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Digital Marketing and the Challenges of GDPR

The ongoing shift to a global economy based in cyberspace has inspired a number of laws and regulations governing the ways digital advertisers can use consumer data. One of the most important of these laws is the EU’s GDPR, which creates several challenges for digital marketing professionals. 

What Is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a 2018 data protection law enacted in the European Union (EU). The law aims to strengthen data protection for EU residents, giving them greater control over their personal data and how it is processed by businesses and organizations. 

Under GDPR regulations, business entities must: 

  • Get explicit consent from a user before collecting, storing, or processing any of their personal digital data
  • Give consumers full rights to access and control the personal data collected
  • Not share consumer data with third parties
  • Use data only for clearly authorized purposes
  • Store data only as long as necessary

Although an EU law, GDPR applies to all international entities that handle the personal data of EU residents. Failure to comply with the standards of GDPR could lead to financial penalties and damage to reputation.

How GDPR Affects Digital Marketing

Digital marketing relies on customers’ personal data to create targeted marketing campaigns. Information such as name, age, gender, location, and even online browsing habits can offer a valuable snapshot of a consumer’s shopping preferences. All this data makes it easier for marketers to craft effective campaigns, but the need to conform to GDPR can complicate these efforts.

Here are just a few examples of how GDPR can impact digital marketing:

  • Individuals must opt in to receive targeted ads based on personal data, which means marketers cannot try to tailor emails, web banner ads, or mobile ads to anyone unless they have explicitly agreed to it.
  • When developing content, marketers can use data only from those who have consented previously.
  • Marketers cannot assume continued consent or keep data longer than needed, and will need to regularly update recipient lists for emails, texts, etc.
  • Because marketers can’t share data freely, anything involving protected data must be handled in-house.

How to Stay GDPR Compliant

GDPR compliance is crucial for businesses handling personal data. Here’s how you can ensure you’re following the regulations.

  • Make sure you fully understand the GDPR requirements, including the legal definitions of personal data, data processing, and consent.
  • Conduct a thorough audit of your current practices for data collection, processing, and storage.
  • Review and update your privacy policy as needed to ensure it is transparent and comprehensive.
  • Make sure that all digital marketing efforts include getting clear and explicit consent from individuals before collecting or processing their personal data. This might include prompts for opting in to emails, allowing targeted website ads, etc.
  • Implement security technology and business practices to prevent unauthorized data access, loss, or sharing.
  • Be prepared to give users access to their personal data, including providing ways to correct, delete, or download it. 
  • Have a plan in place for reporting and handling any data breaches that may occur.
  • Train all employees on GDPR best practices and compliance.
  • Keep thorough, well-organized records of everything you do with users’ personal data.
  • Schedule regular audits of your company and systems to make sure you are still GDPR compliant.

Revamping Your Marketing Strategy for GDPR Compliance

Digital marketing strategies need to be carefully designed around GDPR compliance. Here are some tips to help your marketing campaigns stay compliant.

  • Design a clear interface for getting informed consent.
  • Make sure all digital marketing also offers an opt-out mechanism, such as an “unsubscribe” or “stop seeing targeted ads” link.
  • Segment your audience into consenting and non-consenting groups to ensure targeted campaigns are deployed only to those customers who have opted in.
  • Make sure marketing emails, landing pages with targeted ads, etc., include standard privacy policy text and clear instructions for customers to opt out or manage data.
  • For consumers who do not opt in to targeted ads, consider implementing context-based ads that use current session activity instead of personal data history.
  • Maintain full transparency and provide notices as needed for policy updates.

Protecting Consumers With the Right Data

The GDPR raises important questions about consumer protection and data privacy, including with regard to where you as a company acquire your data. Companies must obtain consent for data collection and processing regardless of where that data comes from.

If you’re buying data from a third-party certified data broker, you are still considered responsible for customer consent. If it turns out the data you purchased was not collected with explicit, informed consent, you could face serious penalties.

One of the best ways to ensure privacy, protect consumer data, and avoid compliance problems for your company is to focus on using first-party data that you collect directly. 

Using your own data gives you full control over how it is collected, stored, accessed, and used. First-party data also tends to be more accurate than third-party data, and it can bolster consumer confidence by allaying fears of privacy loss.

AdBeacon Is a Powerful First-Party Data Solution

AdBeacon is a digital advertising solution that uses first-party data to help you properly monetize your content and reach your target audience more effectively. Because we rely solely on first-party data, AdBeacon ensures GDPR privacy compliance and provides even more accurate targeting.

Book a demo today to discover how AdBeacon can help your company succeed and stay compliant.