WTH is GDPR? – As if the world of digital advertising was not complex enough already, how about we throw another acronym into the alphabet soup known as “media terms.” This blog is here to help you navigate through what GDPR means, why it’s important, and how it may affect you.

GDPR stands for general data protection regulation – a new law watching over how personal data is processed for individuals living in the European Union (EU). The EU has a history of wanting to protect citizens’ private data, and this is the second big initiative aimed at doing just that. Under GDPR, consumers have the right and ability to decide what personal information can be used to identify them. If a publisher is gathering any personally identifiable information on the user, it must disclose this, and the user must accept/agree/opt in before it can do so.

Wondering why this affects U.S. consumers outside of the EU? Most partners that R&R works with have some sort of presence in Europe, so since this new law affects them, it affects R&R and other U.S.-based agencies. Following the GDPR regulations, there are similar regulations being discussed throughout the United States. In 2018, there have been several U.S. lawsuits regarding the use of personal data for advertising, proving that the regulation laws are going to hit closer to home this year.

Immediately, these regulations will lead to a major cleanup in third-party data. Bluekai, a third-party data company, released a site where consumers can check their personal data available online. Users are then able to accept or opt out of any or all items. Beware − this link shows exactly how unstable third-party data can be. For instance, Bluekai buckets the author of this blog as a GenXer, interested in sports, punk rock and station wagons, and employed by a company with 1,000 to 5,000 employees – none of which are true. To explore your digital data profile, visit atacloudoptout.oracle.com/registry/.

While GDPR and privacy laws can be foreboding for a digital advertiser, there are some upsides to how these regulations will shape the industry. Data regulations will help force the advertiser to take a new look at its data to ensure its quality and accuracy. Advertisers will need to be hyperaware of their data, and how it’s used, refreshed and stored. While it may be an arduous undertaking, this will ensure that advertisers work with quality data. We could see positive effects on the types of targeting available to advertisers and, ultimately, the relevancy to the consumer.