How Does GDPR Affect Advertising? Everything You Need to Know

Since the introduction of GDPR, there’s been an increasing need to find more effective ways of collecting data rather than just relying on third-parties. So, in this blog, we’ll address issues like how does GDPR affect advertising and offer some practical solutions for efficient data collection.

The GDPR aids in regulating the procedure for gathering data for marketing purposes. Marketers can concentrate on improving their marketing strategies by not having to worry about protecting the privacy of the data they have collected thanks to a firm approach to doing so.

Let’s get right to the details without wasting too much time.

What is GDPR?

Known as the toughest privacy law in the world, the General Data Protection Regulation (European Union (EU) lawmakers approved GDPR. It imposes restrictions on all the organizations that come under the gambit of the European Union, or those who target or collect information related to the people in the EU.

Protecting personal data is the main goal of GDPR. Organizations must follow suit and demonstrate how they are protecting data by providing this documentation.

Why is GDPR Relevant to Online Advertising?

As marketing becomes more sophisticated, it frequently involves significant amounts of personal data.

Nowadays, advertising involves more than just crafting an effective message to sell a product. It’s about determining who is most likely to be affected by that message. It’s also about how and when to deliver the message for maximum impact.

Previously, advertiser could target potential customers by advertising in a particular magazine, or after a specific TV show. Nowadays, advertisers can target individual people based on thousands of data points collected by companies that monitor their internet activity, their location and their purchases.

This might be bothersome, unsettling, or just plain unwanted. So data protection law attempts to bring people some control over whether their personal data is used in this way.

Read More: Is Advertising Expense An Asset?

How Does GDPR Impact Marketing?

The GDPR may appear onerous at first glance, especially for startups or solo practitioners.

Realistically though, there are only 3 key areas that marketers need to worry about – data permission, data access and data focus.

Isolated from one another, let’s examine each of these.


1. Data Permission

The management of email opt-ins—individuals who agree to receive promotional materials from you—is what data permission is all about. You can’t just assume that they want to be contacted. They will need to do so in the future in a way that is “freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous,” which is supported by “clear affirmative action.”

Hang on, what does that mean?

In actuality, this means that leads, customers, and partners must formally indicate their desire to be contacted. You must be certain that you have specifically asked your prospects and customers for permission to contact them (and have not simply assumed this). Because of this, opt-ins must now be consciously chosen; pre-ticking a box that makes someone automatically opt in is no longer sufficient.

As an illustration, right now we explicitly ask visitors to opt-in to newsletters by checking the sign up box (left), as opposed to assuming that visitors who fill out a web form want to receive marketing emails from SuperOffice (left).

The only caveat here is when it comes to refer a friend programs.

Refer a friend programs typically function when a potential client or customer enters a friend’s email address in order to redeem an offer (i.e. a discount, sale, bonus, etc). Once they have entered a friend’s email address, an email is automatically sent from the company to the “friend” without gaining explicit consent to contact them. These emails are typically “notifications”, rather than promotional.

Providing this data is neither stored or processed, then it is considered GDPR compliant.

However, you are breaking the law if the data is saved and used for marketing communications.

To be clear:

No marketing communication is to be sent out to the referee’s email address.

2. Data Access

One of the most talked-about decisions in the history of the EU Justice Court is the right to be forgotten. Companies like Google have in some cases already implemented it, removing pages from its search engine results in order to comply, giving people the right to have outdated or inaccurate personal data removed.

With the advent of GDPR, people now have more control over how their data is gathered and used, including the option to access or delete it in accordance with their right to be forgotten.

It will be your responsibility as a marketer to make sure that users can easily access their data and revoke permission for its use.

Practically speaking, this can be as simple as including an unsubscribe link within your email marketing template and linking to their customer profile, which enables users to manage their email preferences (as shown in the example below).

It certainly seems simple enough. But according to our own B2B email marketing benchmark report, which looked at 4,500 email campaigns, 8% of emails lack an unsubscribe link.

3. Data Focus

We are all capable of gathering a little more information about a person than we really need as marketers. Do I really need to know someone’s favorite movie in order for them to sign up for our newsletter?

