In preparation for the new year, PerformanceIN continues its annual tradition of connecting with performance marketing experts to get their single biggest prediction for the industry in 2017.

In his piece, Jamie Evans-Parker, founder and CEO of wayve, explains why the industry needs to prepare for the changes the General Data Protection Regulation will bring when it becomes law in 2018.

At the start of 2016, we learned that current data practices were in for a seismic and permanent change when the European Commission approved a new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Initially, the move sparked a wave of speculation, led by concerns that stricter guidelines about how consumer information should be accessed, stored and deployed could be bad news for the digital advertising industry.

But now, as the day that GDPR becomes law — May 5, 2018 — draws closer, the time for conjecture has passed. Over the next year, the digital advertising industry must get its act together, face reality and grasp the positive opportunities that the GDPR will bring.

In 2017, instead of focusing on the potential drawbacks of the new regulations, advertisers will start to realise the benefits it will bring and view compliance as a welcome necessity. While the GDPR will give consumers greater power, including the right to ask for a clear explanation of how their data is obtained and to refuse permission to use it – it doesn’t follow that this will be detrimental to digital advertising.

Adblocking – the most difficult issue to face the industry in years – is the consumer’s response to intrusive, poorly targeted advertising. Through a new, open dialogue with consumers about why their data is collected and how it is used to tailor advertising to them, brands will be able to regain their trust and engagement. As consumers’ education about the web, and their understanding that it is only free due to advertising, develops, conversations will change and the idea of a more personalised experience will lead to a better exchange.

So, as the industry begins to prepare for May 2018, it will become apparent that this stronger focus on transparency is exactly what the industry needs.