After the GDPR comes ePrivacy: What does this add to existing data protection?
Further regulations will be added to the existing provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation which affect the digital economy first and foremost. We do not yet know exactly what these will look like, as the text of the regulation has not yet been finalized. But it is certain that future regulations will lead to an even stronger focus on obtaining opt-ins. This will probably result in a further expansion of log-in and platform structures.
How can companies prepare for this?
It is important not to see the disruption caused by the ePrivacy Regulation as a threat, but as an opportunity.
Why as an opportunity?
ePrivacy enables us to meet consumers at eye level when it comes to data issues and thus build up an equal relationship with them. However, the data protection-friendly redesign of existing business models and the development of new ones must play a central role. Specialized task forces should be assembled in good time, technical and legal advisors should be brought on board, processes and products should be analyzed and optimized, and existing business models should be modified if necessary.
That sounds like a lot of work. What impact do both regulations have on the advertising industry?
We had to critically question our handling of consumer data, and will have to do so even more in the future. Do we collect more data than we need? Do we offer consumers sufficient transparency as to what their data are used for? These are questions and challenges that the entire value chain has to face. In this respect, no individual player can be singled out – everyone has an obligation. However, the European regulator should take care to ensure that the ePrivacy Regulation does not lead to an excessive preference for the major American players. The current draft provides for exactly that.
To what extent does this benefit the consumer?
Consumers, but also advertisers and the advertising industry, always benefit when consumers gain more transparency and control over the use of their data on the one hand, and when the exercising of this control is not made more difficult by regulations that patronize consumers on the other. In this respect, the tie-in ban could turn out to be disadvantageous for consumers in the long term if premium content disappears behind paywalls, since publishers can no longer sufficiently monetize their advertising inventory. It is therefore important that consumers are transparently shown their options, including the consequences, so that they can make the decisions that are right for them in an informed manner.
In the long run: Are the data protection regulations positive or negative for the industry?
It is regrettable that the digital economy itself has not managed to offer consumers a sufficient degree of transparency and control over the use of their data through responsible self-regulation. This is precisely why we as an industry should see the new regulations as an opportunity to create confidence-building measures that lead to a more trusting approach to advertising communication by consumers.
Can more trust in digital marketing be built up in this way?
Trust is and will remain the basis of all successful communication. If we succeed in regaining lost trust in this way, this will be a major win for the industry. If this is successful, there is the opportunity to establish new and above all sustainable digital business models. If properly applied, the regained trust of users makes it possible to establish digital and sustainable business models. From the consumer’s perspective, too, the advantages will outweigh in the long term, on the basis of greater transparency, self-control and a feeling of security. But there is a strategic risk for Europeans in international competition with the USA, since the ePrivacy Regulation in particular supports dependence on the dominant US platforms.
You can learn more about the GDPR and ePrivacy in the panels “Taking stock – the impact of Europe´s new data protection ruels four months on” and “Customer Centricity Everywhere? The Impact of First Party Data on Advertising” on September 13 on the Debate Stage.