Why GDPR Is Good for Digital Advertising


Why GDPR is Good for Digital Advertising

June 26, 2018

A broad legislative mandate called the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, came into effect May 25th. The deadline had many digital advertising players scrambling and many more worried. GDPR will exact a toll and it will bring about change, but it’s change digital marketers should welcome, not fear. Here’s why:

End Of Pixel/Cookie-Based Model Is Good For The Industry

The reality is that this was long overdue. Companies have been dragging their feet, and it’s no surprise that the E.U. is leading the charge on this front. This is the beginning of the end for the pixel/cookie-based model. The era of data stealing and data scraping is over. GDPR will prompt data-driven advertising to be more opt-in and permission-based, and will render widespread tactics like retargeting and remarketing less invasive and obtrusive. These changes will usher in the next era of digital advertising: people-based marketing, or that which utilizes first-party data instead of third-party data/ad-serving.

Bad Industry Practices Will Dwindle

Companies relying heavily on behavioral and probabilistic targeting models will be impacted most. That’s not to say that these practices will disappear altogether, especially since they’re legal in most countries outside of the E.U., but the digital landscape will evolve toward first-party data and contextual advertising. You’ll start to see other countries implement similar sets of regulations. Even companies operating in countries that do not technically fall under GDPR will understand the reality of the global marketplace and will react to the direction the wind is blowing.

Long Overdue Data Cleanses

This is good for advertising and marketing in general. GDPR has already prompted some companies in the U.K. to perform data cleanses, for example, paring down their email lists by as much as two-thirds. Some of these companies are seeing higher open and click-through rates because the data they now possess is better quality. This is anecdotal, sure, but it’s logical to project that if how data is collected is above-board and if consumers willingly and knowingly opt in, you’re going to see higher rates of engagement.

Good For OTT

OTT stands for over-the-top, the term used for the delivery of film and TV content via the internet, without requiring users to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite pay-TV service.

Due to its very nature, OTT is pretty insulated from the GDPR impact. If you’re not opted in, you’re not targeted, unless, for example, you’re being blind-targeted on YouTube. Overall, though, OTT is well-suited for this evolving digital landscape.

Good for Publishers

It may be difficult in the short term, but it’ll be good for publishers in the long term, not unlike what we’re starting to see with companies managing their email databases. These forced data cleanses may be initially jarring, as mentioned above, but GDPR-compliant companies are also seeing more engaged subscribers.

Similarly, publishers will see more engaged consumers of their content with more stringent opt-in protocols in place. The reality is that publishers were lackadaisical with signups and opt-in for a long time. The opt-in nature of the GDPR guidelines is good for publishers, because they need their own first-party data to be impactful.


GDPR is compelling the industry to think hard about how it approaches attribution, which has been glossed over for some time now. It’s going to be harder to spam consumers, and it will force the industry to deliver personalized content that consumers want. The new guidelines demand consumer participation. That may be harder to achieve, but the results will be higher quality.

Read the full article here.

5 Cannes Topic Predictions and What They Mean for Advertising


5 Cannes Topic Predictions and What They Mean for Advertising

June 15, 2018

From emerging tech to agency development to brand marketing techniques

For decades, the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity has attracted advertising creatives to the French Riviera to celebrate, well, creativity. Eventually, brands (read: clients) followed. As media fragmented and overlapped, tech companies proliferated along la Croisette, with brands like Snapchat buying up major real estate within the orbit of the Palais.

This formidable confluence of tech innovation, creative acumen and business influence each year generates a great deal of speculation about the next big thing—and rightfully so, given that the next big thing is likely to be dreamed up by executives attending the festival. More importantly, though, the festival serves as a good barometer for what’s going on in advertising and tech. With that in mind, here are my thoughts on what will be most discussed at Cannes this year.

Context is key when audience targeting

The way brands will market to consumers moving forward is going to change. The Cambridge Analytica snafu and the implementation of GDPR formed a cultural shift as well as practical implications that are already having an impact on advertisers. Context will be increasingly vital moving forward. What device are users on and where? Why are ads being served to them? What role does location play? What length of video ads are being served? What permissions are needed to serve these ads? This complexity is going to require more data, more data science and more audience data.

The days of rampant reselling of consumer information and unchecked third-party information are over. We are moving into the era of people-based marketing, aka first-party data or segment-based targeting augmented by AI.

This formidable confluence of tech innovation, creative acumen and business influence each year generates a great deal of speculation about the next big thing.

