Europe's GDPR law was supposed to kill location-based advertising. Here's how one firm claims it has reworked its business to make it work.

Ross Webster, managing director of Europe at Factual

  • In April 2018, location data firm Factual shut down
    several of its European-based products because of legal concerns
    stemming from Europe’s General Data Protection
  • Factual said it cut by more than half the number of
    data companies it works with since then and is starting to pitch
    its products to European advertisers again.
  • Factual said it also reworked its contracts with
    European-based data providers to include specific guidelines about
    how data is collected.
  • The firm said it believed these steps would give it a
    leg up when the forthcoming California Consumer Privacy Act rolls
    out in January.

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A year into the European Union rolling out the General Data
Protection Regulation, or GDPR, location data firm Factual is
getting ready to expand in Europe.

The location data firm is one of a handful of advertising and
marketing tech firms that shut down part of its European business
ahead of the data-collection law being enforced. GDPR requires
businesses to explicitly get consumers’ consent before collecting
their data for ad targeting. Data firms that use location stats
from smartphones have been a particular
target of scrutiny
under the law.

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scrapped its European database
and stopped offering advertisers
its targeting, measurement and insight products. Developers and
publishers send location data from apps to Factual that advertisers
then use to create audience segments for targeting and measuring
campaigns. The firm cut more than half of the providers it works
with (which it didn’t name) and is relaunching its products in

To spearhead the expansion, Factual hired Ross Webster as
managing director of Europe. Webster was previously EMEA head of
data partnerships at IBM’s Watson Advertising.

 The company has a small office in London with seven employees,
and Ross said that by the first quarter of 2020, Factual would sell
all of its products to European advertisers and operate in a
handful of markets in continental Europe.

“There’s a pent-up desire for quality location data within
Europe,” he said.

Factual slashed its data partners

The firm has also put together a GDPR compliance program for
partners, including an auditing process and new terms and
agreements in contracts. Before a partner supplies location data to
Factual, the company’s privacy team vets a partner’s process of
collecting data to make sure that it meets GDPR’s requirements.
Partners also undergo audits on an ongoing basis, though Factual
did not provide further details about the timing of audits.

“We feel like we’re in a position where we can make available
these three products within Europe built off of a pool of
responsibly-sourced data,” said Brian Czarny, CMO of Factual.
“We’ll continue to add additional suppliers as we feel like there
are others in the market that are ready to do that.”

Scale is often a challenge for marketers with location-based
advertising, but Czarny said that wiping its European database to
build it again from scratch puts a bigger focus on collecting
high-quality data.

“We don’t expect for the scale to reach pre-GDPR volume,” he

Factual is trying to get ahead of US privacy regulation

Factual said it hoped that its work over the past year would
help it prepare for the forthcoming California Consumer Privacy Act
(or CCPA) that takes effect in January and which will put similar
restrictions to GDPR on how marketers collect and use data.

A crop of privacy-minded firms are
helping marketers comply with CCPA.

While CCPA and GDPR aren’t identical, both require marketers to
show consumers what data they collect and delete it if a consumer
requests for it to be deleted.

“What we’re doing with GDPR gives us a solid foundation to be
ready for upcoming regulation like CCPA,” Czarny said.

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Source: FS – All Tech News
Europe's GDPR law was supposed to kill location-based advertising. Here's how one firm claims it has reworked its business to make it work.