Introducing: GDPR-compatible SmartAds Attribution
by Christian Buckler · February 03, 2022

Digital advertising entered a new era with the European Union’s adoption of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2016, formalizing a transition toward stricter privacy controls around the world.

Regulations like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have been valuable steps toward privacy-first advertising, but they also create complexity for advertisers as they work to meet these regulatory requirements. And while we’ve seen tremendous growth in international podcast creation, this complexity has been a limiting factor in monetization for international creators: simply put, they haven’t had the tools and data points they need to thoroughly prove out podcasting’s value for direct-response advertisers.

Today, we’re announcing a new GDPR-compatible version of SmartAds to help tackle this problem: a new iteration of Chartable’s industry-leading tech, tailored specifically for the GDPR context.

Why does GDPR require a different approach?

GDPR specifies requirements on the acquisition, storage, transfer and use of personal data relating to EU citizens. This means that traditional pixel-based attribution services which make use of a third-party device graph—including Chartable and other companies commonly used in the U.S.—would be non-compliant with the legislation as long as the device graph partner is involved.

Historically, our solution to this has been pretty straightforward: don’t do anything! In normal SmartAds, while we might receive data from locations governed by GDPR, we don’t process it—we simply set that data to the side. However, that means advertisers operating primarily or exclusively in those locations simply can’t get the same value out of Chartable as their peers in the U.S.

With this new solution, we’ve reworked some components in the SmartAds backend to generate attribution signal without the use of a third-party partner, and added new contractual measures to meet the requirements of GDPR.

How GDPR-compatible SmartAds differs from traditional SmartAds

At a high level, our methodology works by “connecting the dots” between ad impressions and website or app activity (more info here). In the new GDPR-compatible option, those inputs remain the same, but Chartable runs our own filtering without connecting to a third-party graph. Our GDPR-compatible system will filter IP addresses for noise and by connection type, and apply advertiser-specific multipliers based on the trends our system sees in the advertiser data.

Removing the device graph may mean our system can’t see 100% of the conversion connections (which is why we’ll continue working with a device graph in the U.S.) but we’re confident that the methodology will still provide critical attribution context for international audiences.

Additionally, all advertisers launching with GDPR-compatible attribution will complete some additional paperwork:

  • The advertiser will need to sign a specific Data Privacy Agreement (DPA) between Chartable and the advertiser.
  • Chartable’s ops team will also coordinate with the advertiser team to confirm if additional agreements need to be placed on the publisher side, based on the specifics of the media plan.

Reporting will look identical to the current SmartAds experience—and nothing will change for existing teams already using SmartAds with LiveRamp.

Getting started

We’re currently enrolling advertisers on a case-by-case basis! Contact [email protected] to learn more.

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