GDPR: Serving and flagging non-personalized ads to users in the EU using Google DFP

In response to GDPR, EU publishers (or any publisher with EU traffic) will be asking for the user’s consent before utilizing their data to personalize their ad experience through ad targeting starting May 25th 2018. For those publishers using Google’s DoubleClick ad server, Google announced some new API’s to pass user’s consent (whether yes or no) to the ad server.

If you want the full details, you can read Google’s detailed documentation on their Publisher help site titled “Ads personalization settings in Google’s publisher ad tags“.

GPT / googletag

If you’re using Google’s GPT tag, passing the user’s consent is set as follows:

googletag.pubads().setRequestNonPersonalizedAds(1); // 1=Yes, 0=No

To ensure ads aren’t triggered before consent (if that’s your strategy), make sure you’re disabling GPT’s initial load (this may be already set if you run header bidding):

googletag.pubads().disableInitialLoad();

AdSense or Ad Exchange

If you’re using AdSense or Ad Exchange tags, configure the following setting:

(adsbygoogle=window.adsbygoogle||[]).requestNonPersonalizedAds = 1;

To pause ad requests before user’s consent, set the following config:

(adsbygoogle=window.adsbygoogle||[]).pauseAdRequests = 1;

I believe after May 25th, Google will not trigger ads by default if pauseAdRequests isn’t set to 0, so make sure you set pauseAdRequests=0 if you intend to trigger ads by default for your site to run AdSense or Ad Exchange tags.

Fighting against malvertising with truly native ad exchanges

Ad exchanges today rely on so many third party vendors and middle men and that essentially removes a lot of control from underneath them leaving them exposed to vulnerabilities and quality issues. The rise of native ad exchanges, whether it’s for web or mobile apps, is definitely helping in the fight for better ads and against malvertisement (ad popups, mobile redirects, etc) and the way it’s achieving that is by enabling the exchange to fully own the advertiser’s creative.

That being said, it seems it’s hard for the digital advertisement industry to completely move away from the legacy mentality of standard banner advertisement formats that has been tarnishing the modern web for decades.

The internet has changed a lot since the 90s, can we please stop using those historic banner ad formats?

When internet publishers around the globe start taking the user more seriously and begin listening to their frustrations, that’s when they start thinking as a brand and not seeing their products and services from a revenue-first lens. That’s where native advertising shines. Native web advertising is a way that solves the current ad user experience problem, that’s aiding the usage of ad-blockers, as well as helps eliminate “bad ads”.

The native ad exchange simply provides the meta-data around a creative and it’s up to the publisher to present it to the user in a way that adheres to the exchange’s ad policies. Within the meta-data lives the creative assets that includes the title, image, description, video, etc. It’s then up to the publisher to combine that data to a creative template that either they have put together or provided by the exchange as a default template.

The end result is a custom and unique ad experience that fits and flows well with the publisher’s website layout and design.

With that unique experience comes a slew of benefits, but most importantly it achieves the following:

Removes banner blindness

Users have grown custom to the look and feel of the current web’s standard banner ads where they are consciously or subconsciously ignoring them as they navigate and surf the web. With truly native ads, users are offered unique ad experiences that follows the website’s design guidelines that attracts and/or engages the user’s attention.

Eliminates dozens of middle men and third party vendors

A typical web banner ad will load anywhere between 20 to 100+ external files (images, JavaScript, html, etc) usually through several “hops” or redirects within other exchanges, DSPs and advertisers. Most of those assets aren’t thoroughly quality controlled to fit within IAB’s standards and therefore leads to ad latencies, extensive bandwidth usage, and an overall bad user experience. With truly native ads, the exchange is only serving ad creative meta-data in the form of text across the channel and that’s a lot more responsive and efficient for publishers and users.

Today, we see the growth of native web advertising as a promising and positive sign thanks to many exchanges that have adopted the technology and have been promoting it for years such as Facebook, TripleLift, Sharethrough, AppNexus, Criteo, and Google’s Ad Exchange just to name a few.