GDPR Means U.S. Marketers Should Demand More From Data

With the implementation of GDPR throughout the European Union, brands and agencies are entering a new era for data handling and management. But while many U.S. companies have been making preparations ahead of time for the transition, recent research by CompTIA suggests that many American firms have not planned effectively for the legislative change.

GDPR is a wake-up call to marketers across the US to take stock of their own data and think about whether they are maximizing its potential.

That starts with recognizing it as a key asset that can quickly depreciate.

Our recent research — conducted just before GDPR came into force — suggests that marketers are increasingly aware data shouldn’t just sit on a server. Just under half of U.S. marketers see data as reliable for between one and two years. Just under a quarter (22%) of marketers saw data for the valuable resource it is, judging it to be reliable for under one year.

The truth is, we can’t be too relaxed when it comes to keeping user data up-to-date. Marketers and advertisers could be missing out if the data they are sitting on is no longer accurate or useful.

What a difference a year makes

Think about the pace of life for a moment -- what a difference a year makes. For some audiences at least, a consumer’s life can rapidly evolve in new directions, not all totally unexpected.

Take college seniors, for example. In the course of a year, their data profile could be radically altered as they leave the education field, potentially move locations, find work in yet another city, and see changes to their income and consumption habits.

The best way to keep abreast of changes in consumers’ lifestyles is to ensure you are taking a holistic approach to data. You’ll need to rely on a range of data points, e.g., location, behavioral, browsing history, etc.

Data is now a precious resource – so treat it like one

Data culture is increasingly in the spotlight at the moment -- not just owing to GDPR, but with the recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data scandal, and the Supreme Court’s scrutiny of Google’s privacy practices. Marketers should -- if they are not already -- be thinking carefully about how to protect data, as well as how to harness it to improve customer experiences.

A first step should be to decide on which forms of data are the most valuable to you by aligning marketing and brand objectives with data-driven tactics. For example, location data and behavioral data will help you refine the bespoke offers you are providing to existing customers.

In the era of GDPR, you will have to show each customer that you recognize the consent they have granted around the use of their data. Tailoring offers to their specific profile is the best way of thoughtfully using that information.

Another important source of data to consider is mobile. According to research by eMarketer, U.S. adults will spend on average two hours and 35 minutes every day on mobile apps. With users spending more and more time on their phones, mobile can help ensure your data is allowing you to refresh your customers’ profiles daily.

Advertisers, meanwhile, will need to be crystal-clear on the regulations for highly personalized ad experiences. Cookies and device IDs, for example, will require opt-in for EU citizens. Many users will give that consent, but in return, they’ll expect to be served highly relevant ads. Other forms of data, including demographic and audience data, will help provide the most tailored ad experience for users.

With AI-driven targeting, you can ensure that ad serving is optimized in real time with your hard-won data and updated user profiles. You can, of course, still serve ads to those who opt out, but you won’t have the full picture of the consumer.

Whether GDPR directly affects your business’ clients or not, now is the time to be thinking about the goldmine of data you have -- and how to make the most of it.

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