LONDON: More than a month since the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced, new research suggests that up to 90% of ad tech companies could be denied access to consumer data in a worst case scenario.

At the same time, new entrants to digital advertising, such as mobile phone operators and other telcos, could find themselves well-positioned, while the “duopoly” of Google and Facebook look set to continue obtaining consumer consent.

These are some of the key findings from a new study conducted in the UK in the week before the GDPR came into force on 25 May 2018.

Tech firm Smartpipe and PSB Research tested more than 1,200 British adults about whether they would give permission for the use of their personal information under a series of replicated scenarios.

The study identified three different consent-gathering experiences, which are described as “Full Transparency”, “Layered” and “New Entrant”.

Under the “Full Transparency” scenario, where consumers were asked to give consent to each ad tech vendor, on average only 10% of vendors ended up obtaining permission to use consumer data for personalised ads.

Without directly saying so, the report seemed to suggest that, ironically, consent levels drop the more transparent a company tries to be under the GDPR guidance.

However, consumers were found to be more likely to opt in to allowing their data to be used by the likes of Google and Facebook, which both received a minimum 28% share of consent.

Turning to the “Layered” scenario, the research found that an average of 45% of consumers said they would trust a publisher to use their data, but when then told that could mean up to 60 third-party partners seeing their information, the level of support dropped to 29%.

Interestingly, opt-in rates for new entrants, such as mobile phone operators, supermarkets and banks, averaged 56% when the “New Entrant” scenario was put to consumers.

But with the right data protection message from mobile operators – stressing investment in innovative privacy-enhancing technology coupled with a “no third party” proposition – consent levels rose to 83%.

Commenting on the findings, Rob Vance, VP at PSB EMEA said: “This is a really fascinating piece of research – we were able to model a number of different scenarios and understand how consumer behaviour is likely to change.

“What is clear is that companies will need to rethink how they approach permissions and start listening to consumers more before taking action.”

Sourced from PSB Research, Smartpipe; additional content by WARC staff