2018 Year in Review

We’ve taken a look back at 2018 and compiled some of the most important moments in digital over the last year. Check out our recap before we head into 2019.

Media Giants Faced Even Bigger Scandals

Earlier this year, The New York Times launched an investigative report which revealed that Cambridge Analytica illicitly acquired the user data of millions of Facebook users for political use. Facebook has repeatedly found itself in hot water for various transgressions, spanning data privacy violations to disinformation of Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential Elections. Google faced its own set of issues as teams shared internal communications highlighting questionable practices and Google’s attempt to build a secret censored search engine for China.

Advertiser’s Protection Bureau

The 4A’s announced the launch of the Advertiser’s Protection Bureau at the 2018 Accelerate Conference. The organization, founded by executives from Dentsu Aegis Network, IPG Media Brands, and GroupM—to name a few, aims to change the way the industry tackles brand safety by encouraging agency collaboration.

GDPR Compliance & California’s Consumer Privacy Act

GDPR officially launched on May 25th, sending the industry into a frenzy as companies attempted to comply with the new law by the deadline.

Similar to Europe’s GDPR, California enacted the Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, one of the toughest privacy laws in the country. The law, which goes into effect in January 2020, will have major implications for US businesses. According to CMSWire, consumers:

  • Will be able to request a record of what types of data an organization holds about them and what they are doing with it
  • Will have the ability to object to the sale of their data, and businesses will have to put a special “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” button on their websites to make it easy for consumers to object
  • The law would be enforced by the Attorney General and result in a $7,500 fine per violation

It’s unlikely that GDPR and consumer privacy will cease making headlines in 2019 as the industry continues to improve upon existing industry practices and the laws that enforce them.

Digital Video ad Spend Surged in the US

According to eMarketer, video will make up 25 percent of US digital ad spend by the end of 2018, totaling $27.82 billion.  According to a recent Cisco report, digital video will account for nearly 80 percent of all internet traffic. These figures underline changing media consumption habits and video’s rapid takeover of consumer attention.

Net Neutrality

In late 2017, Net Neutrality policies, which banned broadband providers from slowing or blocking access to websites or charging higher fees for faster access, were repealed. Those that oppose net neutrality argue that the repeal will allow innovation to flourish as broadband networks will be incentivized to improve infrastructure, while those that oppose the repeal argue that broadband networks will have too much control over the internet and will actually stifle innovation as smaller businesses will not have the resources to pay for premium internet access or high priority lanes.

Supporters of net neutrality have until Friday, December 21, 2018, to reverse the repeal.

That concludes our 2018 year in review. Check back before the new year to find out what our CEO, Tod Loofbourrow, predicts for the future of digital advertising.


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