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Cannes Lions 2018: Three Key Takeaways

  • - LiveRamp
  • 3 min read

Cannes Lions 2018 has come to a close. The Lions are all announced, and everyone’s recovering from their collective marketing (and, probably actual,) hangovers. Congratulations to the winners!

But if you’ve ever been to Cannes Lions—or are simply savvy enough to read this insider blog—you’ll know that the real winners aren’t just those who walked away with an award. It’s those who were able to talk to the industry’s best and learn a thing or two about the state of marketing today. Here are my top three insights from Cannes Lions 2018.

Insight 1: GDPR is having a clear impact on marketers and tech.

Google and Facebook were served with a potential combined $9.3 billion fine on day one of GDPR, so everyone is playing it safe. The verdict is still out on just how good GDPR will be for consumers, but it’s definitely going to impact the way marketers work, given that most will have less access to data than they had before.

This is especially true for ad tech, as many are worried about the future of the entire industry. Verve shut down their European business in response to the regulation, and many are treading lightly as we see the regulation start to be enforced.

But GDPR is here to stay, and we as an industry have to adjust to that. Even more, we have to prepare for what regulatory legislation is coming next, and remember why GDPR was put into place. Which brings us to my second key insight from Cannes Lions 2018…

Insight 2: Data is integral to marketing—but we haven’t done a great job of demonstrating value to consumers.

Consumers don’t trust brands to use big data, and breaches of trust from this year haven’t done a lot to bridge that gap.

But if the Cannes Lions 2018 winners of the Creative Use of Data categories show us anything, it’s that consumers do like it when marketers use data to deliver personalized ad experiences. Brands need to work harder to prove value to consumers and uphold high standards for ethical data usage for years to come if we’re going to earn back consumer trust—and even more importantly, if marketers want to continue using data in the future.

Regulations like GDPR can be seen as a step in the right direction, but industry groups are needed as well to ensure that everyone is using data in ethical and responsible ways, or else risk tarnishing the reputation of all marketers.

Insight 3: Identity is more about all devices—including TV.

I actually heard this from more than one large brand that I talked to: identity is becoming increasingly important in how they target, measure, and personalize their campaigns. And this doesn’t end at digital campaigns: we’ve passed the tipping point where advanced TV can be used by advertisers at scale.

Marketers have been claiming to be cross-channel for a long time, but they’ve been turning a blind eye to one of the most powerful channels. This is because of a mistaken perception that TV is separate from digital, that it’s impossible to measure, or that personalization at scale is unachievable.

But the technology is there, and brands are feeling the pinch to catch up. The good thing about the TV scramble is that brands are realizing they need to get their houses in order, hopefully enough to also prove value to their customers (see insight 2). By taking the steps to bring TV fully into the omnichannel fold, they’ll also set themselves up for better success across channels—and that’s worth the effort.

Bonus insight: Get on a rooftop—and not one that’s on your schedule.

Trust us, you deserve a breeze. Extra points if you can find one on the Croisette, like our penthouse at the Le Gray D’Albion.

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