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Consent Management Platforms: Are Your Ads Compliant?

September 9, 2021

User information is one of the most valuable commodities available to publishers and advertisers. However, data privacy concerns continue to mold digital advertising laws, and publishers must adapt to these changes. One critical way to keep your ads compliant and protect your revenue is to use a consent management platform.

In this article, we’ll go over:

  • What is a consent management platform?
  • How does the platform work?
  • Do you need a CMP, and why?
  • The benefits of using a CMP.
  • The consequences of not using CMPs.

Let’s start with a quick overview of what consent management platforms are and how they work.

What Is a Consent Management Platform?

As most advertisers and publishers know, users prefer to view relevant ads that cater to their interests. To ensure that ads are personalized to a visitor, advertising platforms, websites, and browsers use cookies to collect user data and track online activity. However, as data privacy issues grow, doing this without a user’s consent can land you in trouble with the law.

Essentially, a consent management platform, or CMP, is a system that allows publishers to get consent, keep their ads compliant, and avoid problems with GDPR and CCPA privacy laws. Most CMPs also work within IAB’s consent framework.

Once you’ve received consent, you’ll be allowed to collect and use visitor information without violating any data privacy laws.

How Does a Consent Management Platform Work?

A CMP typically works in three steps; first, the system will inform visitors that a publisher’s website collects their information. A user may either allow or deny the collection and use of their data. Next, the system will keep a record of which users gave consent. You may be able to view the information in your CMP dashboard, including:

  • The email, cookie, or device ID of the user who gave consent.
  • A timestamp of when they gave permission.
  • The ads or categories to which the user agreed.
  • Whether users have decided to withdraw their consent. 

Finally, the CMP will process any data requests from third parties like your ad vendors. Additionally, if users decide to change their minds and withdraw consent, the system will erase their information.

What Are GDPR and CCPA?

We’ve already mentioned the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The first is a data privacy protection law specifically designed for residents of the European Union and the EEA. It legally protects the information of all users that fall within these regions.

The CCPA is similar but only applies to people who live in California. If you cater to an international audience or users in the USA, you’ll need a system that’s compliant with this act.

Since there’s no universal standard for privacy laws, most publishers and advertisers follow these data privacy regulations.

Do You Need to Use a CMP?

While it may depend on your country and your audience, it’s better to be safe and protect yourself legally. Having a consent management platform is critical if you collect any form of user information, whether to deliver ads, use analytics, or send personalized newsletters. In short, if you’re a publisher with a monetized website, you need a CMP to keep your advertising complaint.

The Benefits of Using a Consent Platform

There are several benefits to using a consent management platform. These include:

  • Automatically storing a consenting user’s information and filtering out those who don’t.
  • Allowing users to agree to specific ads, data collection activities, or advertising vendors while denying others.

Most importantly, if it’s compliant with GDPR and CCPA regulations, a CMP can protect you from a data privacy violation lawsuit.

Not Using a Cmp: the Consequences

Modern users are incredibly protective of their information, whether for digital marketing or analytical purposes. Additionally, data breaches are a high risk for anyone collecting user information.

By using a consent management platform, publishers can safeguard themselves against the legal repercussions of a data breach or illegal data marketing. If you have the technical capabilities, you can build a consent management solution. However, most small to medium publishers either work with an out-of-the-box solution or use the CMP provided by their ad network or exchange.

Consent Management Solutions

Now that you know you need a CMP, you may be wondering where to get one that meets your needs. Luckily, you do have a few options. For example, Google already uses a stringent consent system that will deliver only blank ads if users don’t allow publishers to store or access their information. While some SSPs can fill these blanks, the practice is highly frowned upon.

You can also buy an existing solution and implement it on your website. However, setting up the platform can be a tricky and technical exercise. Considering how costly mistakes can be, it may be better to work with a professional to install and set up the system.

Finally, you can work with an ad network or monetization partner with a built-in consent management system. This is the ideal solution, particularly if you work with a partner like Rev·Amp, who can give publishers access to several different ad sources.

Conclusion

Data privacy is a significant global issue and, as more people clamor for the safety of their personal information, laws will likely become stricter. As countries continue to demand that websites disclose when they’re collecting user information, publishers will need to use a consent management platform to keep their site and ads compliant with international laws.

Some ad networks and monetization partners already include CMPs as part of their solutions. However, if you’re SSP, exchange, network, or partner doesn’t use a consent platform, it’s a good idea to explore alternatives to minimize the risk to you and your site and revenue.

is a digital advertising performance expert and the Director of Rev•Amp at Softonic. As a business unit leader, Fréderic is responsible for the monetization and the success of the Softonic Publisher Network. Within Rev•Amp, Fréderic oversees Product, Business Development, and Account Management functions.
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