Acxiom is a data warehouse firm that sells consumer profiles to the world’s largest companies, available to advertisers and ad-tech platforms for advanced customer targeting.
In one big challenge, Facebook said it would shut Partner Categories, through which it allowed advertisers to target ads using customer profiles bought from data brokers like Acxiom. In another, Europe’s GDPR on May 25 introduces more stringent controls on the levels of consent required to process consumer data in this way.
But Acxiom CEO Scott Howe says he sees the silver lining.
“Consumer privacy is an important issue, for the entire industry,” Howe says in this video interview with Beet.TV. “But, it’s also an incredible opportunity.
“When we ask consumers their opinion, it’s amazing. Far more of them want to offer up their favorite brands, information about themselves, in an effort to have better experiences, and cultivate better relationships with the companies that they love, than want to opt out.
“What they don’t have, and what the industry needs to provide them, is increased visibility, and increased choice about how that information is used.”
Howe says he hopes to see methods that make consumers’ data-for-services trade-off an automatic expectation.
He says that would lead to better-quality information about customers and better consumer experiences in return.
So what about GDPR? The new European legislation introduces a host of new rights for consumers over the way their personal data is harvested, stored and processed, including a strict requirement that they must explicitly opt in for such things.
The new limits threaten to curtail some of the advanced ad targeting practices that have grown up around programmatic in the last five years. But Howe is trying to see the positives.
“GDPR is the first step in a journey,” he says. “And ultimately, what GDPR really accomplishes is, it gives consumers more visibility, and more choice.”
More than that, Howe expects similar policy to come ashore in the US – and he is actually advocating it applies in all states.
“We’re going to start to see GDPR type regulation occur here in the United States,” Howe continues. “We’re seeing that with the California ballot initiative. There are a variety of other initiatives contemplated at the state level.
“The intent behind each one of those legislations is good, it’s about visibility, choice, control. What I’d like to see is, rather than deal with a patchwork of individual state legislation, that we elevate the discussion to the federal level, and really try to land on a one-size-fits-all framework, such that we don’t have to deal with the tax created from 50 different states but, instead, deal with a uniform law, that spans all states.”
This video was recorded at the annual DMS conference presented by LUMA Partners.
This video is part of a series titled The Consumer First, a New Era in Digital Media presented by MediaMath. For more from the series, please visit this page.