About GDPR

It is just over four months until the EU introduces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and while this legislation will affect all sectors and countless businesses, the aspect that interests me is how it affects email marketing.

GDPR brings in new rules and regulations governing how businesses manage, hold, process and control people’s data across Europe. This means businesses outwith the EU who have customers within it will also need to comply – including the UK post-Brexit.

There are six bases for processing data according to GDPR: legal obligation, public task, vital interest, contract, legitimate interest, and consent.

Legitimate interest and consent are the two bases most relevant to email marketing. Legitimate interest is still a grey area, with GDPR guidelines yet to outline what exactly qualifies. So, for the time being, consent is where companies who use email marketing need to be pointing their attention.

From May 25th 2018, companies must be able to demonstrate that all customers within their existing databases have consented to their information being there and that they clearly understand what they have signed up to.

According to the guidelines consent must be:

●     Positive – there cannot be a pre-ticked box, customers must actively sign themselves up

●     Explicit – there must be a clear and specific statement of consent – what are they actually consenting to?

●     Granular – you cannot bundle marketing as a whole in one statement, for example if the statement refers to email, companies cannot then text customers – the statement must be specific

●     Easily withdrawn – it must be easy for customers to unsubscribe

●     Proven – guidelines state companies must be able to provide evidence of customers giving consent and specifically what they have consented to

If you are wondering how you’re going to be able to demonstrate that every single customer in your existing database has consented then the easiest way is to get your customers to re-consent.

Depending on the size of database, some companies may want to do this manually – sending out an email to everyone, and manually inputting data from those who respond with their consent into a new list or group. For companies with upwards of a few hundred customers, manually inputting data will be very time consuming and for some just not an option. However, some forward-thinking souls have already come up with solutions, such as ReConsent and PORT. Both seek to send information to customers about consent and why it is important that they fully understand what they consenting to. Both then organise data lists accordingly with those who have consented and those who have unsubscribed.

The need for customers to re-consent may also be a blessing in disguise, as you’ll clear your databases of those who don’t open your emails. If emails coming from your address have a high un-open rate, the algorithms used by the likes of Google and Yahoo can categorise them as spam. It’s also better to have a list of 10 people with a 90% open rate, than a list of 1000 and an open rate of 0.9%.

While you can get your existing database to re-consent, it is important to ensure any data captured from now on meets GDPR guidelines. With contact forms one of the most popular ways to capture data, ensure your forms clearly outline what customers are signing up to. Take a step back and see whether your forms meet the GDPR guidelines about consent – is it positive action, does it explicitly explain what customers are consenting too, is it specific enough? And then it is vital that customers can easily unsubscribe. Being able to provethat customers have given consent can also be easy, with the likes of the double-opt in feature. This takes those who have clicked the box to sign up to another webpage, and asks them confirm via link sent to their email address. While double-opt in is not a requirement of GDPR, it is good practice and allows companies to easily show proof of consent.

While GDPR sounds scary, from an email marketing perspective it can be very easy to comply. By simply ensuring that by May 25th 2018 you can provide evidence that everyone in your existing database has given their consent, and that your data capture methods clearly outline what signing-up means for future customers while documenting each new sign-up, you will be GDPR compliant.

Claire Buchan – Digital Marketing

FACEBOOK NEWS FEED UPDATES

As we enter 2018 and we all start, and probably fail, to keep our new resolutions, a certain Mr Zuckerberg is making yet another big change that will effect every single business that utilises Facebook as a platform to market their business or product.

As you will know we are huge fans of social at Jigsaw Media and believe no matter who your target audience, that there is at least one social channel that needs to be a key part of your marketing strategy. Within the social spectrum we also believe that Facebook, even with their continued attempts to reduce organic reach for business pages over the years, is still king. Why? Well simply Facebook still has the volume with over 33 million active users every single month in the UK alone, not to mention the most powerful ads platform in the world.   It also still has an incredibly wide age demographic across it’s user base and can therefore be relevant channel for most businesses – if used properly!

So what’s happening?

In his recent update Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, announced:

“One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.”

Ok, so we understand why Facebook are doing this from a user perspective and this means that they will be focusing on helping users have more meaningful social interactions rather than just delivering relevant content into their news feeds.

The main change here is in the News Feed; the main focus of Facebook. Expect to see more from your friends, family, groups and a lot less from Public Pages – That’s companies, brands, organisations, etc. This means for most it’s going to be even more challenging to get your company Facebook Page to achieve strong organic reach through posts and updates.

In basic terms, getting your company, organisation, etc’s content seen by people on Facebook; even those who have ‘Liked’ your Page, is going to be harder than ever before. Facebook doesn’t want Public Page content to be shown to users unless it’s something they deem is important or of value to the user. That they may like it or feel it may be relevant is no longer good enough to have your content shown.

Expect organic performance of content you post to decrease unless you have strong community engagement or a wider content strategy.

Facebook has been consistently changing their algorithm over the last few years, with each change having an adverse effect on organic reach of business pages. If you were cynical you might argue that Facebook is doing this to increase advertising revenues. Not me though…honest!

Over the coming weeks and months, we will be monitoring our Facebook insights very closely across all of our clients to see what impact that this change has, not only on organic reach but also the CPM of paid activity – the reality of it now is that CPM is probably just as, if not more, important than organic reach.

However we don’t want to scare you – what worked well before should continue to still work now. If you have had success with creating consistent & engaging content alongside tactical paid campaigns, then continue to do that but continue to monitor your results closely.

If you need any advice on these changes and how they might affect you then please don’t hesitate to contact me at craig.simpson@jigsawmedialtd.co.uk.