Targeting consent is a publisher/vendor team effort

Retargeting companies were in the industry trade headlines last week, as a couple of the leading retargeters had made efforts to allow users to opt into having their data collected. There are a few timely issues these companies are trying to address—Apple’s limits on the amount of time it’s acceptable to use third-party tracking cookies in the Safari browser, and of course a bunch of stuff around the coming implementation of GDPR. But frankly it does seem like these efforts to obtain consent for tracking are early efforts, and should be clearer in order to get users on board.

AdRoll and Criteo specifically made the news – both had been serving messages to users as they were browsing. AdRoll’s message box encouraged users to click on the page to allow AdRoll to collect their data across different sites. Criteo’s asked users to click on any link in the message box to, as the message said, “use Criteo’s user-friendly, cross-site tracking technology to get relevant offers from reputable brands.”

It’s wise that both companies are making moves toward gaining consent. User consent for being tracked across sites is good for user experience. And with GDPR coming, it’s going to be crucial to get that consent for any digital company with any audience in the E.U. at all.

Experts have interpreted the GDPR regulation to hold that most digital marketing and advertising activities online that involve tracking user behavior will probably require user consent. And under GDPR, data processors and data owners – that is to say, both publishers and their vendor partners – are equally accountable if either makes a misstep with user data. Make sense?

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