The mobile advertising industry saw significant growth in the first half of 2018. However, the defining factor of H1 2018 for the digital sphere was undoubtedly the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In order to understand just how widely the GDPR impacted mobile advertising, we analyzed the relevant traffic across the Smaato platform in our latest Global Trends in Mobile Advertising report and uncovered the effects this regulation had on mobile ad spending and eCPMs.
As a rule, GDPR impacts any organization that processes, stores, or transmits data belonging to EU residents, which means that all mobile and app publishers with traffic in the EU have to gain valid consent from these users in order to continue serving ads in the region.
Who Does the GDPR Apply To?
The GDPR applies to any entities, located anywhere in the world, that control or process the personal data of EU residents. Personal data can include:
• Geolocation (GPS-based or IP-based)
• Advertiser ID (IDFA/Google Ad ID)
• Internet Protocol Address (IP)
• Any other "online identifier" (e.g. device ID, user name, etc.)
Lower Supply, Higher Demand
In the first days after the GDPR went into effect, Digiday reported that programmatic ad spending took a nosedive.1 The cause of this was twofold. First, advertisers were cautious about spending money in programmatic supply chains that they were not sure could target their ads in accordance with the GDPR. Second, some publishers could not secure consent for targeted advertising, which led to a decrease in available supply.
Now that publishers are required to be more stringent regarding their use of EU users’ data, many have had to halt their passing of targeting data until they could gain valid consent. According to a study by Reuters Institute, third-party cookies on news websites in Europe declined by 22%.2 The Smaato platform also saw a decline in supply from the European Economic Area (EEA), especially for inventory with targeting data. However, low supply was met with increased demand, and in turn, ad space prices.
As a result, one of the most pronounced GDPR impacts on the Smaato platform was rising eCPMs for non-targeted ad impressions around the world.The Americas region saw the highest eCPMs growth post-GDPR at +59%, while the EEA saw a solid +43% increase in eCPMs for non-targeted ad impressions.
Growing Spend for Compliant Inventory
Becoming compliant with this strict data privacy law was a months-long headache for many publishers, and according to a survey conducted in June 2018, only about 20% of legal and IT professionals had achieved full compliance by the time the regulation went into effect on May 25, 2018.3
However, more and more publishers are becoming fully compliant and gaining valid consent in the weeks and months since the GDPR became effective. As targeted supply recovers, ad spending on EEA inventory has been consistently growing. From May 25 to June 30, 2018, daily ad spending for GDPR-compliant ad impressions increased +6.5X on the Smaato platform.
More to Come
With new, stricter data privacy initiatives on the horizon, such as the EU ePrivacy regulation, understanding how the GDPR impacts the mobile advertising landscape is important for both publishers and advertisers. For further insights into the latest mobile advertising trends, check out the infographic below and download the H1 2018 Global Trends in Mobile Advertising report.
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Sources: 1Digiday, June 2018 | 2Reuters Institute, August 2018 | 3Dimentional Research and TrustArc, July 2018