How Data Privacy Is Changing Online Marketing

Internet technology has revolutionized how businesses market their products and services. Today, it's much easier for companies to interact with their consumers and give them personalized offers. This helps improve consumers' shopping experience while enabling businesses to sell more.

However, the data collection and sharing capabilities that come with internet technology also come with a challenge: cybersecurity. Digital interactions between businesses and consumers often involve the sharing of sensitive information by the latter.

As demonstrated by recent data breach scandals involving large corporations and millions of their customers, there is a genuine risk of data falling into the wrong hands.

This is why different jurisdictions such as California and the EU have passed strict laws that guide how businesses collect, store, use, and secure customer information.

With the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in effect and other such laws set to be implemented, there’s a question of how online marketing will be affected.

In this article, you’ll get an overview of the things you need to know about the CCPA and learn how you can make your online marketing campaigns compliant with such regulations.

Data Regulation In The US

In the US, data protection is primarily regulated by respective industries and states. In this regard, California has led the way with its CCPA, which seeks to protect the personal information of the residents of California.

Under the regulation, consumers have the right to opt-out of having businesses process their information. If a consumer allows your business to process their information, they have the right to ask what you do with the data and who you share with it.

The CCPA only applies to for-profit organizations that meet one of the following criteria:
  • 50% of revenue comes from selling customer data
  • Annual revenues of $25 million and above
  • Companies that handle the data of at least 50,000 Californians, devices, or households
Failure to comply with the CCPA can attract fines of up to $ 7,500 for intentional violations.

Data Regulation In The European Union

Unlike the US, the European Union implemented the GDPR, which standardizes data protection rules across all EU member states. Each country is then required to adjust their national data policies to mirror the GDPR.

With the GDPR, businesses must first ask for permission before processing consumer data, and the consumer must then confirm their approval via email. Also, GDPR applies to all businesses that offer their services in the EU.

Data Protection And Laws Online Marketing

Data plays an essential role in the success of digital marketing campaigns. By analyzing consumer data, online marketers are able to understand what the market wants based on customer behavior.

This also allows them to understand the unique preferences of each customer, thus allowing them to conduct targeted marketing campaigns. By using personalized marketing techniques, over 80% of marketers are able to gain a return on investment (ROI) on marketing spend of up to 5 times.

With data regulations set to affect marketers' access and use of data, there are concerns that digital marketing may be greatly affected. However, this may not necessarily be true.

Though the CCPA and GDPR may differ in some ways, they operate on the same principles. Their main aim is to ensure that the personal information of customers is secure. This is achieved by giving consumers control over their data.

Though for a digital marketer, this may sound limiting as consumers may decline to have their data processed, research suggests otherwise. Recent findings indicate that over 60% of Americans would rather receive personalized offers than restrict companies from accessing their data.

This suggests that your challenge is not actually accessing customer data, but using it well and ensuring that unauthorized parties do not access it. In essence, these regulations only put in writing what you should already be practicing as a good digital marketer.

Compliance To Data Regulations

In the first half of 2019, there were 3,183 reported breaches, which resulted in the exposure of approximately 4.1 billion records. To ensure that companies dedicate more resources towards protecting consumer data, the GDPR and CCPA impose hefty fines on violations.

To ensure that you are compliant with data regulations, be keen on the following areas.

1. Permission
As with the CCPA and GDPR, expect the data regulations that will also follow to give consumers more control over their data. Therefore, you should put measures in place to ensure that you only use the data you have been allowed to use.

Automate processes where possible to avoid any unnecessary human-data contact and work towards gaining your customers' confidence by:
  • Creating a page for your security policy where all your data security tools, techniques, and certifications are displayed
  • Informing customers of how their data will be used
  • Complying with customer requests to access their data or requests not to use it
To ensure that you are able to give consumers access to their data when needed, have the data in your possession well cataloged. This will make tracking specific files easier.

2. Data Focus
Businesses collect vast amounts of data daily, and most of it ends up unused. Even with the best data security measures in place, keeping data that you do not use in an unnecessary liability.

The first thing you should do is assess the data currently in your possession. Have all data that’s not necessary deleted. Once this is done, define your data needs to know which sets of data to collect and the ones to discard.

It would be best if you then structured your data collection processes to only focus on the necessary data. By taking such measures, you will not only eliminate unnecessary liability but also make data cataloging and protection easier.

Does Data Security Stand In The Way Of Marketing?

Digital marketing revolves around data. Though data regulation policies have some restrictions on how companies should handle customer data, they do not necessarily inhibit marketers.

All you have to do is make sure that data is handled accordingly from collection to processing and storage. In addition, review all your data security measures from time to time to ensure all requirements are met.

Read next: Study Shows That Despite Being Tech-Savvy, Millennials Are More Likely To Sell Their Personal Data!
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