Stephan Loerke looks back at 2018 and what it meant from a brand owner's perspective
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2018 was the year of ‘techlash’, as The Economist dubbed it, where big legitimate questions arose over what some social media platforms are doing with people’s online data. Data transparency is now no longer just an issue preoccupying a handful of regulators and privacy groups; it has gone mainstream and entered the global consumer consciousness. Cambridge Analytica will forever change the way in which people scrutinise how companies collect people’s personal data.
2018 was equally the year of GDPR. We are very conscious of the fact that getting ‘GDPR ready’ has been a long and complex journey for most. But few in our industry can disagree with the regulation’s worthy ambition of giving individuals more control and transparency when it comes to their personal data. Ultimately moving to a people-first, rather than data-first mindset is going to be the only way to create a sustainable online marketing ecosystem built on trust.
Finally, it was the year that #metoo collided with the marketing industry. The interwoven issues of gender and diversity representation and portrayal have reached a new level and are here to stay.
These challenges will be our key priorities as we head into 2019.
The WFA Global Media Charter sets out what brands think needs to change in the online advertising ecosystem for it to be sustainable. It provides the global framework through which we will seek to inspire and support local action. Data transparency - for brands, the online supply chain and, critically, our customers - is going to become ever more important. The ongoing challenges of transparency, brand safety, ad fraud and viewability will remain top of mind for global brands.
Meanwhile, the role of the industry in driving gender and ethnic equality provides an unparalleled opportunity for the marketing industry to lead positive change.
There is a lot on our plate in 2019 but it promises to be exciting and one full of challenges.