Agencies need video to survive consolidation

Bringing ad solutions in-house has been the strategy for brands that are fed up with fraud and the inefficiencies of the current ecosystem. But the massive tech undertaking and legal regulations that now accompany video advertising, not to mention the considerable creative resources that video advertising demands, means that agencies aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, especially considering that video is outpacing every other advertising channel by a wide margin globally. OTT video platforms like YouTube, Hulu and Amazon will only continue to grow.

Vine is back

OK, not really, but its legacy is.

“It’s not always best to be first” is a business axiom that has proven itself time and time again. Myspace and Friendster preceded Facebook, but they never achieved anywhere near the same level of success. Was Facebook an inherently superior product and better executed? Possibly, but mostly likely timing and what the zeitgeist was ready for had something to do with it. There was something to Vine, as evidenced by its rapid rise and Twitter’s interest, which is not invalidated by its unceremonious demise. However, the six-second ad format is showing a lot of activity and is poised for further growth. It has shown to be very effective for brands when done properly. Best practices and new ways to innovate in such a small amount of time are likely to be investigated at Cannes.


The rise and fall of cryptocurrencies have brought blockchain technology front and center over the past six months. The promise of smart contracts are especially appealing to ad tech players, thanks to the tech’s inherent transparency that would expose bad actors. Despite the buzz (and there is sure to be a lot of it next week), there is no stable currency, making blockchain a non-starter for digital advertisers at the moment. However, this trend is one to keep an eye on. 

The dominance of the duopoly continues

This is nothing inherently new, but what is surprising is that YouTube is the fastest-growing social site while Facebook is flat, although Instagram is performing very well. Consolidation continues to be the name of the game in the industry right now. Does GDPR stymie that consolidation at all? Facebook and Google did get hit with $9 billion in fines on day one, after all. Or will it actually accelerate the consolidation since smaller companies may not have the resources to adapt or survive some of those steep fines? Time will tell.

We may not be able to predict with certainty what the future will bring, but what is certain is that our industry will have to adapt. Every industry is marked with periods of relative stasis followed by periods of flux. Privacy concerns have been percolating for years. Questions about how companies are structured and how they operate have been bandied about for quite some time. Those reckonings are upon us, but it’s in these periods of transition that the greatest discoveries are made.


So are we!

Three Recent Google Stats You Need to Know…


Three Recent Google Stats You Need to Know…

June 01, 2018

Several weeks ago, Google hosted their big Brandcast event. And by all accounts it was an epic event. From celebrities and bands to some bold and exciting new products, the YouTube team laid out a stellar forecast for 2018. There are a couple stand out stats from that event:  

#1. 1.8 Billion logged in users each month watch more than 150 million hours of YouTube on TV screens every day.

WOW! TV screens represent new opportunities for YouTube advertisers. 50% of US 18-to-49-year-olds are “light TV” viewers, but 90% of this group uses YouTube, according to a recent Nielsen study. Google has added tools that specifically support GoogleTV advertisers. For instance, AdWords will now be available to better target audience segments. And in this case, advertisers will be able to leverage an audience segment of “light tv viewers,” a population that has been somewhat elusive for advertisers…until now.

Television and video viewing has clearly evolved. TV is no longer just about a time period and the living room. The viewing has become more about the content and less about the timing of a program or the device that it is watched upon. This change has been impacting how advertisers reach audiences. Now it is time for audience targeting to fully catch up.  When advertisers focus on what we call “People-Centered Targeting™” they can go well beyond a demographic-focus to deliver a more relevant experience.

This is exciting news for us at Sightly, we know how to target by audience locally and how to create personalized experiences. The consumer expects relevance and it is time to deliver. 

#2. Over 70% of YouTube Campaigns Drove Lift in Sales

Google has been working with Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) to look at the offline sales of products. The question at hand: how effective is YouTube advertising at moving products off the shelves. The answer thus far has been VERY.  So much so, that Kellogg now spends 60% to 70% of its overall marketing budget on digital with a large portion of that going to YouTube. We are going to keep our eye on this new Brand Lift measurement as it evolves. 

Sightly has some vertical specific performance stats, if you are interested check out our performance case studies

#3. YouTube’s daily viewing was up 29% in the month of April according Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings   

While this growth stat didn’t come from the Brandcast event, it is an impressive growth rate. And according to recent research by Pew, 85% of teens use Youtube. If you are an advertiser not considering YouTube as a part of your media mix what are you waiting for?