Boring data? Forget it, it’s even driving Cannes’ agenda

ChrisHoggOn the surface, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and GDPR may not be natural bedfellows but there was plenty of data-related material for EMEA advertisers to chew on, especially now regulation is finally in full effect; it has been in place for just over a month and marketers are still grappling with its ramifications.
Accuracy is everything. At Cannes, marketers were telling us that they’re less concerned about data’s scale and are more focused on its quality and accuracy. Frankly, this isn’t surprising. The trajectory of the data industry has been shifting this way for several years. The difference today, however, is that this trend is more pronounced.
And it has been driven by two developments. First, marketers are demanding more transparency and accountability from their media supply chain. And second, GDPR has changed the way advertisers think about the data they collect, as it has naturally shrunk data stockpiles. In this environment, brands want to buy high-quality audience profiles, with scale important but less of a differentiator than in previous years.
This will be the new norm moving forward. And data sellers that have prioritised quality will be well-positioned to deliver.
A stronger emphasis on first-party data. Despite many prognosticators predicting the end of second and third-party data as a result of GDPR, those datasets are still effective and necessary to execute successful campaigns at scale. And they’re not going anywhere.
Advertisers we spoke to at Cannes are only investing more in their data resources, not less. There will be several changes, however. For one, advertisers will trim the fat, opting to rely only on the most trustworthy and quality-focused data sellers. Larger sellers that have the resources needed to stay GDPR compliant and install more meticulous vetting measures will win the day.
What will also occur is that advertisers will invest more in first-party data resources. First-party data has always been the most critical dataset for brands. GDPR has made it clear to them that they need to put more budget and infrastructure behind that collection. Data management platforms that can help activate first-party data are major beneficiaries here.
New responsibilities for data sellers. Cannes confirmed to me what I’ve thought for years – that data will become less of a commodity business and more of a service one. Data needs among advertisers and brands are only increasing. And regulations are only becoming more onerous and complicated.
At Cannes, we heard this over and over again. As a result, data sellers need to become data consultants and advisors. They cannot just be a platform or the pipes. They need to be end-to-end mentors and educators, helping advertisers activate whatever data assets they have or want, from first-party, to second-party, to third-party. And that needs to be done while offering to work towards clearly-defined objectives. In the transparency, accuracy and GDPR era, this is key.
Moving forward, paying close attention to data quality, focusing on first-party data and staying privy to the changing roles for data sellers will help all succeed.

Chris Hogg is managing director EMEA of Lotame

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