Wasn't the purpose of an advertisement to inspire us, create an experience and feeling that we won't possess the advertised product we perceive at that very moment. With the evolution of advertising from printable to linear TV and digital ads, we have done one thing besides all the complicated metrics: We have created a highly complex and sprawling advertising marketplace. With digital ads, we tried to shift from a channel-based approach to a multi-channel one and then with an omnichannel perspective wanting to address the consumer at the right time, the place with the ideal message. And all that fueled with data.

Data Ethics

Data has been unethically collected through millions of online visitors every day, hour, second without knowing that they are tracked and put into buckets called audience segments for future targeting strategies. Or to remind you of a product you probably already own or engaged with online but are not really interested in anymore. We have tried to be smart with data and monetized it by selling data audience segments without knowing if they work in other technical territories, claiming to activate data-driven campaigns. But what about the web user being unconsciously tracked. Before data regulations launched like GDPR or CCPA, every interaction on the web would feed multiple data collectors on the media buying and sell-side who would sell these data sets or use them to target defined audience groups, breaching the privacy of the individual.

Enlightenment

I am not saying we should not use data; of course not. Data is incredibly  essential to deliver advertising efficiently, effectively and creatively. But we cheated on those who ultimately consume products. There is a movement growing that is aware of the tracks they leave on the web, enforced with the activation of GDPR, and younger generations are dealing with the topic more and more, creating awareness for it. With the evolution of technology empowering data-driven advertising, we created something extraordinary. Although agencies & publishers are better informed than ever, they could not bring media and creativity together and only achieved banner blindness, over-(re)targeting, GDPR and the cookie's extinction. On top of that, consumers now, especially the younger ones, hate ads so much that they pay to avoid them, signing up for adblockers or subscription services. Good conditions for the future?

Accelerating Change

The marketer needs to reshape his habits and rethink advertising methods to stay meaningful. It is not about the product anymore, but the story and how I narrate it to spark an emotion; it is about relevant content, driven through more effective campaigns. It is about the users who respond better to content that seems to be tailored just for them.

The issue of privacy and data ownership has changed the industry forever and will keep having a more considerable impact on it increasingly. A decade back, only geeks cared where their data was stored and what it was. Today, it can be a matter of national security.

Suppose advertisers want to address consumers tomorrow successfully. In that case, they should not only try to provoke a reaction but also involve them as part of the advertising process and let them control what happens to their data which they should be remunerated for when approved and used. Thereby, advertisers will seek increased focus on data, and campaign quality and the user can have a say in what data he/she wants to share and how he/she is profiled on the web.

This is the only way to give back privacy control and regain trust.

The experience and its value

There is a large gap between consumer expectations for a personalized advertising experience and concerns about their data usage to achieve this. What alternatives are there, though? Research shows that when it comes to brand selection, the personal ad experience impacts the purchase decision process, especially among young consumers.

But at the same time, 71% of users on the web want to penalize brands for unapproved use of their data without direct control.

The advertising ecosystem needs to tolerate that the consumer can not only be an end goal KPI; the consumer is part of the system, should play a role and be rewarded. He/ She is the component that generates the data and therefore should determine how this data is collected, segmented and applied. Today, marketers use AI algorithms to gather data addressing audiences with their products from a mathematical perspective, which often puts the wrong ad in front of the wrong audience. Still, there needs to be an ethical viewpoint that all parties need to align with, but mainly the data owner. 

The awareness is growing and can not only have reputational risks for the brand but in the future, legal implications as well.

Optimism matters for a bright future

myGaru puts the user at the core of its philosophy and centre of its privacy-friendly technology solution to balance the advertising ecosystem. We created an ecosystem that provides clarity across the whole advertising chain, building trust among all stakeholders. Every ad is marked with the myGaru brand confirming transparency and user's control delivered in a fraud-free environment. The advertisement future remains now in the consumer's hands, distributing and managing his/her personal data for control, compensation and an improved experience.

....and the advertiser?

For too long, advertisers have been trusting the practices on how to reach consumers through technology. Promotions about effectiveness and efficiencies by various 3rd party intermediaries deceived them working either way with non-compliant data and not sufficiently perceived the datadriven mechanism inducing a vast data exchange without their knowledge. GDPR, CCPA, and other regulatory agencies will slowly get this under control. But what does it mean for the advertiser, who resides with the promise for years to target accurately but actually looking at the consumer with a telescope far away without recognizing what he or she wants?

1st party data is key but was kept undervalued to monetize external data sources without understanding origin or questioning their collection taxonomies. Now with the extinction of the 3rd party cookie, it is more important than ever. Here we are again with new terms on how data imprecision can be solved with identity solutions, smart groups and even alternatives like contextual. Confusing, right?

We need to go one step back before we can solve anything. Yes, data is essential to advertise. But data, data exchanges and targeting have always been a security & legal challenge! As mentioned above, the consumer, especially the young one, is aware of the value of data with a growing community and demands ownership. Therefore, it is logical to get closer to these sensitive or any groups by offering a secure and compliant environment where the advertiser can accurately address their messages with the consumer’s choice. This will get both parties closer together by understanding what to communicate and the consumer defining what ads he wants to see.