Candid thoughts of marketers on GDPR, cutting out agencies and Facebook ROI

Marketers gathered in New Orleans this week to discuss the future of programmatic marketing at the Digiday Programmatic Marketing Summit. Recurring themes included the fallout from GDPR, the growing trend of taking more marketing in-house and, of course, the influence of Google and Facebook.

The event took place under the Chatham House Rules, meaning discussions are on the record but without attribution of names and companies. Here’s what attendees had to say:

GDPR is a pain, but might be beneficial in the long run 
“Beyond the advertising side, we on the brand side have had to make some changes to our site. That’s a good thing to have done. I do think for us to just overall take a much more rigorous approach to the question of consent is a valuable exercise.”

“It’s a good thing. It’s painful to rip the Band-Aid off, but in the long run, it’s probably very good for the consumer that they have control and understand what’s going on, but at the same time for advertisers to hopefully get into this economy that’s cleaner, more transparent, with better accountability. At the end of the day that’s good for everyone, if not for a lot of pain and suffering and phone calls with legal.”

“Our industry is the only one where the future is less data and not more data, and that kind of sucks.”

“In this situation there’s less data, but it’s probably cleaner. It’s closer to the customer, it’s more accurate. Maybe it’s more expensive — maybe it changes the pricing and the economy around it, but we’ve cleaned it up. I think it disrupts a lot of tools and things that have been built, but I think people can evolve.”

“It’s creating more of a lean-in environment. Now we have a consumer that wants to interact with my brand versus being intrusive.”

Marketers are doing more marketing internally
“There’s a perception that it’s fewer people so it’s saving money. But that’s often not true.”

“The biggest miss right now is when you bring it in-house, unless you have very strong relationship with your agency, you lose the connection points. You may create some efficiencies but you might not get the learnings you would.”

“It’s a false assumption that agencies have a ton of talent. They’re hiring 24-year-olds and shifting people into it. We don’t see any talent issues.”

“It’s different when you work for the company and are doing it. Our agency had several accounts. I don’t know how much time they were really spending on our campaigns. There’s a lot more accountability when it’s internal.”

“Has anyone had a consultant not recommend taking marketing in-house? ‘I can save you $150,000: Take it in-house.’ That’s what they always recommend.”

“We’ve seen some of our agencies that have shifted their business models to support in-sourcing. We see them shift and actually bring ideas to the table, so instead of us going to another outside partner, they’re offering to do it themselves. I think we’ll see agencies shifting their models to help clients do this more, or at least I think they should.”

“There may be less ad tech intermediaries because of GDPR. It’s just not going to make sense for them to operate in Europe so there will be a lot of smart people who understand buying on exchanges, buying on major social platforms and that knowledge will probably transfer pretty well [to an in-house team].”

Questions are emerging around Facebook ROI
“We have clients coming to us saying they’re spending 70 percent of their budget on Facebook and Google and asking us to help them diversify. They don’t want to build their customer acquisition channels on two platforms that could get regulated or whatever else it may be. We’re suggesting they come back to programmatic, and try to get off of Facebook and Google as much as you can. But then GDPR kind of blew some of that up.”

“We’ve definitely scaled back and optimized and adjusted our model so we’re not doing as much video. Right now they’re banking on upper-funnel, so we’re rethinking that because people just aren’t consuming video for more than 2 seconds there.”

“Facebook is the perfect place to keep hammering existing customers versus trying to go out and prospect for new ones. We know Facebook works well for existing customers, but maybe not so much in many instances on the prospecting side.”

Marketers are souring on third-party data
“We’re getting more pressure to use more first-party data and step away from third-party data in certain areas, and it’s tying back to attribution for sure.”

“We can’t even get 50 percent confidence on something like gender. It’s just something where we all had suspicion because it was all of this aggregated data coming from unclear sources, and yeah, a lot of it’s garbage.”

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