The impact of GDPR, in 5 charts

The arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation in May has been a rollercoaster for many companies. The law has triggered several immediate changes. Here’s a look at some of them, in five charts:

Third-party cookies plummet on news sites in Europe
The average use of third-party cookies per page across Europe has dropped 22 percent, according to a report from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. The report examined third-party cookie use between April and July — before and after the May 25 GDPR enforcement date — across seven countries: the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Finland and Poland. U.K. news publishers had the highest proportion of third-party cookies per page prior to GDPR, and so have seen the biggest drop, of 45 percent, while Germany showed the smallest change with just a 6 percent drop, according to the report.

Source of data (approximate percentages) from Reuters Institute of the Study of Journalism.

GDPR requirements for consent mean some news organizations may be deferring some tracking cookies until after a user clicks to accept to the site’s terms for using their data — a factor the report’s authors attributed to the drop in average third-party cookies per page. Sites also may have undergone a GDPR-inspired clean-up, ridding their sites of out-of-date features and code, which could also have contributed to the drop-offs.

Marketers don’t trust their supply-chain partners
It’s no secret that the weeks leading up to the GDPR enforcement deadline in May became one massive game of pass the liability. Only 20 percent of 255 brand marketers recently surveyed by marketing tech vendors Demand Metric and Demand Base are confident that their mar-tech vendors won’t expose them to legal risks if they’re not GDPR compliant.

Source of chart: Demand Metric and Demand Base.

A resurgence for contextual targeting
Just under 80 percent of 500 decision-making brand marketers across Europe and the U.S. believe GDPR will make targeting audiences using third-party data more difficult, according to research from ad tech firm Sizmek. But contextual targeting can help fill the gap, for now at least. In fact, 87 percent of marketers said they plan to increase contextual targeting in the next 12 months, while maintaining personalized advertising where possible, according to the same report.

Source of chart: Sizmek

Smaller ad tech companies lose ground to duopoly
Unsurprisingly, it’s the smaller players that were always more likely to be affected by GDPR. Although partly dreamed up in order to slow the pace of growth of the dominant U.S. platforms, particularly Facebook and Google, many industry experts believe GDPR has inadvertently handed them more power. The prevalence of third-party social media services on news sites has fallen: Facebook’s presence across news pages examined by RISJ has dropped from 75 to 70 percent between April and July. Smaller ad tech companies were also used less for tracking by publishers.

Source of chart: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

Many U.S. sites wait it out
U.S. news sites have had a different experience with GDPR then European sites. Two months after the law’s enforcement, more than 1,000 news publishers chose to block European visitors from their sites. According to research from ad tech firm Catchpoint, the U.S. version of USA Today’s site had an average web-page load time of 9.9 seconds following GDPR’s implementation. The version in the U.K. loaded in 0.42 seconds, 0.75 seconds in France and 0.51 in Germany. Those faster load times are attributed to the removal of most external third-party features such as ad servers, Google services and analytics, and social media plug-ins. Ad rates have increased 10 percent in the U.S. since May 25 and dropped in Europe, according to research from analytics firm Ezoic.

Source of chart: Ezoic

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