Probably not. In light of this, GDPR mandates that you provide legal justification for the processing of any personal data you collect.

Don’t worry; this is not as scary as it sounds.

What this means is that you need to focus on the data you need, and stop asking for the “nice to haves”. You may continue to request the inside leg measurement and shoe size of visitors if you can demonstrate your need for the information. Otherwise, try to limit the amount of information you gather and stick to the essentials.

Also Read: Which Reports Require the Activation of Advertising Features?

How to Collect Data With Ease? 

There is an urgent need for an effective method to gather personalized data given the phase-out of third-party cookies. This was where the first party as well as zero party data came into the picture.

Let’s see how they’ve helped marketers overcome the major setback caused by the GDPR guidelines.

1. First-party

As the name suggests, first-party data is data that you can collect firsthand from your clients. You get an unmistakable picture of your audience from this kind of data. You can collect first-party data from various sources, such as-

1. Website and Application Analytics- The analytics tool you’ve connected to your website can be used to collect and analyze data. Search engine tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, etc. are typically used to gather this information. Therefore, make sure you’re utilizing these tools to their full potential.

2. CRM Tools- You can integrate your product or software with your CRM tool and transfer all the data you’ve gathered there to facilitate data absorption.

3. Social Media Accounts- First party data can be easily gathered using social media. From your social media accounts, you can gather data about your followers and process them in accordance with your needs.

2. Zero-party

Zero party data is the data that customers share on their own.

This can include details about their purchasing plans and decisions, preferred contact and payment methods, and how they want your brand to recognize them.

Asking for information in exchange for something the customer will value is a simple way to gather zero party data. You can do this through via multiple sources such as-

1. Interactive content such as quizzes, calculators, product recommendations, chatbots, giveaways, etc. are great tools to collect information that your users intentionally provide while engaging with you. Create your interactive content piece, promote it, and gather a ton of data.

2. Free resources such as an e-Book or a newsletter subscription can help you get information through the subscriptions that your users opt for. This information can be used to increase the number of people who subscribe to your podcast or newsletter.

3. Surveys & Customer Feedback Forms are the most convenient way to collect firsthand information from your audience. They enable you to ask questions that you might have in addition to aiding in lead generation. By doing this, you avoid having to analyze and document their preferences and behaviors and instead get to directly collect important data.

The major difference between first party and zero party data is that for collecting zero party data, you need to directly interact with your customers. Whereas, first party data can be collected from the analytics and user behavior recorded on your website.

Read More: How Has Advertising Affected American Values? 


What is GDPR in Digital Marketing?

GDPR is a way to protect the rights of individuals whose data is collected and used by companies. It gives individuals more control over their personal data, including the ability to view it, make changes to it, and completely delete it.

Why is Invasion of Privacy Perhaps the Number One Online Marketing Concern?

Website activities provide extensive personal information, addresses, birthdates, credit card numbers, etc.

Who Does GDPR Affect?

The GDPR applies to all organizations operating in the EU or those processing “personal identifiable data” of EU residents.

What Are the Major Impacts of the GDPR?

GDPR has effected significant improvements in the governance, monitoring, awareness, and strategic decision-making regarding the use of consumer data. Additionally, the potential for steep fines has prompted businesses to take privacy and security more seriously.

What is the GDPR Mainly Intended For?

The primary goal of GDPR is to safeguard users’ privacy from websites that give businesses their personal information. They have more freedom and power over the information they share thanks to it.

Who Does the GDPR Protect?

The primary goal of the GDPR is to safeguard the personal data of EU citizens and residents. Therefore, businesses that handle such data are subject to the law.

What is Marketing Consent?

Consent marketing is a set of practices revolving around obtaining and catering to users’ consent.


Businesses have been forced to reconsider how they carry out their operations when using personal data due to the General Data Protection Regulation’s (GDPR) stringent requirements.

Create interactive content on Outgrow that complies with GDPR as a starting point. How about conducting a free survey or collecting information through a free customer feedback form? Get a free 7-day trial of Outgrow to decide for yourself!

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Author: Ada Parker

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