Government Regulation Is Chief Threat to Marketers’ Data-Driven Initiatives

Marketing groups push for industry-friendly regulations

Government regulation is the top obstacle threatening marketers’ data projects this year, according to a recent survey of US marketers by Winterberry Group and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Respondents also expected cross-channel measurement, attribution and audience matching and predictive segmentation to occupy most of their attention this year. All of these tasks require the collection and use of data and could be affected by regulation, according to Ratko Vidakovic, founder and principal of ad tech consultancy AdProfs.

“Any privacy laws in the US that touch on issues such as personal data and consent have the potential to be disruptive to these interests,” Vidakovic said. “Given where we are now, with the California Consumer Privacy Act [CCPA] going into effect in nine months, and all the uncertainty around a federal data privacy law, it is not surprising whatsoever that marketers view data regulation as a top challenge.”

IAB and Winterberry Group’s study adds to a body of research showing that marketers must take data regulation seriously. Previous studies have shown that public opinion is turning against large tech companies, US Congress is becoming preoccupied with big tech and company execs are increasingly mentioning data regulations during earnings calls.

Meanwhile, tech companies continue to be scrutinized over their data misuse:

Lawmakers in various states, including California, Washington, New Jersey and Colorado, have proposed their own data regulations. In recent months, ad industry trade groups have protested the state-by-state approach and advocated for national privacy regulations. Previously, industry groups have said digital advertising companies should be self-regulated.

“These trade groups are now doing everything in their lobbying power to lessen the impact of CCPA, while at the same time attempting to pre-empt it at the federal level with a more industry-friendly national data privacy law," Vidakovic said.