What GDPR Means for Advertisers

by    |    May 30, 2018    |       3 min read

As of May 25th, 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which the European Union has set, entered the enforcement phase.

What Is GDPR?

It’s the new privacy law enacted by the European Union that enhances consumer’s data protection from being collected by websites. The GDPR is relevant to anyone who markets a service or product to people in the EU, even when they are not situated in the EU. So, if you work in the U.S. and market to individuals in the E.U., you have to follow the GDPR guidelines, or else… You risk getting hits with a penalty that reaches 4% of your global annual revenue or €20 million, whichever is greater.

Panic and Pragmatism

GDPR policy

As with any significant rule change, there is a major hysteria before it and right after it, but after a while, businesses adapt and start finding ways of using the new situation for their own advantage. The same goes for the GDPR. Headlines before May 25th feared the death of programmatic advertising, and it was not just the media acting out. Programmatic ad spend did take a big hit, as companies either didn’t know what to do with the new regulations or more likely, tried to use it as final leverage to influence the EU to lessen their “draconian” laws. But, low and behold, a month or so after GDPR was put in place, programmatic ad spend started to recover. Businesses will always find ways to find opportunity in change. The successful ones, anyway.

How Can I Target?

GDPR flow

You might think that the fact that advertisers can’t freely collect genetic, cultural, mental, economic and social identity data on their customers means that targeting for remarketing will become impossible. But that’s not the case. Advertisers will now have to replace the quantity of data they collected with more quality data because of the opt-in obligation. Under GDPR rules, users need to consciously accept that their data will be collected, so marketers’ new database will be smaller, but more accurate, reducing noisy, irrelevant and bot traffic data that skews results. The GDPR will also help hold publishers accountable for ad viewability. Transparency will help combat fraud traffic and fraudulent publishers, improving data quality and ultimately, targeting.

Go Contextual

Another excellent option for advertisers because data collection is becoming harder to do is to focus your targeting efforts on keywords. Keywords targeting is nothing new, but it will do good for every marketer to brush up on the keywords they use for targeting and see if they are up-to-date. As it so happens, the SelfAdvertiser platform has an advanced Keywords targeting tool that helps advertisers discover new and high traffic keywords that are relevant to their product or service. It’s easy to use and can find you new and converting audiences for your offers.


Whether you view the new GDPR laws as a threat or an opportunity, they are here to stay, so marketers better find ways to adapt. While shrinking the size of data, it has improved its quality and reduced fraud traffic along the way, which is the number one threat to advertisers. So reports on the death of programmatic advertising have been greatly exaggerated and contextual advertising is more alive than ever. Advertisers should go both the contextual and the programmatic way and enjoy this new era of increased transparency.