What is the immediate impact of the advent of GDPR on Facebook’s and Google’s dominance in online advertising? Should we automatically expect a re-distribution of power? Quite the contrary to be honest…

First because of these two companies’ logged-in walled gardens, where users are condemned to give their (forced) consent to keep on receiving a daily shot of dopamine (FB, Instagram) or to keep on using what have become ubiquitous utilities (Google Search, Maps, Youtube,…). Secondly because of the dominance they exert on the ad buying side. Let’s focus on Google for this piece.

Prior to GDPR D-Day, Google’s “take it or leave it” approach had already generated a general outcry from small and large publishers. But it was nothing compared to what followed! Publishers were utterly shocked by Google’s sudden decision to reduce the delivery of DBM campaigns on third-party EU inventory, in the immediate aftermath of GDPR, even on websites & apps which had fully implemented the IAB framework to record readers’ consent. Scandalous!

Some publishers have lost up to 75% on purchases coming from Google’s DoubleClick Bid Manager! Advertisers were also dismayed to see their presence on premium properties significantly reduced by Google’s unexpected move. Some brands have already started exploring alternative ways to buy advertising directly from leading publications. This is what happens when a handful of platforms enjoy an excessive dominance on a given market.

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Hopefully this will serve as a wake up call, an opportunity for publishers to reclaim their strategic position in the ecosystem (and for SSP to be less blindly dependent on an oligopoly of ad buyers). This cataclysmic moment can also be the right time to explore alternative sources of income, among which the evergreen newsletter format.

Newsletters are still a largely understated opportunity, free from Google’s and Facebook’s dominance, leveraging a direct connection between publishers and their readers, offering a well-protected quality context to premium advertisers. They’re about to gain a strong momentum!

Email collection has been optin in the EU for almost 15 years, since the implementation of  the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive 2002 (implemented since 31/10/2003). Publishers who have strictly complied with this EU directive actually didn’t need to re-ask for users’ consent prior to GDPR implementation (even if some did, mainly due to a general panic movement or because their email lists had been dormant for a while). Which means that most major publishers currently have a huge competitive advantage in terms of the size of consent-compliant user bases they can lawfully address: they are allowed to send a newsletter in the very intimate inbox of these readers. And they are allowed to monetize / sponsor these newsletters, which constitute an unparalleled premium shrine for quality advertising.

If you want to build a revenues cushion to weather the algorithmic storms caused by regulatory evolutions and the all too frequent Silicon Valley mood swings, consider developing your newsletter. ividence will help you monetize your inventory.

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