Smart brands recognize that consumers will make repeat purchases from brands they trust. This rationale holds true across all advertising platforms, but in the gold-rush era of data-led online advertising, it is often forgotten by many publishers and brands.
Advertising is an industry built on storytelling, craft and creativity. Data has helped advertisers refine and improve their approach, but the focus on data has gone too far. Consumers view online adverts as a nuisance, with a CIM survey revealing that 50% of people view online adverts as irrelevant. An irrelevant ad in the outside world is easy to ignore, but consumer patience is being worn thin by seeing the same irrelevant ads several times on their phones and computers — platforms considered their own personal space.
Coming into effect on May 24, GDPR is set to be the biggest single shake-up of data privacy and online advertising since the birth of the internet. The new ruling will radically change the way advertisers are able to target consumers online, with consumers having increased control over the data they share, and the sites that they allow advertising to reach them on.
We need GDPR to help rein online advertising in — things have gotten out of hand. Consumers feel hounded by products they never intended to purchase, and even by products they have purchased. This repetitive targeting reduces online advertising to a series of poorly positioned billboards.
Once the reset button has been hit on consumer data, I firmly believe contextual targeting can help rebuild a degree of trust between advertisers and consumers. If we’re delivering messaging that takes its cues from a person’s actual interests and activities, we’re much more likely to deliver relevant content that is of interest to consumers, rebuilding trust and driving sales based on real-time interests rather than dated data targeting.
Once consumers have the power to block advertising, brands will see a reduction in the number of opportunities they have have to target consumers. They’ll need to make the most of them with emotional, creative executions.
Much as some of your best creative work is done under the tightest brief, data scarcity will invigorate us — we know that 77% of Americans who use an adblocker say that they would be willing to view some commercials. If we can deliver better content, there is still a willing audience for online advertising.
We can expect formats such as branded content to benefit from this, with more long-form and episodic storytelling. Consumers will begin to choose and curate the brands that they want to engage with based on creative advertising as well as personal preference.
Certain ad networks and publishers might even get reputations for providing good ads, or more value to consumers, and they’ll be “opted-in to.” Platforms which consumers have opted in to will have the confidence of consumers. Brands will know that their content is reaching an audience who are interested in what they have to say, and will be able to tell more complex, interesting stories.
As the efficiency of targeting platforms improve after GDPR, advertisers will be able to leave the buying to AI and focus on what we’re most interested in — the creative.