How the next big change in GDPR could make your marketing more effective

How the next big change in GDPR could make your marketing more effective

If you haven’t looked at how you’re using cookies recently, now is the time to do it as there are big regulatory changes afoot. The good news is that they could help digital marketing campaigns become more effective.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued new ‘Guidance on the use of cookies and similar technologies’. Some in the industry believe it has the potential to have a bigger impact on digital marketing than when GDPR was first introduced in May last year.

“Up until June, when it was published, everybody thought implied consent was sufficient but now we know it is not,” says Tim Roe, chair of the Direct Marketing Association’s Privacy Working Group and Compliance Director for marketing technology firm Red Eye.

“The ICO is basically saying that you need GDPR-level consent before you place cookies on people’s browsers,” he says.

The guidance, which is part of the PECR (Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations), states that marketers using cookies must ‘Say what cookies will be set; explain what the cookies will do;’ ‘and obtain consent to store cookies on devices.’

Marketers stand to gain in several ways

Tim supports the guidance from an ethical point of view as it will add greater transparency for consumers. But he also believes marketers will stand to gain in several ways from its implementation.

“There is a lot of discussion about ad fraud at present and marketers aren’t clear on what is making money and what is not. Data audits will enable digital marketers to see clearly who their most valuable partners are,” says Tim.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) forced the industry to evaluate their databases, ensuring the data was of high quality, accurate, and offered transparency to consumers.

One of the results of better quality emailing lists, for example, has been good Inbox placement levels so that responsiveness rates improved and IP reputations were less damaged as a result.

Tim believes that marketers who embrace the new cookies guidance in the same spirit – especially as it is part of GDPR – will reap the benefits he anticipates.

Tim’s tips on how to reap the rewards:

  • Undertake an audit of the cookies on your website. “This is more than just naming the providers and giving links to trackers’ websites. Find out what data is being collected about your website visitors, why it is being collected and to what use you put this data,” he says.
  • Challenge the use of all third party cookies. “Are there trackers on your website that don’t provide value to your business? All third party tracking providers must be named.”
  • Find out from agencies and technology platforms where the data is processed, the extent of the processing and all of its purposes. “Who does the data get shared with? Are you able to obtain this data if one of your website visitors makes a subject access request?”
  • Give users of your website a real choice of what they can accept or reject in relation to tracking.
  • Sell the benefits; why should someone consent to being tracked if there is no benefit to them as an individual?