After the looming final deadline for compliance with new European data privacy legislation, advertisers will find it harder to measure their campaigns and will return to a more traditional method of placing their ads.

That is the view from the boss of one of the leading ad-tech platforms, Sizmek CEO Mark Grether.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Grether discusses the European Commission’s new General Data Protection Regulation, which must be adhered to by companies around the world by May 25.

“I’m actually quite worried about GDPR,” Grether says. “As a consumer, will I actually have, in the future, more choice, or will the choice be limited because only a few big players will survive?”

The new GDPR updates prior consumer data protection rules in a significant way. Amongst other stipulations, measures include:

  • tighter consent conditions for the collection of citizens’ data.
  • consumers can instruct companies to stop processing their data.
  • automated decision-making and profiling decisions must be made clear.
  • consumers can request decisioning by automated processes be stopped and handled by a human instead.
  • they have the right to request an explanation of automated decision-making.
  • they can request free access, rectification and deletion of data.

The implications seem profound for a marketing industry that has grown up around collecting user behavior data, often unseen, to better and better target messages.

“First and foremost, you will see a renaissance of contextual targeting, which basically means that the ads will be mapped for the context in which the ads are served,” Grether says.

That echoes a view many in ad-tech are expressing – that, in a world which has become used to pumped-up, super-targeted ads powered by incredible tracking and targeting capabilities, the brakes are about to be slammed on. But Grether believes machine learning algorithms will pick up some of the slack.

“You will have much scarcer (audience) datasets in Europe,” he says. “And, as such, what you will see is that AI technologies will be differentiated in the future.

“There are few (vendors) who can actually create media efficiencies and create performance with little data points – those are the ones who will see great demand going forward.”

Grether believes even measuring ad campaigns is about to become a lot more of a pain: “One of the great things about online performance campaigns in the past was that you could easily measure them. So if that is going to be relatively harder than it was in the past.”

But he thinks his own Sizmek is set fair to be able to deliver post-GDPR, thanks to having acquired AI-driven Rocket Fuel and operating its Peer39 context engine.

This video is part of our series on the preparation and anticipated impact GDPR on the digital media world. The series is presented by Criteo. Please visit this page for additional segments.