Implications of the GDPR on (Influencer) Marketing

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Whether you are a marketing professional or not, you will want to familiarize yourself with an upcoming regulatory change that is bound to affect all of us: the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Why should you care about these four letters? Well, they are about to change the landscape of online marketing and consumer analytics as we know it. If you and your business want to stay ahead of the game before the policy is officially rolled out on May 25, 2018, it’s time to get friendly with the GDPR.

What Exactly is the GDPR?

The GDPR is a new data regulation law concerning the protection and privacy of EU citizens’ personal data. Companies will have to clearly and concisely request informed consent from individuals before processing their data. Lengthy, small-print consent forms with legal jargon will no longer be tolerated. The GDPR will ensure that individuals can withdraw their consent at any time in an easy manner, and grant them “the right to be forgotten” and “the right to erasure” of their personal data. Citizens will also have the right to transfer their data from one organization to another.
The GDPR applies to all companies working with European citizens, regardless of the location of their operations. Any data breaches must be reported in a timely manner (72 hours) and victims must be informed unless the stolen data was unreadable. Failure to comply with the new law can result in fines up to 20 million EUR or 4 percent of annual global turnover, whichever is higher..

What does the GDPR Mean for Marketers?

The GDPR marks a milestone in data protection legislation as well as the marketing industry. Companies and their marketers will have to be careful to follow the new legislation in order to avoid the hefty fine that accompanies non-compliance. While the law is meant to protect consumers and individuals, traditional marketers might feel attacked by it.
The GDPR will certainly make it harder for companies to reach consumers through targeted advertisements. Some companies that track consumer behavior across different platforms have even stated that they will limit their EU business interactions, because it will be difficult for them to gain consent come May 25th. While companies scramble to face the regulation which will inevitably limit their consumer analytics, a new type of marketing is predicted to survive and perhaps even thrive under the GDPR: influencer marketing.

What does the GDPR Mean for Influencers?

While the GDPR might severely hurt the marketing efforts of traditional social campaigns that rely on private data collection of consumers, influencer marketing might go unaffected by the new regulation. Why? Because influencer marketers do not seek private data of their followers. Instead, consumers actively seek out influencers and happily partake in their marketing efforts.
With influencer marketing, individual consent is already present. When companies turn to influencers to market their brands and products, they do not have to fear the repercussions of the GDPR. Instead, they can find an influencer who aligns with their brand image and can naturally market the product to his or her followers.
Not only does this help companies avoid the risk of being subjected to the hefty fines of GDPR, but it also allows for a type of marketing to take place in which consumers feel respected and empowered.
Though it remains to be seen if the GDPR will eventually affect influencers, it seems that influencer marketing will quickly become the most effective way for businesses to reach an appropriate audience. The GDPR is meant to empower and protect consumers. Through influencer marketing, you can protect consumers from the infringement of their privacy and data, while still promoting your brand and business.