Redefining Lookalike Strategies For GDPR Compliance

Maya Youdovski

Are marketers going to step back or take a step forward with a new paradigm of lookalike data?

Privacy concerns, and the need for GDPR compliance for any company that is globally connected has made it necessary for brands to find ad targeting alternatives.

The question is: are marketers going to step back, or take a step forward, with a new paradigm of lookalike data?

The trend in programmatic advertising has been to tap into more — and more — data about individuals, to deliver more personalized approaches. But with the rise of GDPR, not all data is fair play in the EU, and that changes the rules of the game.

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Some companies are rolling back personalization and reverting to more traditional forms of contextual advertising. Others are looking forward by leveraging data in new ways.

Earlier this week, Cedato officially released its Contextual Lookalike Targeting technology for programmatic video. The approach is to use data on behavior surrounding ad performance, rather than behavior surrounding an individual. This helps eliminate the need for extensive personal data collection, which is subject to stricter rules under GDPR.

Cedato’s machine learning algorithm processes campaign parameters to formulate profiles for ad placements, based on lookalike ads from the same category. Then, the algorithms automatically place video ads where they would deliver the highest return on selected KPIs.

According to Tali Brousard-Shimer, marketing director, Cedato, the system takes in 15 billion impressions every month. Insights are applied, and data is constantly updated, in real-time.

GDPR primarily effects European countries, and businesses that engage with European audiences. But it’s not always clear where to draw boundaries in our globally-connected world.

For example, it’s possible to get a “Joe Smith from a U.S. company, who is working out of a Berlin office,” Brousard-Shimer said. Companies are wise to err on the side of caution for being GDPR compliance.

“Ad tech and digital marketing developed to the level where have perfectly accurate data and speak to the right person,” Brousard-Shimer said. Then, along came GDPR and cookie restrictions that meant the industry could no longer capitalize on its data to personalize in that way.”

“It did kind of set us back,” she added.

In this way, the combination of data translates into effective targeting that doesn’t cross the line. In addition to enabling GDPR compliance, the approach offers insights that contribute to pricing transparency for programmatic advertisers and publishers, with cost per thousand (CPMs) directly linked to target KPIs. That way, they get to know if they’re getting what they paid for.

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