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  • Writer's pictureBhagyeshwari Chauhan

GDPR and The Digital Peddle: How GDPR will Transform Digital Marketing

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

With the world becoming more data-centric and digitization burgeoning into every aspect of our lives, the amount of publicly available data has increased several folds. We are currently into the era of Big Data, where a huge amount of data is finding its way towards valuable insights for various businesses. One of the industries which heavily leverage data-based insights is Digital Marketing, one of the widespread utilization of behavioral data. It is essentially used to target specific ads that are headed straight to the consumer based on our online behavior and our activities on the internet.

However, with the enforcement of GDPR, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation post-May 2018, businesses cannot accumulate data with the freedom they did before.

The regulation ensures the protection of individual’s or citizen’s personal data and also introduced the right to “erasure”, or a withdrawal of consent. The digital marketing ventures are dealing with

a strenuous time adhering to these regulations while finding marketable insights to enhance business operations.

How Do Digital Marketing Companies Work with Data?

To customize their marketing efforts, companies (digital marketing) collect data from digital footprints consumers leave online. This data is collected, cleaned, analyzed and sometimes stored by them. Based on the activity that users perform online, companies observe their likes and dislikes and then send them targeted ads.

If someone is searching the internet for an XYZ celebrity’s information, it is highly likely that they would get ads relating to the products of which he/she is a brand ambassador of. This way, brands advertise their products using online user’s digital footprints.

Transformations in Digital Marketing succeeding GDPR

All these were prior to the implementation of GDPR.

This information or ads that are sent to us is based on the data that was collected initially. But now, a consumer has more control over data sharing and can decide what information can be gathered by the online marketers. Hence, a considerable challenge that is faced by digital marketing companies after the enforcement of the regulation is lack of data collection. Organisations may not get as much data as they would have hoped for.

This has led digital ventures to now think upon how to send those targeted ads to the customers.

Today, Google is the digital superpower and almost every website has integrated with Google’s services. Google also has a sway over our activities. It keeps a track about day-to-day happenings in the user’s life: the apps we use, places we visit, routes we follow, etc. As soon as we step into a restaurant, we get a notification from Google Maps requesting a review of the place visited. In this manner, the restaurant gets a review and Google services are operated.

But now with updates in the privacy policy, what information the user is likely to share is totally dependent on him/her. In the above case, the restaurant will only get its review if the customer wants to. Not only sharing of data but also if any time in future the consumer wished to erase or withdraw the data he/she has already permitted earlier the companies will have to go with the consumer’s convenience abiding by the law. As a consequence, this manifested another grievance in online marketing. Even the celebrated apps and organizations like Facebook has the provision to download all the data that we have on Facebook.

The condition giving rise to agitation among marketers is the regulation of consent for collecting data. GDPR puts a restriction over the information that is assembled. Therefore, this reduces company’s reliance on behavioral data. Tracking and managing data is a provocation encountered by the digital marketing operations after the imposition of Act of Consent.

Secondly, automation has also transformed the platform of digital advertising to a difficult level. The prohibition of automated-decision making (also predictive-decision making) has raised many complications on the ongoing popular digital marketing. The companies apply certain procedures called algorithms on the data to produce information. Subsequent to the EUGDPR, where data collection is a challenging issue, the concerned enterprises are facing inconvenience in generating inferences (user’s possible actions in future). That being the case, it is making targeted ads more troublesome.

5 ways GDPR will change Marketing

Van Uyten defines how user content for private data utilization must be given, which is “by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, agreement to personal data relating to them being processed.”

Marketing will experience an alteration in this era of GDPR. Here’s how:

1. Restrictions on Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing has a major contribution in the managing of digital marketing businesses. But post-GDPR, it has tuned up by leaving the marketers in a strenuous condition.

With GDPR, Inbound marketing will be attainable with some conditions. The company will have to extract direct consent from the consumers on how the data can be used. Simply, ‘opt-in’ method will be incorporated. The undertakings will have to vividly report on how are they utilizing the personal data.

2. Managing Data & Consent

The user’s consent is no more a one time deal. Not only the users will have the right to change the consent they have given but also to withdraw their share anytime they face a change of mind.

Hence, a challenge is faced by the marketers in managing and controlling all this data.

Therefore, a platform or process to smoothen the change must be the concern of the hour for the companies.

3. No more temptation by Database Providers

Databases like email addresses, phone numbers and also home addresses were provided to the marketers on the return of a handsome amount. But in the GDPR regulated marketing world, this potentially shady exercise will be eradicated.

The practice of explicit consent will run the show. The marketers will be answerable for the databases and all the information related to it.


4. Changes in Online Marketing

Marketing by ads on the internet (especially social media) is one of the keys to the successful advertising and operations of the firms.

From May 2018 onwards, a pattern of change is observed in this field. If companies are unable to gather explicit consent from its users, the formulated way of re-targeting has to be taken forward.

According to Van Uyten “marketing automation as a whole will get a lot more difficult to implement correctly.”

5.  Analytics will be of little help

Limitation of web analytics is one of the biggest drawback enforced by GDPR. Tools like google analytics provided an overview of data of the users. But now the marketers cannot store the data without consent.

Consent will also be required by the companies to derive personas. Also, the companies will have to remove the user’s data in the case of any withdrawal consent of the consumer in future.

Subsequent to the EUGDPR, where data collection is a challenging issue, concerned enterprises are facing inconvenience in generating inferences (user’s possible actions in future). That being the case, it is making targeted ads more troublesome.

According to Neil Michel, Chief Strategy Officer at Sacramento, a California-based digital agency Wire Stone, “GDPR will indeed force marketers to reduce the total number of targetable profiles across web and email, but in turn, that will increase the quality of profiles across digital channels.”

From the above-stated aspects, we can conclude that the effect of GDPR on digital marketing channels or enterprises has proven distressing yet progressive. Online marketers will have no choice but to evolve thereby resulting in an effectual and productive expansion. Not only the digital marketing undertakings are affected but one cannot deny that they are hard hit in particular by the approved and enacted law. A solid plan and action for the growth of their businesses should be a final imperative call.

Need data insights for your marketing needs? Contact us at Datahut, your Big Data experts

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