Prepared for 2020 Privacy Changes? Over 40% of Agencies and Advertisers Are Unsure

By The Myers Report Archives
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2020 is about data (and privacy), OTT (and privacy), and 5G (and privacy). The results of The Myers Report 2020 Media Supply Chain Study confirm just how top-of-mind they are. Almost two-thirds of agency respondents report that they are spending more time on privacy-related topics than a year prior and over three-quarters of advertiser respondents report the same.

And with good reason. With the launch of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the announcement from Google that it will phase out the use of third-party cookies by 2022, and several state privacy laws already on the table — including a recently introduced bill in Washington State that goes far beyond CCPA — the ad industry is headed into truly uncharted and turbulent waters.

Sellers should be prepared to educate media buyers at all levels, not only of the various data offerings they can provide, but also with details on how they are in compliance with CCPA (if domestic) and GDPR (if global). In the past year, these questions would have primarily been the domain of a legal team. They are increasingly becoming a staple of the media negotiation process and a standardized part of media partnership evaluations.

Over the past decade, the top ad agency holding companies have invested billions of dollars to acquire data companies. In 2016, Dentsu purchased data-marketing company Merkle for $1.5 billion; in 2018, Interpublic Group purchased Acxiom for $2.3 billion; and in 2019, Publicis Groupe purchased Epsilon for $4 billion. Although Omnicom has not invested in a data company, it has spent a better part of the past decade and millions of dollars investing in Annalect, its data solutions organization, and Omni, its people-based marketing and insights platform. As a result, 80 percent of agency respondents are spending more time determining audiences and evaluating data sources.

With this massive investment, the challenges of privacy regulation and browser cookie policies are sowing confusion in the marketplace.

Nearly 60 percent of advertisers and agency respondents said their companies are prepared for privacy changes. But, 40 percent of agency and 44 percent of advertiser respondents say they are not prepared or just simply don't know if they are prepared for those changes. Twenty-eight percent of advertiser respondents say their companies are definitively unprepared, while 14 percent of agency respondents believe their companies are unprepared. Twenty-six percent of agency respondents say they don't know whether their agency is prepared, which would indicate that, on this topic, there is still an opportunity for better education within their walls.

While the advertising industry and major corporations are lobbying for federal privacy legislation through entities such as "Privacy for America," it is unlikely in the current climate that any legislation will pass until 2021, at the earliest. It's more likely that 2020 will see a number of new state laws passed that will make compliance more confusing and more challenging. Sellers who come in knowledgeable and prepared to answer questions on how their organizations are approaching this turbulent time have an opportunity to earn trust and authenticity as the entire industry grapples with a new reality.

MediaVillage members have access to the full report, The Myers Report 2020 Supply Chain Study. If you believe you are a member or to request membership details, contact Mark Altschuler, John Bishop, or Jack Myers.

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