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Factual’s Findings from Cannes Lions 2018

Cannes Lions, the yearly festival and world’s stage for creative communications and marketing, came and went last week, and the Factual team was on the ground to learn from, and share our knowledge with, the best of the best in the industry.

Though it was quieter on the Croisette than in years past, countless conversations took place on stages and in meeting rooms throughout the city, as the most influential minds joined to examine the industry and forge a path forward in today’s complex media, marketing and technology industries.

While some of our team rose early to cruise the streets of Cannes on 14 mile bike rides, and others stayed out through the after (sometimes after-after) parties, we all returned with a better feel for what’s happening around the world and a sense that there’s a clear path toward success, for Factual and for our partners.

Below are three themes we saw emerge, and our key takeaways on how to act upon them.

Cannes Lions was founded to celebrate creativity, which continues to be the central theme of the week, especially as the definition of creativity has evolved since the festival’s inception. This year, we saw a sharp focus on the creative application of data to improve both campaign success and consumer experience.

Discussing “Creativity in the 21st Century” at a session hosted by Fiverr along with representatives from Google, Outfront Media and Mediapost, Ocean Fine, our VP of agencies and strategic partnerships, identified the need for data to personalize creative messages. “Being smart about data and putting the right message in front of the right person is critical,” she said, especially as consumers increasingly demand more tailored messages. Her key piece of advice? “Use data upfront to understand an audience, and don’t be afraid to test and learn.”

Factual’s Finding: The combination of data and insight applied to creative messaging is what leads to real results.

While Google and Facebook both have an incredible presence in Cannes meant to invite marketers in, the reality is, the threat the platforms pose is even greater than the good time they offer. The recently released Factual Location Based Marketing Report showed that concerns about the duopoly are driving online advertisers to seek alternatives.

Our founder Gil Elbaz discussed this further on a Daily Dose session hosted by MediaLink. “Data offers an incredible opportunity to leverage insights from real-world behavior,” he said. Much of that data is trapped within the walled gardens of the duopoly, though, and the only way to drive innovation – in marketing and beyond – is to utilize data that is democratized and available broadly. “Data powers innovation, and content should complement consumption,” said Gil.

Factual’s Finding: Brands are waking up to the fact that the rise of the digital duopoly of Google and Facebook has come with a cost, and alternative sources of data could be the counter.

It’s safe to say that nearly every discussion that took place at Cannes involved GDPR in one way or another. The industry as a whole is concerned about a slowdown in Europe, but the consensus on the ground is it’s too soon to tell what immediate impact the regulation has had, and how soon business will recover.

The good news is that GDPR-compliant data is still readily available in EU countries, and Factual is still utilizing it for sophisticated geotargeting campaigns on behalf of our clients. What’s more, we have additional products, like our Engine SDK, that help publishers and other apps tap into location data and allow it to remain on-device, offering a privacy-safe way to leverage the first party data collected.

Factual’s Finding: Business in Europe forges ahead, as we find innovative ways to use data to reach and serve the right audiences.

That’s a wrap on Cannes 2018 — we’ll see you next year on the Croisette!