What does GDPR mean for your Digital Marketing

‘GDPR’ is the latest buzzword in the digital industry – and not necessarily for any of the right reasons. Find out more about the acronym, and what it means for your online (and physical) business practices.

It’s been over a year since the digital marketing industry really started talking about the impact the new General Data Protection Regulation will have on companies and now, with the May 2018 deadline looming, it’s time to start heeding their warnings. GDPR is going to affect many online ‘best practices’ – including digital marketing campaigns; which means you need to ensure you’re reviewing a lot of your current and future activity.

What Is GDPR?

General Data Protection Regulations are designed to hold companies accountable for the way in which they hold and manager peoples personal data.

It is estimated that every person has a data connection with around 100m companies, meaning people can quickly become overwhelmed with the all information that various organisations throw at them. GDPR places restrictions on this.

How Will GDPR Affect Your Marketing?

Advertisers – expect to be greatly affected by these changes. A lot of current marketing practices go against peoples ‘right to be forgotten’, which means big changes need to be made. And if not there could be strict consequences, with huge fines at stake.

Not only will the ICO, the Information Commissioners Office who are responsible for GDPR, be monitoring companies’ practices, but the general public will also be encouraged to notify them of any bad practice. GDPR will be running their own marketing campaign, titled ‘Your Data Matters’, designed to remind the public of the new laws, meaning advertisers will need to be even more prepared.

What Action Can I Take?

  • Firstly, get yourself booked on to an upcoming GDPR seminar. There are an abundance of these popping up all over the country, or even online webinars which you can listen to. These will go into full detail on what to expect, and how to police your own activity to be GDPR compliant.
  • Next, make sure you have a full understanding of your own existing marketing campaigns. What level of tracking do you have on your website and activities? Who do you keep your data on? Why? With GDPR, all data you hold must be relevant, so it’s a good idea to have a full overview of your assets.
  • Prioritise consent. One of the main focuses of GDPR is on acquiring consent. One of the most obvious real-life applications of this is your email marketing databases. You need to give customers the option to opt-in to a marketing list. This means that forms which require users to tick a box if they don’t want to be contacted will no longer be a satisfactory method of consent.
  • Remember people’s right to be forgotten. You also need to make it as easy as possible for people to unsubscribe from your database lists. Once they’ve withdrawn consent or asked to be forgotten on your records, you need to delete their data (and be able to prove you can do so thoroughly).
  • Revisit your existing email database. How were the users on your mailing list compiled? If they were added as previous customers, but without specifically opting into a newsletter list, then you’ll need to review this. Try sending out an email to you list asking them if they want to opt back in to receive correspondence. Yes, your email database may take a hit but really, list sizes are simply a vanity metric. Instead it is engagement and interaction levels that you need to be looking out for, and any customer that happily wants to hear from you will choose to opt back in.
  • Don’t panic. Facebook and Google have remained entirely calm about GDPR, and both are assuring advertisers that they are following GDPR compliance. This means that the optimised remarketing lists and affinity audience tools they offer in Adwords and Business Manager are expected to continue as usual, without disruption.

Need help reviewing your current email marketing system? Get in touch today.