Since the announcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) last year, the regulations have been on everyone's mind and rendered publishers into a full-blown frenzy. initially, the main talking points were did we need to bet this worried, and quite frankly the answer is, well no. To fully understand what's occurring and why we don't need to press the panic button, we need to have a quick recap on what GDPR is, how it affects publishers and consumers first hand.
What is GDPR?
In a nutshell, they’re a set of regulations that have been passed by the European Union that affect how publishers collect data online. The regulation comes into place on the 25th May 2018. Companies now need to ask for explicit consumer consent to collect and use data across the web and app ecosystem.
Initially, the main issues that publishers will face from these new regulations will be relatively short term. This is because everybody has to start from scratch, and get up to speed and make sure that they fit within the parameters. They’ll have to invest in new technologies, and while this may look to be expensive, in the long run, it could prove to be very fruitful.
Jim Edwards, editor-in-chief of Business Insider UK, stated that “I suspect in the long run, it will be good for publishers because at first glance, it looks like it will remove a lot of data or make it harder for you to keep data, but the data you do keep and get consent for, will be far higher quality. The supply of people willing to tolerate advertising or give over their data is going down, and when that happens, prices go up, making the remaining data more valuable”.
What happens with Brexit and living in the U.S?
Whether you live in the United States or Great Britain, you will not be exempt from these rules. GDPR will affect any company that has audiences and readers in Europe, so British companies; unfortunately Brexit will not be your free get out of jail card. Any American reading this that trade in the UK, I'm sure you already have, however you must meet these regulations.
Does this justify our concerns?
Honestly, no. The way to look at things is as follows; users still want to access content online, regardless of these new regulations. Companies are be able to collect data about their customers, but will just have to make sure they have explicit consent from their consumers.
This then brings us onto cookies. The future looks bleak for cookies. The personalisation strategy that many companies use to tailor specific ads and offers to users will have to be totally revamped. As a publisher with a subscription strategy, it means doing their best to increase free subscriptions, in order to collect your data. Publishers that are compliant with GDPR won’t have any issues with that, however companies that simply preload publisher’s sites with cookies to gather data may have been scratching their heads for the past twelve months.
How will GDPR affect me, the consumer?
Whilst we’ve touched on how GDPR will affect companies what about the consumer?
Consumers as a whole distrust digital advertising so much that they go out of their way to implement Adblocking technology. Consumers hate the thought of being tracked on their mobiles and on the web, 92% of consumers actually said that they don’t want their browsing data sold or shared without permission. With GDPR, companies will only be able to obtain data with explicit consent from the consumer. However if we're being brutally honest, if you want access to content being provided online, you’re going to have to hand over your details anyway. But at least you’ll know when, where, and who is tracking your data.
To summarise things, granted there’s been a lot of panic and noise about GDPR, and now it's finally here, I'm sure some consumers haven't even noticed. We've ticked a new box without actually reading the terms, and we're off consuming data all over again. From business' point of view, yes the potential fines are hefty. But if companies and publishers took the time to get accustomed to the new regulations, then it will be business as usual.