Image credit: InfoSecurity
So before we start worrying about ePrivacy, are there any lessons can learn from the beast that was GDPR? News of GDPR was first announced in 2016, allowing organisations at least two years to become compliant. However, it’s safe to say that with unclear and delayed guidelines from the ICO, many were left with unanswered questions until up to a month before the regulation was implemented. As people started to prepare, debate and worry about the implications, GDPR became one of the most talked about topics not only within the Direct Marketing/CRM industry but across sectors worldwide. Whether it was on the train, in the pub or even on football forums, it was hard to get away from overhearing conversations about the new 4 letter word. As the date drew closer, buzz around GDPR grew ever louder, with GDPR being searched for more times than even Beyoncé.
Source: Google Trends
But most surprising/annoying to some were the emails from brands who had rarely contacted them before, suddenly professing their undying love, through an endless barrage of “miss you” emails in a desperate attempt to minimise the impact of GDPR on their subscriber bases.
Image source: Twitter
And despite the numerous articles, wealth of GDPR memes, Spotify playlists and compulsory training modules, some companies (majority, notably US based) were not ready for May 25th and even blocked EU users from their sites.
So in a world post – May 25th, do people still care about GDPR? Google trends would suggest no, not really, with the GDPR hype dying down within a couple of weeks of implementation.
Then again, the word is still creeping in the shadows. With the CNIL (French data protection regulator) reporting a 50% increase in the number of data protection complaints and the Information Commissioner’s Office also seeing the number of complaints and breach notifications on the rise, it seems that the world is waiting for the first big GDPR fine.
However GDPR may already be impacting the economy, in yet untold ways. A report from London Economics estimated that “a strict interpretation of the GDPR could cause a loss of UK GDP of up to £14 billion due to additional hurdles to direct marketing only… Loss to UK GDP due to additional hurdles to online behavioural advertising could be up to £633 million”.
But it’s not all doom and GDPR-gloom, GDPR compliance does present an opportunity to improve customer engagement. Recent research from Marketo reveals that GDPR has had a positive impact on forecasts and targets for up 52% of businesses who took the opportunity to “ensure a level of efficiency in their marketing”. For companies who went down the explicit consent route (rather than using legitimate interest as the basis for marketing comms), many marketing databases post May 25th would have been cleansed of unengaged customers, thereby leaving brands with customers who actually want to receive communications from them. Theoretically this should have a positive effect not only on the brands’ engagement rates but also on organisations’ willingness to adopt new, innovative and potentially transformative methods in order to communicate to those customers who don’t want to be emailed.
It may be too early to tell if any of the financial predictions prove true, but what we can see is the increase in websites asking for you to accept/consent before clicking through, a decrease in the clutter within inboxes and hopefully the start of a new era where organisations become accountable for the data they hold on us and how it is used.
For organisations themselves, there are three key lessons to take away from all happened with GDPR:
Lesson 1: Start and participate in the conversation earlier, thus avoiding panic and confusion closer to the deadline. If you are thinking about upcoming digital strategies within the next three years, consider ePrivacy now. Get informed and involved in the debate.
Lesson 2: Don’t forget about your customer/end consumer. What will their experience be like? Will they be happy/annoyed/surprised?
Lesson 3: Create an opportunity. Where you see potential barriers take the time to assess the impact and potential efficiencies which may be implemented prior to ePrivacy.
Whether or not ePrivacy will impact culture in the same way as GDPR is hard to predict, but what we do know is that it is coming and we need to be ready for it when it does.
Natasha Momin, Data and CRM Planner, VCCPme