In a couple of months’ time, the European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) will come into force, affecting not only companies in Europe but also around the world. Put simply: if you want to continue operating using any customer data originating from Europe, you’re going to have to comply with the upcoming legislation. However, whilst the majority of the focus on this topic has been fixated on the potential penalties of not being compliant, most have largely ignored the potential positives of the new regulations, and the great opportunities they present.
Reassure Your Consumers
GDPR should be seen as a chance to open the lines of communication between companies and consumers, the latter of which aren’t sure how their data is currently being collected, stored and used. A recent study from the University of Cambridge Psychometrics Centre concluded that 71% of users suspected companies of misusing their data, highlighting just how much needs to be done for consumers to trust brands. The intricacies of mobile advertising are still shrouded in mystery for many outside of the industry, but with the ushering in of GDPR, there is a real opportunity for transparency.
Mandatory explicit opt-in consent for data collection will address some these aforementioned concerns. It provides an excellent chance for businesses to reassure consumers with concise yet thorough explanations of why their data needs to be collected and precisely what is going to be done with it. This will fill a knowledge gap that many users have had for far too long. With consent notices having to be easy to understand, a lot of previous confusion will be alleviated, increasing a sense of loyalty and trust between companies and users.
The popularity of ad-blockers has arguably only come about because of consumers constantly being bombarded by irrelevant advertisements. A Hubspot study found that 77% of people wish that there was a way to filter ads rather than block them entirely which, depending on your level of optimism, is either a crying shame or positive news for advertisers. But what if the data collected by these new opt-in standards could inform advertisers on what consumers would prefer to see, alleviating the meaningless, intrusive advertisements they’ve previously been served? GDPR gives advertisers an opportunity to come clean by displaying more appropriate ads, and maybe convince consumers to disable their ad-blockers.
Regulation Ripple Effect
Other countries, such as Canada, are drawing inspiration from GDPR and are looking to use it as the standard for data protection. The number of territories implementing GDPR-style regulations is only going to grow. Taking the necessary steps toward compliance now will eliminate the legwork later and will leave your organization prepared for when new legislation is passed elsewhere in the world, which leaves you able to focus on running your business, rather than playing catch up at a later date.
More than anything, GDPR is the perfect opportunity for businesses to provide clarity surrounding personal data and sensitive information. GDPR will make substantial inroads into addressing ingrained concerns that people have surrounding their personal data. All organizations should view the upcoming regulations as a welcome change, not as something to resist and fight against. If your current data provider hasn’t made much noise about it yet, now’s the time to start asking them some searching questions, or upgrade to a solution that has user data protection front of mind. Transparency is key to forging meaningful relationships with consumers, and GDPR has paved the road for exactly that.