Thursday 19 September 2019

Data rules will let Google tighten grip

MarketPlace MD Noel Keely at its tasting event in Medley with former rugby international and bar owner Jamie Heaslip. Photo: Photocall Ireland
MarketPlace MD Noel Keely at its tasting event in Medley with former rugby international and bar owner Jamie Heaslip. Photo: Photocall Ireland

Michael Cullen

The arrival of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25 is being billed as a prized initiative in helping to protect consumers, particularly after the Facebook data scandal.

GDPR's set of laws aims to prevent websites from capturing and storing user data. But Mediaworks head of search and analytics Shane Lyons says GDPR could backfire.

Rather than forcing tech giants like Google and Facebook to surrender some control and step into line, GDPR may further strengthen the tech giants' dominance. When GDPR comes into effect, consumer consent in EU countries will become an opt-in rather than an opt-out - as some people are already noticing, with brand owners emailing and urging them to remain on their subscriber lists.

While most internet users accept that the ads they receive online are largely based on their search and web browsing history, few are aware of the extent to which Google tracks their online moves. Google boasts seven products with over a billion monthly users. The sizeable ecosystem of products helps capture and connect billions of pieces of information as users jump from search engine to maps service to Gmail and YouTube.

Google knows every location, every deleted search history, every workout routine, every app launched, every interaction - and even what time people go to sleep. Lyons says consumers would never share so much information with a bank or insurance company, so why are they giving so much to Google which, at the end of the day, is just another multinational corporate giant with a duty to shareholders to generate profits?

When GDPR was passed two years ago, Google and Facebook mobilised hundreds of lawyers, designers and engineers and created giant interdepartmental teams that smaller firms would find impossible to match. Core's Outlook report for 2018 would suggest that the two giants are expected to collect 58pc of all digital spend in Ireland this year.

Ruth Hughes of Kellogg’s. Photo: Sportsfile
Ruth Hughes of Kellogg’s. Photo: Sportsfile

Most of Google's revenue is generated from its AdWords search advertising platform. In Q1, ad revenue reached $26.6bn, which accounts for 86pc of all Google's earnings, with most of it derived from AdWords. Fortunately for the tech giants, search marketing will be the digital channel least affected by GDPR. Email and digital display will face challenges as they will require consumers to opt in to marketing pools, search marketing operates by showing relevant ads to users based on their search query. Lyons says the likely net outcome is that investment in search marketing will continue to grow - as will Google's dominance.

Ruth Hughes now heads up Kellogg's Irish operation following Jim McNeill's retirement. McNeill was the face of the US cereal and snacks marketer in Ireland for over 25 years. Hughes has been with Kellogg for 13 years, having joined from Boyne Valley. She has held various commercial roles and had a stint in the UK managing Kellogg's business with Asda and Morrisons. Hughes has just extended Kellogg's sponsorship of the GAA Cúl Camps. The new three-year deal is valued at around €1m.

Last year's camps saw a record 142,000 boys and girls, aged between six and 12, sign up - which is about one in four of the country's youngsters.

Musgrave is probably best known for its SuperValu and Centra stores, but a sizeable chunk of the Cork group's business is all thanks to its MarketPlace network in servicing food and drink orders placed by Ireland's bars and restaurants. To celebrate its latest offerings, MarketPlace hosted a six-course tasting menu dinner for customers and media in Dublin's Medley.

Marketing director Desi Derby said the special Discover menu was created by Musgrave's head chef Clement Pavie and included seafood from Laura Desmond's Oceanpath.

Kitchenaid is to sponsor the Design Clinic at the third annual House expo. INM sponsorship and events manager Cliona Carroll says Design Clinic's experts include Jackie Carton of Style My Room, Louise Higgins, Aspire Design, Anita Oakey of Aoki Interiors, Linda McNally, Clontarf Interiors and Yvonne Mulligan from Nine Yards Design. They will be on hand to offer guidance on avoiding pitfalls in planning renovations, room design, style counselling and budgeting. House is in the RDS from May 25-27.

Anyone interested in heading off on faraway exotic breaks may be chuffed to learn that Emirates Holidays will officially launch in Ireland next week, with destinations in the Middle East, the Indian Ocean, Asia, Africa and Australia. All inclusive-deals are available in the Maldives, Dubai, Malaysia and on Outback tours Down Under.

And finally ... An Post has appointed JWT Folk to handle its above-the-line activity and Javelin will work on below-the-line campaigns after a review. On the sponsorship front, An Post is replacing Bord Gáis Energy in supporting November's annual Irish Book Awards.

Michael Cullen is editor of;

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