The $1.2B privacy-based ad market you probably haven’t heard of
The growth of the ad-blocking bubble made it clear that advertising had crossed some sort of user experience red-line. Beyond the visual aspect, the sheer volume of personal data harvested by mainstream adtech platforms is pretty breathtaking.
The notion of anonymity and advertising has always seemed like a pipedream. Many critics of the upcoming GDPR data privacy laws in Europe say they’re completely unworkable and will break the entire online ad industry.
However outside of the mainstream media, a quiet revolution has been happening. The under-13/kids media sector, while transitioning from TV to digital, has become the biggest privacy-based ad market in the world.
The last media market to structurally shift from TV-based to digital-led, the kids sector has had data privacy compliance requirements in place for several years (initially through COPPA in the US but GDPR extends this to Europe). This has led to an enforced set of privacy-based ad standards for kids (no cookies, no persistent trackers) which has created an anonymous user-engagement model. This in turn has led to the emergence of the kidtech space, technology built specifically for this ‘zero-data’ environment.
Although technically niche, this is not a small market. PwC just released a report estimating the kids digital ad sector will be worth at least $1.2B by 2019.
Propelled by TV decline and an overwhelming migration to tablets and phones, the kids digital media space is now growing at ~25% per annum. That’s a lot of momentum behind privacy-based advertising.
It’s also interesting to see that as part of GDPR Germany chose to define the age of a child as 16 (versus 13 in the US), potentially setting in motion a significant increase in the size of this privacy-based media audience. Other countries are taking note, the chart shows a quick cheatsheet for how Europe is thinking about the age of child-protection online (a deeper breakdown is here).
Short-term, media companies are watching this space with curiosity. Long-term, this shift to privacy-based media for kids will create a wave of expectation about digital user rights that will crash into the mainstream media market as they get older.