see a subset of the independent network of ad tech vendors come together collaboratively to meet consumer wishes about data privacy while ensuring the advertising industry is impacted as little as possible. This value placed on transparency and ethical behavior enforced by GDPR has always been at the heart of dataxu’s business, and it’s great to see the industry working together and changing for the better.

At dataxu, we’re thankful for the hard work, diligence, and collaboration of our cross-functional task force dedicated to GDPR, Team Voltron, whose commitment to the EU public’s privacy concerns, and to our customers, has shone through. It’s no mean feat coordinating efforts across engineering, product, legal, marketing, and account management as well as across time zones and cultures. But as the saying goes, nothing worth having comes easily.

We will continue to monitor for changes in campaign performance following the new regulation, and help our customers maximize the value from their advertising investments.