Could Voucher Codes Be the Key to Help Advertisers Unlock a Post-GDPR Audience?

In this piece for RetailTechNews, Stuart Austin, programmatic consultant, Uniqodo, explains how the online advertising industry has grown off the back of a sea of data. However, with the European GDPR legislation coming into force on 25 May 2018, the tide is flooding out. How do advertisers ensure they’re not left high and dry?

Explicit Consent

‘Explicit consent’ is a key requirement of the GDPR legislation. It’s going to mean the retargeters will struggle to find a viable business model, as they will need to own and maintain the audiences’ consent to retarget them, but what can they offer in return? Advertisers will also struggle to attract audience consent without a strategy that rewards their audience. Without data, advertisers will also struggle to apply any but the most basic attribution models when assessing their ad campaigns’ performance, making it impossible to assess where their ads are performing.

Stuart Austin, Programmatic Consultant, Uniqodo

Data sharing

How do you incentivise audiences to share their data? Especially as data has gone from being an abstract concept to a currency and people are starting to wake up to its value. This means that companies need to offer something tangible in exchange for getting GDPR-compliant permission to use that data. Different publishers are adopting different strategies. The Telegraph is offering more content to logged-in users, while the Washington Post will have access to its ‘News Reader’ area with more interactive articles and fewer ads.  

This type of reward is straightforward for publishers to make, as their sites are the product they’re selling, so they can legitimately put up a paywall and expect their customers will pay for access. While they will see a drop off in user numbers compared with no paywall, they will see some adoption and if the only price they’re charging is user consent to using their data, it does seem a reasonable charge. But advertisers have a more difficult challenge. How can they offer something back to their audience in exchange for consent to use their valuable data?

Advertiser solution

A real solution to that problem could be to offer unique single-use voucher codes secured to the specific user. Many retailers use voucher codes as a promotional tool, but they tend to be a generic code that can be used by anyone who sees the code within a certain timeframe. Until now, this level of control over the issuance and redemption of secured codes is entirely reliant on the capabilities of the advertiser’s e-commerce platform. However, Uniqodo changes all that. Working with us, advertisers can achieve the same benefits of a complex e-commerce platform from a plug and play option, which doesn’t require a rebuilding of their system and does enable them to generate unique codes that are tied to customers’ email addresses and, therefore, linked to the user.  

This one-to-one interaction enables advertisers to make an initial offer to reward users for sharing their data. From that point on they can build a bespoke relationship with the customer, reaching out with relevant and timely offers. This makes retaining consent a straight forward activity and enables individuals to realise the new value of their data through the offers that are presented to them by the advertiser.

For companies looking to re-engage their existing databases, they can send out offers by email, requesting explicit consent to use their data again in exchange for the offer. They obviously need to do this before the GDPR legislation takes effect, but there is still time to do that.

For companies that need to build up a new database, there is the facility of buying ads programmatically promoting an offer with a consent form on the offer landing page. This way the user can see directly what they are getting back for sharing their data and the advertiser can build a database from the ground up.

Taking responsibility

The new restrictions on data usage are going to be a massive issue for advertisers as, under GDPR, advertisers will naturally assume the role of data controller in almost all circumstances and the primary responsibility for GDPR compliance sits with data controllers. Some of the responsibility is shared with data processors, but controllers shoulder the lion’s share of responsibility.

This means that the eye-watering fines will sit at the doorstep of the advertiser, leaving them with quite a challenge to keep up their current marketing activity. This is likely to see advertisers operating a safety-first approach, which will see them avoiding using any data that isn’t double checked, which could see them suddenly operating in the dark.

Timely solution

Uniqodo’s plug-in solution allows advertisers to quickly and easily shine a light onto their marketing database, and to their existing site and infrastructure. Advertisers can leverage our product to reward users for sharing their data and giving consent to marketing activities. This ensures advertisers can engage with current and future customers, incentivising them to share their data and rewarding them for continuing to do so. With Uniqodo’s voucher code solution, advertisers will be able to take control of their marketing activity once again.