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Essential digital marketing reading: Why opt-outs could be out

With the rise of data in digital marketing it seems agencies and brands are constantly devising new ways of capturing credentials for use at a later date in campaigns. For many consumers the situation is becoming overwhelming, and already several household names have come unstuck as a result of their efforts to maintain huge reams of personal information.
From a digital marketing and public relations point of view a sensitive, useful and reciprocal approach to this kind of goal has always been the ideal route. As a company or PR agency you don’t want to fall foul of public perspective, so by offering something genuine in return- the kind of thing people would actively subscribe to- the act of collecting data becomes more of a two way street.
This notion could become the requirement when new changes to EU regulation come into effect next year. Up until now, any marketing message consumers are exposed to digitally only needs an opt-out option. This means everyone automatically opts-in, and must choose to remove themselves from whatever the content is. What’s known as the General Data Protection Regulation may reverse that process, meaning all browsers could be automatically opted-out, in which case people must decide if they want to opt-in.
It’s a subtle change but one that’s rightly worrying more than a few professionals. According to a report by fast.MAP in partnership with agency Tangible and consultancy Opt-4, published in Marketing Week, people will be far-less inclined to opt-in under these new guidelines. Just 29% of respondents claimed they would opt-in if required (dropping to 18% if information is to be shared with ‘select partners’), whereas 51% would not bother opting-out under the old system. All of which calls into question exactly how you get consumers to actively want to engage with your marketing messages.
Although focused on email marketing, this article on 7 Clever Ways You Can Increase Your Email Opt-Ins and Get More Subscribers raises some interesting points that can be applied across pretty much every digital marketing area. Not least when it comes to pop-ups, and the staggering  evidence to show that although we all find them irritating, as eConsultancy reports, an average overlay can increase subscriber rates by 400%.
If it were that simple then everyone would be doing it, we hear you cry, and admittedly there are far more factors to take into account. In order to fulfil the requirements of the new EU regulations, for example, there will have to be crystal clarity and full transparency when it comes to what the marketers tell their audience about use and storage of personal information. Already the average small print in this scenario apparently takes 28 minutes to read in full. When eyes don’t stay on webpages much longer than four minutes that doesn’t bode well for converting their Internet time into another email capture.
So what’s the answer? Well, in truth the number of variables ensure there’s no fast track to success. The usual combination of live testing as a way of deducing the best approach for your target audience, and innovative ideas that either offer something of use or value for money, are definitely essentials. And, by gaining an understanding of the possible impending alterations to the legal requirements now, you can at least begin preparing for what will inevitably be an even more competitive pursuit of data.

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