Cross-screen is continuing to rise up the advertising agenda. Just this week, IAB revealed that 94% of the top UK advertisers have a mobile optimised site, reflecting growing confidence in cross-device strategies. As cross-screen grows, data becomes more and more meaningful. Good advertising today is tailored to the individual, reaching them on the right device at the right time.

This precision requires more personalised data. The sensitivity of this means that marketers and data solution providers have to respect consumer privacy and handle the information properly. Marketers also need to keep a rational, nuanced eye on how consumers may view personalisation.

The balancing act

This entire process is all part of the larger fair-value exchange that governs the advertising ecosystem. Consumers get free content and in return, brands pay the publisher to serve the ads to them. This relationship is driving growth in the industry and as more data is gathered across multiple touchpoints, balance needs to be kept in place. As tailored advertising becomes the standard, it’s even more important that data is managed correctly so progress is not restricted.

When it comes to striking the balance with consumers, marketers have for the most part been allowed to self-monitor. But what would happen if the line was overstepped? Consumer perception could quickly turn negative and marketers risk delivering an irrelevant and unengaging advertising experience.

According to research from PageFair, the use of ad blockers has grown by 41% globally in the last year. What’s more, GlobalWebIndex has discovered that Europe is leading in ad blocking, with a rate of 30%. In the UK, City A.M. has become the first newspaper to ban ad blockers but when users lose trust in brands and choose to reject adverts, the balance is quickly disturbed. The global advertising industry will suffer if this continues.

While brands and marketers need to take responsibility and work together to address the issue so growth can continue, the consumer has an important part to play too. After all, consumers are receiving valuable content for free. In what other industry does this happen. Advertisers are facilitating a transaction between the consumer and publishers to enable this experience, in the most relevant, convenient way that they can.

Making the most of a click

Today’s advertisers expect more from each click, making dependency on data greater than it ever has been before. With this comes a risk of blurring the lines of privacy. Marketers are tracking a vast amount of customer behaviour as they travel between devices and it’s important they don’t cross the line. Customers have become accustomed to seeing relevant ads, but this is only sustainable if data is used responsibly.

The volume of data available nowadays is both a bonus and a risk. It’s a powerful tool for marketers, enabling them to better understand and serve customers’ needs. The risk is how intrusive the data application is. Brands don’t want to alienate the customer and the customer doesn’t want to be alienated. Marketers need to be sensitive to these boundaries so the fair value exchange can continue to run.

Advertisers need to balance both monetary and ethical drivers when determining how to use people’s data. The industry needs to take that responsibility seriously not only for their own sake, but also for the benefit of the exchange which keeps the industry alive.


By Dan Slivjanovski, Head of Marketing at RhythmOne. 

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