GDPR takes up a lot of bandwidth in marketers’ minds right now — and justifiably so, as at least 1,838 data privacy complaints are already on the books in the E.U. But news yesterday that the E.U. fined Google $5 billion for allegedly violating antitrust laws in mobile searches shows marketers have more to pay attention to in the data privacy and anti-trust back-and-forth between the E.U. and U.S. tech companies.
This is especially true as data privacy laws reminiscent of the General Data Protection Regulation begin to spread across the U.S.
California recently enacted a data privacy law that it will begin enforcing in January 2020 and, while not reminiscent of federal enactment along the lines of our Magna Carta homage, other states appear to be following suit.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is appealing the anti-trust fine, NPR reports. And it and other U.S. tech companies, like Facebook, maintain that they’re GDPR compliant, correctly following the rules that they must safeguard E.U. citizen’s data privacy. As for U.S. sentiment about monopolies, President Donald Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders commented in April on breaking apart Amazon.
But Facebook, too, is on notice from the E.U. In what Digiday reported as “a warning shot” about U.S. compliance with GDPR, officials pledged to fine Facebook $661,000 for its part in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. That scandal was pre-GDPR, which has the potential for much higher fines.
So as marketers recover from post-GDPR email list losses as high as 80% and Google is fined for its “unfair advantage” as the default search and browser app on Androids — which are 80% of E.U. smart devices — GDPR complaints keep piling up. The main complaint against tech companies is what lawsuits are calling “forced consent.” The cure — as noyb.eu, the European Center for Digital Rights says — is to give E.U. citizens use of their accounts without telling them to agree to new privacy policies or be blocked from their accounts. (Opens as a PDF)
Marketers Can Optimize, Diversify Search Campaigns
If, like U.S. imitation of GDPR, an anti-trust fervor happens in the U.S. regarding tech companies, too, marketers can move beyond search advertising with just Google and its 63.5% of U.S. queries, according to Statistica. The E.U. fine regarding anti-trust was for the mobile space and, in the U.S., Google dominates that with 93% of market share, according to Statistica. As Target Marketing blogger Amanda Watlington says, Google continues pushing search results to not just favoring mobile first, but to being nearly mobile-only and rating sites with speed in mind. Plus, voice assistants on the phones and otherwise, as Duane Forrester of Yext points out, are making speech-friendly results increase.
So optimize for voice search results, ensure mobile sites are fast and user-friendly, and make any part of the site or user accounts that don’t require data accessible without opt in so that there’s no “forced consent” GDPR complaint.
Two other U.S. search engine competitors hold market share, too. Bing has 24% of search queries, Statistica says:
“Despite Google's dominance of the U.S. search market, it is Microsoft's bing service that leads in terms of longer search queries.”
Oath’s 11.4% of searches also makes it a contender.
Post-GDPR Email List Growth Is Possible
In his Target Marketing article yesterday, “4 Post-GDPR Email List Growth Steps,” FreshAddress Marketing Manager Keith Reinhardt writes:
Hunt Down Any Stray Pre-checked Forms
“Don't stop with your website-based forms … Your audit should extend to every form where you collect email addresses for marketing messages, including: all transactional emails, event registration forms, new-account forms, download registrations [and] information requests”
Be Clear About the Benefits Subscribers Will Get From Your Emails
“It's not enough to ask your customers to sign up for your email. Do you know anybody who wants more email in their inboxes? You must instead beef up your benefits — the "what's in it for me?" statement that's uppermost in skeptical subscribers' minds.”
Be Equally Transparent About How You Collect, Secure and Delete User Data
“This is the essence of GDPR. The law isn't about email. It's about data collection and security.”
Force Consumers to Choose
“No, this is not forced consent. Rather, you give your consumers two options: "yes" and "no," and require them to choose one or the other before proceeding.”
Then he says email marketers can work vigorously to show consumers how the brand meets their needs.
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.