Digital Marketing Campaign Laws & Regulations

Are you aware of all the industry best practices and laws surrounding marketing campaigns? Companies spend endless amounts of money and efforts to obtain all legal information surrounding a certain marketing tactic in order to ensure campaigns are 100% legal. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to invest enough time and money into fully understanding and complying with customer privacy and data security regulations. As a result, legal matters can cause you and the reputation of your business a lot of preventable damage.

When it comes to digital marketing, there are more things than ever to look out for. It’s so important that your marketing campaign is legal and well receipted by your target audience. It’s not just about the law, your customers depend on you to do the right thing, protect their information and respect their privacy. So even if you are able to find a way around a certain law, that doesn’t mean your target audience is going to be happy with you if you breach moral conduct.

Thankfully, you can avoid violating regulations or alienating your customers. In this blog we define the basic rules and regulations regarding online marketing campaigns.

Self-Regulatory Principles For Online Behavioral Advertising

Industry leaders including the BBB, DMA, ANA and AAAA have joined forces to create industry standards for Internet advertising, mostly in order to protect customers. There are 7 key principles that define legally sound Internet advertising. A separate set of additional rules has been outlined for mobile marketing, including unique regulations regarding ad placement, opt-out, user experience, privacy policy and more. (We will save that for another blog!)

In regards to Internet marketing, here is a basic overview of the 5 most fundamental rules:

  1. The Education Principle states all entities help spread awareness about online behavioral advertising. The goal of this effort is to help make the average consumer more informed about their choices regarding privacy.
  2. The Transparency Principle states businesses must clearly disclose any tracking technologies associated with online behavioral advertising.
  1. The Consumer Control Principle states that customers must be given the option to opt-out of data collection.
  1. The Data Security Principle states that any data collected for purposes related to online behavioral advertising must be stored in a secure location and only kept for a certain amount of time.
  1. The Material Changes Principle states that if you make any changes to your data collection tactics, users must be alerted and given a copy of the new policy prior to instituting any changes.

(Read more on this topic here)

What is ‘Privacy By Design’?

You might be surprised just how many precautions you need to take in order to properly protect your customer’s privacy. When developing any sort of digital campaign, the protection of your customer’s data must be at the forefront of importance. Privacy by design means that the actual design of your campaign incorporates a great deal of privacy measures. This ensures that the entire process of collecting, processing, storing, and deleting customer data is secure from the get-go.

When creating a new website feature, or anything else related to your digital campaign, encourage developers to create safety features throughout the development process. Otherwise you risk releasing a product that is cool, but not all that secure, meaning you will run into issues shortly after it is introduced to the public. At some point you will have to address the safety of your digital campaign, it’s best to do so during the design process to greatly eliminate risk.

(Reference 1)

(Reference 2)

The Legal Dangers Associated With Tracking Technology

Using cookies, pixel tags, or any form of tracking technology can provide a huge host of benefits to your business. But not if you go against the rules and regulations created to protect the consumer. The majority of media outlets and lawmakers are feeling rather distasteful towards most tracking practices at the moment, meaning if you aren’t ultra careful someone might try to make an example out of you—and that’s never good for business.

As stated by, “Even where passively tracked information is not linked to personally identifiable information, it still can raise privacy notice and consent issues.” If you are doing any sort of tracking, even just passively tracking cookies, you must make this more than clear in your privacy policy, as well as offer opt-out options.  Otherwise, there are many different organizations on the hunt for businesses that are saying one thing and doing another, especially in terms of digital marketing.

What You Need To Know About Collecting User Location

If your customers sign onto your site or app, do you track their location? Location tracking is implemented to improve usability in one way or another, but this seemingly simple feature shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Location tracking is often referred to as intrusive, therefore your marketing campaign should offer customers the option to choose if their location is tracked or not. Before users can make a decision, it’s your job to inform them how their location will be used, shared, and disclosed, as well as any notable age restrictions.

Before any costumer can agree to terms of service that utilize location data, a clear notice must be presented. The most important bullets should be displayed full screen, with a link to a more detailed collection of privacy terms. Here you should also include how users can terminate sharing information about their location once they have already agreed.

Beware Sharing Videos Via Social Media

The Federal Video Privacy Protection Act requires anyone sharing information about a video via social media to obtain the proper consent before doing so. For instance, if your company is creating a video competition where viewers can enter your site and take a vote for their favorite video, you might assume it’s okay to share the results via Facebook. Think again, it’s only legal to do so if you have obtained signed consent from everyone that participated in the contest and videos.  When sharing videos as a part of your marketing campaign, a separate “video privacy policy” may be required alongside your general privacy rules.

Can You Collect Data Of Any Kind About Children?

Advertising to children is an entirely new can of worms, including detailed, and recently changed, rules about how and when marketers can target children online. For instance, if children mark their age as under 13 they must be treated differently in regards to COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act).

COPPA requires parental consent for any child under 13 before a company can collect any personal data; there are hardly any exceptions to this hard-wired law. Even if your company does nothing with the information they collect from children under 13, it is still completely illegal and nothing you want to be charged with.

The Importance Of A Clear, Legal Privacy Policy

The list for legal issues goes on and on, that’s why companies spend so much money ensuring their campaigns fit in line with all legal aspects. It’s not just about following the rules but also creating a detailed privacy policy that clearly informs customers about your services and data collection policies.

You might think that your actual marketing campaign is more important than following some largely unknown laws. Yet, this is the mistake too many companies make, ultimately giving them legal battles, fines, and a tarnished reputation.

Skipping out on legal considerations in regards to online marketing is the last thing you want to do, but that doesn’t mean it is a cheap or easy process. Hiring a reputable marketing team might be the most affordable way to ensure your marketing tactics are completely legal, as well as beneficial.

Related posts