Business Today

Consent Is King

The EU's stringent data privacy rules are affecting digital marketers but provide an excellent opportunity to build trust.
Sonal Khetarpal | Print Edition: August 12, 2018
Consent Is King

Content Marketing Summit Asia, one of the largest conferences in the region, will be held in Singapore in August. But thanks to the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), event organiser CMS Asia cannot send promotional e-mail messages to marketers, brand heads and content creators. Earlier, personalised e-mail could be sent to nudge individuals. But under the new set of rules (always applicable as you don't know who all in the database are from the EU), marketing mailers, personalised banner ads, sponsored social media posts or promotional offers are an absolute no-no unless one has actually 'opted in' for them. Moreover, it cannot be blanket consent for 'related purposes'. All purposes must be clearly defined along with the details of the party which will be handling user data.

Another critical change involves how user data is collected. Digital marketing is all about using cookies to collect the behavioural data of website visitors so that advertisers can display personalised or retargeted ads to returning visitors. But with the GDPR in place, such data collection is no longer allowed unless users categorically consent to personal data collection by the platforms, says Rajiv Dingra, Founder and CEO of WATConsult. In fact, people must be categorically informed how the companies are going to use their profile data. "All these point to one thing - users have to be aware of what data is being collected, how it is being used and how it is stored," he adds.

Marketers can't ignore the mandate. If companies violate the rules, they can be fined up to 20 million euro or 4 per cent of the annual turnover, whichever is higher. So, for now, CMS Asia is promoting the event on its website, Facebook and Twitter, and posting relevant articles on LinkedIn, says R.P. Singh, Conference Chairperson and former South-east Asia head of media at VML.

In an era when 'consent is king', advertisers are scrambling to find new ways to sign up more people and handle data more responsibly. One way to do it is process data as per requirement instead of grabbing it all. Many of them are also going back to plain vanilla advertising. "However, it will require more money and effort to convert users into buyers as there is more wastage in that format," says Singh of CMS Asia.

Right now, myriad experiments are on to hit the sweet spot that will work in the post-GDPR era. But over time, both advertisers and platforms will be able to figure out the most effective ways to get more opt-ins. Meanwhile, companies may utilise this period as an excellent opportunity to connect with their consumers and build trust.


Twitter Purge Hits Hard

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lost three lakh followers on Twitter, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj lost 74,132 and Rahul Gandhi 17,000. The reduced count is due to the removal of locked accounts by Twitter as part of its initiative to promote "healthy conversations" and eliminate fake accounts, bots, disinformation and other malicious occurrences. Last week, Twitter confirmed a Washington Post report that it had suspended 70 million accounts in May and June this year.

Hub Will Create A 'Surveillance State'

The Supreme Court said that the Centre's decision to set up a social media hub to monitor online data would be akin to creating a surveillance state. "Tracking and regulating social media content will transform us into a surveillance state," Justice D.Y. Chandrachud observed as a three-judge Bench, including the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Chandrachud, issued a notice to the GoI on a plea filed by TMC MLA Mahua Moitra.

Yahoo Messenger, R.I.P.

Launched as Yahoo Pager in 1998, Yahoo Messenger, one of the first instant messaging services, was finally shut down on July 17, 2018. However, you can download your chat history on Messenger for the next six months. "There currently isn't a replacement product available for Yahoo Messenger," the company writes. "We're constantly experimenting with new services and apps, one of which is an invite-only group messaging app called Yahoo Squirrel (currently in beta)."

50 Million

The number of Indian users on the professional networking platform LinkedIn. The company has recently crossed the mark as India becomes its fastest-growing and largest market outside the US. LinkedIn has more than 562 million members globally. The India member base has doubled in the past four years while in 2009, the company had only 3.4 million users in the country.


The fine slapped on Facebook by the UK's data protection watchdog Information Commissioner's Office, following a wide-ranging probe into the Cambridge Analytica scandal. ICO found that the social network had breached the country's Data Protection Act on two accounts - failing to protect people's information and not sharing in a transparent manner how others harvested user data.

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