The Weeds of Online

The last few decades have seen the flourishing of Audience Targeting and Online Advertising with advertisers heavily relying on audience targeting data to guide decisions about which ads to run and where. It was a paint by numbers approach which was relatively easy for all in the media buying industry – by quantifying past purchases as well as comprehensively monitoring overall buying patterns and online behavior, marketers could confidently identify potential customers and predict the likelihood that they would purchase a specific product or service. With information readily available and easily accessible, all a marketer had to do to convert a sale was to serve those consumers with targeted content at the most opportune time.

However, in recent times, there has been a seismic shift in both Europe and the US on the user privacy data front (e.g. GDPR legislation and California Consumer Privacy Act), with the EU implementing a number of key mandates aimed at effectively preventing invasive audience targeting.
An example of this changing approach has been Apple’s introduction of Privacy Nutrition Labels – a move so impactful that it has directly led to a sharp decline in Facebook’s share price. These Labels are engineered to inform and warn online audiences about the privacy implications of every new app download – what personal data will be accessed and how much of an impact it will have on their privacy. Apple Privacy Nutrition Labels are just what they sound like: pages that tell you exactly what data the app can access, how it is accessed, and what it will be used for. Any apps already in the App Store that do not currently carry such ‘labeling’ – though still active – are now required to ensure that the labeling is in place with the next software update.

It is clear that the end of invasive audience targeting is on the horizon, and for marketers this means that the methods previously employed for targeting online audiences will become tenuous. As target audiences become broader once again, it will be OOH which will step up to the plate to play a more substantive role in reaching specific consumers.

In the very near future, we will see that it is the brands with the best positioning, the biggest investment in OOH, and the best ad creative targeting the masses, that will win the game.