GDPR – How Will It Affect Your Digital Marketing Efforts?

Data regulation has been a hot topic for marketers for years, however, the issue was really brought to light in the recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica fiasco.

Data regulation has been a hot topic for marketers for years, however, the issue was really brought to light in the recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica fiasco. As a result, the digital advertising industry has been abuzz about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and how this will affect the future of digital marketing. Although the regulations put into place on May 25, 2018 will primarily impact the European Union (EU), all publishers, advertisers and third-party technology vendors that serve EU customers must comply.

What is GDPR?

The general data protection regulation is an EU law that covers data privacy and protection for its citizens. While there are many sections to the law, the main components that matter most to advertisers is how the new law dictates the collection and use of consumer data. Failure to adhere to these laws can make a hefty dent in a business with fines up to 20 million euros or 4% of global profits. Advertisers who have efforts in the EU will need to keep these key issues in mind:

  • Personal data can only be utilized if the consumer has expressed consent.
  • Consumers now have the “right to be forgotten” meaning a consumer can be removed from any database or cookie pool.

How does this affect digital marketing in the U.S.?

We would be naive to say that the GDPR does not affect advertisers in the United States. The digital powerhouses (Facebook and Google) have parameters in place that ANYONE can opt out of having their personal data used. How this will truly impact tactics such as remarketing, behavioral or location history targeting in both display and social is not 100% clear. As of right now, this is what we know:

  • Any company that utilizes a user’s personal data in the EU must disclose their intent and receive consent from that user.
  • Users (even in the U.S.) are provided controls through which they can opt-in or out of the collection of certain types of data and ads personalization (i.e. personalized ads, web and app activity settings, location history). This is why many companies have been sending notifications recently that ask users to review the data that they can access.

So, what’s next?

The changes that will be enforced by GDPR will be a learning curve for everyone, not just in the EU. Although the U.S. will not see the decrease in cookie pools like the EU will, that does not mean that there will not be a trickle effect around the globe. Costs will likely go up, particularly in social and display where shrinking cookie pools will call for higher demand for engaged users. We suggest that businesses start to have the conversation now on how to best approach for these platforms strategically.

Ultimately, there is a silver lining. These audiences, although smaller, will likely improve in quality. As advertisers, we can use this to our advantage to refocus strategy on better content and higher quality targeting.

In order to be sure that your company is in full compliance with the GDPR, ANDERSON recommends seeking professional legal advice.

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