GDPR was certainly one of the big marketing buzzwords of the year and many feared that their email marketing would grind to a halt, concerned they would be buried under a torrent of subject access requests and complaints.

Some organisations thought it safer to delete their entire email database, whilst others decided to refrain from emailing anyone who hadn’t explicitly opted in. In hindsight this seems like madness! 

At Kingpin, we looked closely at our database and tirelessly studied the GDPR, concluding that our data was compliant. As long as we followed the updated regulations it would still be legal to engage with our data.

So, we did. And guess what... the results have been positive. 

To highlight this, we compared all of our external email marketing campaigns from June-November 2018 to the same period in 2017.  

Although admittedly there saw a slight decline in open rates across the EU (-0.2%), there was actually an increase of 1% in France and 3% in Benelux.

But the real interesting statistic is that despite the slight open rate decline, our CTR has almost doubled YoY! This has inevitably led to an increase in downloads and thus increased ROI from our email marketing campaigns.

Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of Open rates as a metric and feel our increase in CTR is the statistic that shows the real benefit of continuing to email your data post-GDPR.

"But surely if we’ve been messaging our database then we would have been deluged with the dreaded subject access requests and complaints?" 

Well, not really. Yes they are up on previous years but they are still in the realms of 1 a week rather than hundreds. The pre-GDPR fears around complaints and SARs now seem misplaced.  

Admittedly, our data volumes have slightly diminished (we pro-actively removed old unresponsive data from our database - this is data that previously we would have retained with the aim of re-engaging it in the future) - but we placed more emphasis on using intent data (from our Argus platform) to target the right contacts. Email marketing as it should be. 

Looking after your data

You still need to ensure that you have a proper ‘paper-trail’ of where each contact on your database came from and when, and ensure that data subjects are aware that you have their data and you will contact them with relevant messaging. 

If you have this in place then the post-GDPR email world is not a quagmire of complaints and 2% of turnover fines for everyone.

Instead it's a world where not that much has changed. If you contact your data with relevant messaging, they will still be responsive to and engaged with what you have to say.