Ways GDPR Will Transform the Digital Marketing Industry (Infographic)


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one of the hottest topics across multiple industries these days – including the digital marketing field. Implemented on May 25, 2018, the GDPR replaced the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and aims to hold businesses and organizations, including those outside of the European Union (EU), accountable for the use and protection of EU citizens’ data.

The impact of GDPR spans every industry, but in marketing, the new regulations give every customer in EU more control over the personal data that is being collected about them, as well as how this information is being used.

And since digital marketers rely heavily on collected data from different devices to build buyer personas, create tailored customer journeys, and provide personalized customer experience, the industry can expect a variety of new challenges when it comes to gathering and protecting the personal data of EU residents.

Read on as we detail in this infographic the latest statistics about GDPR and digital marketing, and how the new regulation will affect the digital marketing industry over the coming years.


GDPR and Digital Marketing by the Numbers

In the recent report from Act-On, it was revealed that half of UK and US marketers say the GDPR will make their marketing efforts more difficult. Marketers say the elements of the law that will have the most significant impact will be the right to be informed, the right of access, and rights related to automated decision-making and profiling.

  • One-third of marketers say they do not understand GDPR.
  • 55% tell the rest of their business does not understand GDPR.
  • 49% of marketers are worried about the extra time compliance with GDPR will take.

The same study also reveals that 50% of the markets have allocated a marketing budget to comply with GDPR; 24% are planning on spending over $10,000, 52% are planning on spending between $1,000 and $10,000, and 24% are planning on spending less than $1,000.

For digital marketers, such expenses are minuscule compared to the hefty penalties that GDPR can impose – with a maximum fine of €20m or 4% of turnover for noncompliance. With such level of risk for noncompliance, it is essential for digital marketers and businesses to assess how the GDPR affects them and be compliant from May 2018 onwards.

How Will GDPR Change the Digital Marketing Industry?

Safer Personal Data

Under the GDR, businesses using digital marketing tactics must better understand how their customer information is collected and where it is stored. Digital data is of course affected, but this change also affects physical records such as paper-based marketing survey forms.

The GDPR mandates that data breaches must be reported within 72 hours. Logically, this should motivate marketing professionals and organizations to protect the data they hold and, of course, the higher fines in play will act as another motivation to improve data security dramatically.

Putting Customers In Control  

One of the ways that the GDPR will be enforced is by being stricter about getting consent from consumers before gaining access to their personal data. Consent must be active, meaning that the customer has provided their consent explicitly – such as by checking an unchecked ‘opt-in’ box on a form.

Getting active consent is crucial for digital marketers using internet-based services such as social media advertising. While a Facebook user may have technical provide consent when he/she agreed to the ‘Terms of Service’ when they signed up, it does not indicate that the same user is willing to have their personal data harvested and be used to create a behavioral profile for digital marketing purposes.

In fact, a 2016 study from Pew Research revealed that 91% of adults agree that consumers have lost control of how personal information is collected and used by companies, with 81% of respondents saying they have taken steps to remove or mask their online activities not only from businesses but also from their friends and colleagues.

With GDPR in place, EU residents have greater control of whom they will provide their personal data, as well as the right to be informed on where their data will be used. The new legislation also grants EU residents to have their data be accessed, rectified, and erased whenever deemed necessary.

More Compliant Marketing Tools and Technology

Digital marketers that use marketing tools such as automation platforms and CRM must also ensure that their tech suppliers are already GDPR-compliant. Now that GDPR is fully in effect, it’s critical for digital marketers that all their digital marketing platforms are:

  • Documenting the lawful basis for processing personal data;
  • Ensuring that data is only kept for as long as it meets that basis;
  • Ensuring that data is accurate and up to date; and
  • Sectioning off sensitive data so that only approved personnel can access it.

Increase Usage of Contextual Advertising

Due to the data collection challenges that GDPR presents, many digital marketers are expected to rely on contextual advertising. Instead of using customer’s profile, the power of contextual advertising lies on the content that a customer is looking at in real-time, such as news article, website, social media feed, mobile app screen, or a video game.

One of the forms of contextual advertising that many digital marketers are already using is the native advertising. In this approach, the sponsored ads are designed to appear like the native content on a website. While such strategy can be challenging to execute, many expect that such practices and programs will expand and proliferate as GDPR comes into effect.


Considered as the most wide-reaching and significant data privacy regulation ever enacted, the full breadth of how GDPR will change the digital marketing is far beyond the scope of this infographic. It is critical that digital marketers dedicate time and resources to fully understand the various facets of this new regulation and take steps to ensure compliance, not only with the GDPR but also to other applicable data privacy laws.

Jomer Gregorio

Jomer B. Gregorio is a well-rounded expert when it comes digital marketing. Jomer is also known as a semantic SEO evangelist and practitioner. Check out our Digital Marketing Services today and let us help you in achieving positive and profitable results for your business.