The internet gave birth to an exciting new field – digital marketing. Businesses can reach thousands of potential customers worldwide without spending thousands on elaborate marketing campaigns.

When using digital tools to spread your message, there’s one important thing to keep in mind: data privacy. This article will explain everything you need to know about data privacy as it relates to digital marketing.

What is Data Privacy?

In an age where almost all human data is available and shared online, it’s unsurprising that questions about data privacy and security have come up.

Data privacy is particularly relevant in digital marketing since consumer data is crucial in:

Data privacy can be defined as the ability to determine how data is distributed, used, and shared online. In some jurisdictions, data privacy is regarded as a human right. In others, businesses are allowed to use data as they please.

Here are some ways personal data can be misused:

  • Gathered without the user’s consent
  • Sold to third parties for a profit
  • Tracking and monitoring user behavior

Why Data Privacy is Important

Regardless of jurisdiction, data privacy is always important. To engage with companies, people want reassurance that the data they provide will be handled with care. That’s why many organizations have implemented data protection practices that show their dedication to keeping and handling user-provided data with care.

Companies that engage in shady customer data management practices, or experience data breaches due to a lack of security measures, run the risk of ruining their reputation and losing a ton of money.

Data Privacy Laws

Over the past decade, data privacy laws have become stricter. Companies that don’t comply risk receiving hefty fines and public slander.

Some world regions take data privacy a bit more seriously than others, but the overall direction is towards stricter data control and regulations.

Perhaps the most popular and influential privacy law is the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. The GDPR came into effect in May 2018 and kickstarted a wave of privacy laws that transformed how businesses were allowed to interact with consumers on the internet.

The GDPR advocates for “Privacy by Design.” This approach to data management limits data collection and involves creating security measures to prevent data breaches and leaks. 

The GDPR also requires consent and complete transparency throughout the data gathering process. All companies doing business in the EU must abide by these rules, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure your business complies regardless of where you’re located. 

Data Privacy Tips for Digital Marketers

Digital marketers have to adapt to the changing laws and user expectations. That means implementing changes in how they execute their campaigns and gather insights.

Here are five best practices on data privacy in digital marketing:

1. Transparency

Being transparent with your data-handling practices isn’t just ethical. It’s also required by law in many places. Website visitors or campaign targets should know how their data is being used and for what purposes.

If your site uses cookies, ask for permission to use them. Some sites block content if people don’t accept cookies. You should avoid that because it sends the message that your main goal is to exploit users instead of providing value. 

Digital marketing is all about connecting your excellent product or service to people that need it, not squeezing every possible dollar out of a customer.

2. Offer Something in Return 

Private data is valuable. It’s rather selfish of you to ask for it without giving anything in return. Create exciting campaigns involving promo codes or discounts in exchange for a user’s personal information. Gating your content by requesting contact information is another option. But make sure the content you’re gating is high-quality, unique, and offers value. 

This practice is becoming increasingly popular. If you’re creative, you can come up with many interesting ways to “trade” with your customers.

3. Make It Easy to Opt-Out

If a user agrees to share their data, that doesn’t mean you get to keep it and use it forever. Many people unknowingly agree to have their data shared online. After receiving a few promotional emails or text messages, they may wish to opt-out. 

Make it easy for people to opt-out. You should add an “unsubscribe” link at the end of your promotional emails. A good rule to follow is making sure that opting out of sharing data isn’t more difficult than opting in.

4. Control Customer Data Visibility

Access control is a crucial part of data privacy and marketing. While consumer data is valuable, not everyone in the organization needs it to do their job. Limit the people who have access to consumer data to only those that need it. Not even everyone in the marketing department should be able to access information that users are sharing with the organization. 

The people who have access should be trained in how to handle it. Data leaks or breaches can have serious consequences. The more people have access to consumer data, the higher the chances of a data leak. To make sure your data is safe from external threats as well, you should keep your customer data encrypted at all times. For this, you can use a VPN.

5. Use New Metrics to Measure Success

As data privacy regulations become stricter, it becomes more difficult to measure the success of your campaigns due to the less precise landscape. But, you can still track engagement, which may be all you need to see what works and what doesn’t.

Some examples of engagement are:

  • Clicks
  • Conversions
  • Unsubscribers
  • Click-through rate

Other valuable metrics that don’t infringe on customer data are the CPL (Cost Per Lead) and CPA (Cost Per Acquisition). Knowing how much money you spend on acquiring new clients can help you determine whether you need to adjust your approach.

These can all be useful metrics. You may need to adjust your marketing content to align with the new way of measuring success.

Data privacy concerns and regulations are changing the ways digital marketing works. Advanced tracking and cookies are discouraged as users become more aware of the dangers of sharing their data. This calls for digital marketers to find creative solutions to remain effective while abiding by changing expectations and regulatory standards. Are you up to the challenge?