Over the past few months, there have been countless news stories about how our data is being used online. Between Facebook, Google, and our devices – data is constantly being collected about what we’re doing online and used in various ways. Most notably, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is the new European legislation covering data protection and privacy. Even if you aren’t in Europe, it applies to all companies offering goods and services to people in the European Union.
You may have already gotten emails or notifications from any social media platforms you use asking you to accept the new terms of service as they update their policies to comply with these new laws. So, whether you’re in marketing, a business owner, or a fellow consumer of these goods and services – this new legislation can affect you.
Facebook & Google are two of the greatest tools we have for online advertising. A huge benefit to using Facebook is their unique targeting settings that allow you to narrow down your audience by interest, job title, and other extremely specific metrics. All this is achieved by compiling each user’s personal information from the Facebook profile and activities for advertisers to target them more accurately. Under the GDPR, Facebook will implement various new protections and actions to give users control of how their data is used. This includes asking users to review what data can be used for display ads and opt out of any targeting categories that use their personal information, like relationship status or political affiliation, and allowing users to turn off face or voice recognition technology. Facebook also implemented a rewards system for any users that report data abuse, in an effort to reduce any third-party companies using data in a way that violates their terms and services.
As the biggest online advertising platform, among other things, Google has an extremely large amount of data collected on their users. Google has made it clear that they are committed to complying with all the new data protection regulations that come along with the new GDPR legislation. One major change is that Google is stressing consent into how our data is being used in collected for advertisers and providing detailed instructions for users to withdraw their consent if they’d like to do so. They are also making changes to various platforms like Google Analytics and Google Adwords, to make sure they are not collecting personally identifiable information (PII) on users without their consent and providing penalties to any users that do.
As marketers trying to navigate the digital world, we strike a delicate balance between using people’s personal information to better serve relevant ads to them without invading their privacy. For us and our clients, it’s imperative to keep up with the changes to know that we are not violating any new terms of service on any platform and are making the best choices to comply with new algorithm changes. With the new GDPR regulations, it will change how we use online mediums to reach our target audience. The most important element of these new policies is consent – everyone should know what data is being collected about them, who has access to it, and what they can do with it.