GDPR and online marketing - future beyond the pop-up forms




GDPR and online marketing - future beyond the pop-up forms

The GDPR subject seems to have taken over Facebook and the front page of business sites. As the deadline given by the EU approaches, more and more online entrepreneurs try to update their sites, so they can comply with the new rules. The discussions regarding GDPR are focused on how we should make newsletter subscription forms or pop-ups, in order to comply with the new rules. Being a relatively new subject, it's normal that its implementation should be taken step by step, and the first step should be making sure that we comply with GDPR rules. However, GDPR is not only about this! All the changes that will be made will bring other changes.

GDPR will influence us all, whether we are into e-commerce or offering SEO, PPC, and online marketing services. Of course, in the early stage, GDPR seems to be about forms and pop-ups, but in order to complete the whole "puzzle", you need to take a look at the big picture. Beyond what the consent forms and pop-ups should include, we have to also think of the implications they will have regarding the user's experience on the site.

The first thing that we should give thought to is what will the users think about the consent forms. A few questions we should find answers to:

  • How will consumers react to the consent pop-ups?
  • How many of the consumers will understand or will take time to read what's written in a consent form or pop-up?
  • How many of them will leave the site?
  • How many of them will choose to ignore the pop-up and will make a purchase?

Last but not least, how many of them will prefer to order on Facebook, where they will get an instant response in the majority of cases?

Moreover, we shouldn't forget that the user's experience plays an important role in generating conversions. A form or a pop-up could reduce the site's loading speed and increase bounce rate. These are user experience indicators that could influence the conversion rate, but which will also inevitably influence SEO. The way the users interact with your site is also a Google ranking factor.

Do we still have goals or not?

Those working in online marketing know how important goals are in monitoring the site's performance. Without a doubt, GDPR will influence those parameters too. For example, if you want to make the user subscribe to the newsletter through a pop-up, you will have to explicitly state how you will use the data in the pop-up and receive the user's explicit agreement. This will most probably translate into a lower percentage of users who subscribe to the newsletter.

Data, precious data...

Most certainly, we will not dispose of them anytime and anyhow. There are SEO specialistis or online marketing agencies that use a lot of data for several campaigns. Personally, I am not the follower of this strategy and I don't think you need loads of Excel files full of statistics in order to create a good strategy. I think that studying people's psychology and permanently analyzing their online behavior is enough for developing a successful strategy. Of course that, in certain situations, you need more statistics, but we have to settle for what we got.

GDPR and Google Analytics

Most online entrepreneurs and marketing specialists use only Google Analytics to analyze their site's performance. They probably think that Google will handle GDPR for them, but this will not be the case at all. Google commits to deliver data anonymously, through reports, but it's not in any way responsible for processing this data. So, what changes did Google make because of GDPR?

  • Data retention, a function which allows you to decide how long will Google keep on its servers data regarding users. After the period you select, this information will be deleted from the server. If you use Google Analytics, it's your obligation to make these settings in order to prevent data loss. You could read more about data retention here.
  • The right to delete user's data, which seems to have been specifically thought in order to comply with the "right to be forgotten", one of the most disputed stipulations of GDPR. Using this tool, you will be able to delete all data regarding a certain user (end-user) from Google Analytics. The tool wasn't officially announced, but Google says it will be live on May, the 25th.

Last but not least... the costs!

In order to implement these changes on your site, you need a developer. Moreover, even if the EU imposed that all companies with more than 250 employees should have a data protection officer (DPO), it's recommended that all site owners receive counseling from a specialist if they want to make sure they fully comply with GDPR. All these aspects translate into expenses, which for big online shops will surely be significant.

As with all changes, GDPR panicked online entrepreneurs and online marketing specialists. But, when talking about the online, veterans know that changes happen every day. As long as the numer of internet users grow and more companies start to make businesses on this channel, new challenges will come and they will have to be overcome. We will have to see how will the GDPR rules apply, but, more importantly, what will EU do to make sure GDPR will be adopted.

As we accommodate the new rules, we will get answers to our questions. The important thing is what we will do with them...