No one will argue that big data can be advantageous to marketers. However, in recent years, there have been a growing number of privacy concerns about how this consumer behavioral data is being used. With the growth in social media advertising and paid search, a number of data brokers have entered the market to collect and analyze consumer data and sell the results to companies looking to improve their digital marketing efforts.
While privacy concerns surrounding the use of consumer data have been around for many years, the topic received a lot of heat earlier this year with the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal. Apparently, the personally identifiable information of more than 87 million Facebook users was given to Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based political, data analytics, and consulting firm. This Facebook data was allegedly used to influence voters' opinions based on the politicians that hired Cambridge Analytica. Naturally, the discovery that millions of Facebook users' data had become compromised led to public outcry, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with Congress to answer questions about the company's use and protection of user data.
What is the GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law that took effect in May of 2018 and applies to all companies that collect and use data belonging to European Union (EU) citizens. In the most simple terms, the GDPR will require companies to be more transparent about user data and give consumers more control over their data. While the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica Scandal is not the reason for the establishment of the GDPR, the timing for this sweeping new law to take effect amidst high concerns about data privacy seems appropriate.
Although the GDPR is an EU law, it's crucial that US-based companies understand that they're not exempt from Europe's new data privacy regulations. Even if a US-based company has no connection to the EU, the GDPR privacy rules would apply if the company collected data from a citizen of the EU. Given the wide variety of prospective customers that interact with your business online, you could very well collect data from a citizen of the EU without realizing it.
Businesses in violation of the GDPR will be subject to fines as high as 4 percent of the global turnover. However, with the law being new, businesses will likely be given some leeway in the beginning, assuming that they're working towards compliance.
How Will the GDPR Impact Your Digital Marketing Strategy Going Forward?
In light of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook announced that it will no longer give marketers access to targeting data from third-parties. This decision was made to increase transparency and give Facebook users some peace of mind that their personal information would not be mined by data brokers and sold to marketers. We can expect this trend to continue, meaning that marketers will have to target their ads going forward with less information.
Historically, social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have requested consent for data gathering and processing in their terms of service when users sign up. However, the GDPR requires that this user consent be active and must represent a genuine and meaningful choice. Therefore, a passive request for consent to gather and process data when a user signs up for a social networking platform will likely no longer be acceptable. Instead, businesses will have to modify the way that they ask permission to collect information.
Also, with the GDPR, citizens of the EU have the right to access, rectify, and erase data about themselves, which will impact the ability for marketers to target their audience online. Even though Facebook is a US-based company, the social media giant recently shared ways that users can change their privacy settings to protect their personal data.
The GDPR has only been effective since May 25, 2018, so we have yet to see a major impact to the way that digital marketing will be conducted going forward. However, given some of the trends that we've seen so far (removal of third-party targeting data, increased transparency, etc), the digital marketing space will likely become more equitable for all players in the future, especially for consumers.
How New York Ave Can Help
Being a forward-thinking creative agency, our team at New York Ave can help you develop a digital marketing strategy that will continue to benefit your business despite the GDPR laws while also increasing transparency and building trust with your audience.
Contact us to learn more about how the new GDPR compliance will impact your digital marketing strategy going forward and how you can still succeed with these new regulations.