The Lowdown

GDPR & The Future Of Data Protection

After years of preparation and debate, the European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in April 2016. Despite the UK’s decision to leave the EU, GDPR is one of the many regulations that we will continue to enforce. As of the 25th May 2018, new data handling rules will apply.

What Is GDPR?

In a nutshell, GDPR is an updated version of the Data Protection Act 1998. The core principles remain the same, so most businesses should already be largely compliant. That being said, many things have changed over the last 20 years, but the laws that protect our personal data haven’t changed with them. Until now…

For many individuals, their personal data has been shared far and wide. Mainly as a result of technology. There have been laws that protect our data, but it has become too easy in recent years to abuse our information.

Do you know which businesses have access to your personal information? The answer is likely no. But that is about to change.

What Impact Will GDPR Have On Me?

As a consumer, GDPR is going to be a great thing. Your personal information should be personal again and you will have control of it.

For example, if you buy something online there shouldn’t be any confusing marketing questions. Sign-up forms and requests to use your data need to be crystal clear. No longer will you see preselected tick boxes. Ideally, you will be taken to a different page and asked if you would like to opt-in to any marketing. And that is the important bit, opting-in.

As an individual, you will also have the right to request access to your data. After the 25th May 2018, you can ask to see what data a business stores on you. That business must be able to fulfil this request quickly, easily and free of charge. And if they can’t, then they can expect an investigation or possible fine.

And here’s the good bit. If you aren’t happy with the data they have, you can request for it to corrected or be destroyed. No ifs and buts. It has to be deleted* and never used again. The power is in your hands.

What Impact Will GDPR Have On My Business?

As a business, you will need to be transparent and cooperate with the regulations, or face hefty fines. If you haven’t already started to consider the impact of GDPR, then you should do it now.

If you are a business that processes personal data and shares it with other companies, then you will likely have a big task. If you haven’t already, we would advise speaking to a GDPR specialist. They will be able to support you throughout the process.

If you are a small business with minimal amounts of data, things might be a little simpler. However, you must make sure you have got the correct processes and policies in place to adhere to the new rules. There are lots of great websites offering advice and support, such as The GDPR Checklist.

Firstly, figure out what personal data you hold. You will soon be able to see the potential impact of GDPR. Whatever you do, do not ignore it. If you have any concerns or questions you could always speak to us and we will do our best to point you in the right direction.

The GDPR Catch 22

Whilst the initial thought of GDPR might be daunting, it is a positive thing. Times have changed, and the way we use personal data needs to improve. Customers will approve if you adhere to the new rules and don’t abuse their personal information. So don’t delay. Take action today and ensure you are GDPR compliant by the 25th May 2018.

Remember, even if they are an existing client or customer you will need their consent. If you don’t have it by the deadline then you won’t be able to process their data, and that includes deleting it. In that situation, it will be illegal for you to hold it, or get rid of it, a real catch 22.

*The only exception is transaction data. This has to be held for a minimum time period.

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New Year, New Me!

As the first days of January roll into view, we take a look at what to expect from the coming year. These are the trends and changes that we think you should consider in 2018.

The Rise Of Augmented Reality

The introduction of the iPhone X was dominated by facial recognition and the £1,000 price tag. But, the iPhone’s capabilities when it comes to augmented reality are very exciting. Perhaps even revolutionary. Pokémon Go pioneered the push towards real-time immersion in 2016, but that was just the beginning. As the technology in our phones continues to improve, businesses will begin to use AR in more creative ways. This will lead even more exciting and interactive opportunities in 2018. Already, Ikea Place is changing how we shop at the famous flat-pack retailer, and Google Translate is managing to break down the language barrier.

Heat Mapping Has Arrived

We can all agree that UX is a vital aspect of design. Customers ultimately want the very best experience from start to finish. And now more than ever, the customer journey is a multi-layered process. Heat mapping allows you to see how users interact with your website, instead of only displaying stats. By tracking the physical movements of a user it is easy to see which areas that are causing friction. We’ve discussed heat mapping before, but as websites continue to evolve, it is becoming fundamental to their functionality that you understand what people are doing on them.

Social Media Is The Next BIG Thing…

Businesses are becoming dependant on social media in order to reach their audience. It is no longer something to consider in your marketing strategy. It is a necessity. In 2017, “Social Media advertising spend increased over 60% year-on-year” according to ADWEEK. So, with continued investment and an ever-increasing number of users across several different channels, what new opportunities are available?

Clever Chatbots – Chatbots are getting smarter, easier to use and much faster at dealing with enquires. They are becoming an excellent and reliable way of streamlining customer service.

Ephemeral Content – That’s when the things you post disappear after a period of time. Snapchat was founded on it, and it is a key feature on Facebook and Instagram. Ephemeral content is an engaging way of creating a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out). Could your brand benefit from it?

Live Video – YouTube has over a billion users and is the second biggest search engine in the world. That means there is a huge potential to engage with your audience. Live video will continue to grow throughout 2018. We will no doubt start to see brands creating their own live channels, meaning there are potentially millions of users able to watch your content for free. It’s an exciting opportunity ready for the taking.

Generation Z – An age-old question; How does your business appeal to the next generation? What do you do to engage with them? Well, firstly, you need to know who they are? Generation Z are obsessed with their phones and yearn for authentic experiences. They will respond to less text and more images. They have a shorter attention span and use multiple screens at the same time. And in regards to social media, they love it! It has always been there for them. However, they don’t want to use the same ones as their parents. Do you still think you are appealing to them?

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

New EU regulations are coming into play in 2018 called the General Data Protection Regulation. If you are not aware of them, then this is a good place to start. In a nutshell, the information you have about an individual needs to be available when requested. As a business, you need to be transparent on the data you have on your customers and how you use that information. The terms surrounding consent are being overhauled. Make sure you are clear on these new laws that will go live from 25th May 2018. Keep an eye out for our full update in the coming months.

Voice Search

There has been a sharp rise in people buying and using voice-activated products such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home. With the increase of users comes the exciting, albeit unexplored opportunity of voice search results. Over the next couple of years, Google and Apple will be investing heavily in improving Siri and Google Assistant, and businesses will need to consider how they can appear in the search results (another factor to consider in SEO). It will no doubt take a bit of time to get to a position where we are relying solely on voice commands to deliver accurate search results, but it cannot be ignored. Amazon has already started to see the benefits in this area with, “Echo owners spending $400 per year more than Prime subscribers”.

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