How Does GDPR Affect Social Media Marketing?

Back in the day, marketers could collect as much data as they wanted about users so that they could design and shape their marketing strategies accordingly.

However, with the over-manipulation of these types of data, governments and institutions had to take greater precautions to protect users’ information.

The introduction of the GDPR was the first step in that direction.

With the GDPR, businesses and marketers are no longer allowed to collect and use personal data of their customers in the same way.

As a result, various fields within the marketing sphere have also changed, including social media marketing.

Continue reading if you want to learn more. In this article, we will look at how GDPR affects social media marketing.

Let’s get right to it.

What is GDPR?


The General Data Protection Regulation is a legal framework which establishes guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information for individuals residing within the European Union (EU).

As the Regulation applies no matter where a website is located, all sites that receive European visitors should comply, regardless of whether they offer goods or services specifically to residents of the EU.

If you want to learn more, read in-depth about the GDPR.  

What businesses need to comply with GDPR?

Whether based within or outside the EU, the GDPR applies to any company that:

  • Provides goods and services to EU citizens;
  • Monitors people’s behavior in the EU. 

In particular, key criteria for companies that must comply are:

  • Having a presence in one or more EU countries.
  • It does not involve a physical presence within EU countries, but rather the processing of personal information about EU citizens.
  • Over 250 employees.
  • The company has fewer than 250 employees, but data-processing affects individual rights and freedoms and is not an occasional occurrence.

What are the individual rights under GDPR?


As part of the GDPR, there is a section devoted to data subjects’ rights (individuals’ rights), including:

  • Right to be informed. Any user visiting a website should be aware of the information the company is collecting about them and how it will be used.
  • Right to access data. Consumers have the right to access their personal information. The company has one month to respond, and it cannot charge a fee.
  • Visitor’s right to rectify. In case of inaccurate or incomplete data, a visitor can ask for it to be corrected.
  • ‘Right to be forgotten’. Data subjects have the right to request to have their personal information deleted at any time.
  • User’s right to request a restriction on processing. Individuals have the right to request the restriction or suppression of their data.
  • Portability of data. Users can access their data from different devices and use it in different ways.
  • Right to object. Clients have the right to refuse to give companies their personal information.
  • Right not to be subject to automated decision-making. Users can opt out of automated decisions which may negatively impact them.
  • Right to compensation. Those who suffer damages as a result of a breach of the GDPR have the right to compensation from the data controllers and processors.

Consequences of not complying with GDPR

In any case, non-compliance with GDPR has serious consequences for any business. Here are some of the most significant ones:

  • Financial consequences– Organizations that fail to comply or suffer data breaches may be subject to fines under GDPR. Depending on the degree of violation, there could be a fine of up to 17 million euros, or 4% of an organization’s annual sales. According to, data breaches of this nature are highly preventable with the right practices and these penalties, avoidable.
  • Reputational consequences– other than the financial consequences of a data breach, your company may experience negative brand reputational consequences as users will be less willing for their data to be used and shared. Similarly, other businesses and investors will be wary of investing in your company and doing business with it.

GDPR: How does it affect social media marketing?


Now that you have a basic understanding of GDPR and what rights individuals have under it, it’s time to consider how GDPR affects social media marketing.

A few of the most important points to consider are listed below.

Limitations on social media ads and remarketing

The first effect of GDPR on social media marketing is it affects advertising, especially remarketing.

A retargeting or remarketing strategy (e.g., Facebook retargeting) is a digital marketing concept that reaches out to previous visitors of a site or a social media page with highly targeted ads.

With these ads, the company hopes to capture users’ attention and interest once again so they will convert into paying customers.

Previously, remarketing was allowed without any limitations. Instead, the GDPR has changed the way businesses can conduct marketing/advertising campaigns.

Before running remarketing campaigns, you must get users’ consent to process and collect their data as part of GDPR requirements. To do this, you need to create an opt-in disclaimer about data usage within the ad or implement a sign-up page.

Traffic from social media must agree to your privacy policy

Think about a social media landing page that offers a newsletter or free download to encourage subscribers.

GDPR requires double opt-ins, meaning that EU consumers must consent twice before their data can be used. 

Upon opting in for the first time, they agree to your privacy notice, which explains how their personal information will be protected and processed. In the second case, users accept your offer by downloading a report or subscribing to your newsletter.

As part of GDPR compliance, you should also implement a pop-up message on your website that requires users to accept your cookie policy and privacy statement.

While the message adds an extra step for site visitors, users have become accustomed to it, so it has little impact on their experience on your site.

Limited behavior-tracking of some visitors from social media

Google Analytics provides marketing professionals with data they can use to assess their ROI from social media.

Since Google Analytics is itself GDPR-compliant, you can still gain insights about users, as long as users agree to your privacy policies.

Even so, test your cookie opt-ins and make sure your privacy policy is up to date if your EU traffic is dwindling. User experience issues like confusing opt-ins may cause some users to drop out before accepting.

Best practices for GDPR compliance on social media


As social media marketer or business making use of them, then you might be wondering how to stay compliant with GDPR. Below we have outlined some of the best steps you can take to ensure compliance.

Social media policy

Whenever you conduct a marketing campaign, it is important to inform users of how their data is being used. To do this, you need to create a privacy statement that is comprehensive and detailed. Besides informing your users, this should also educate those working within social media for your business on the rules around GDPR, social media, as well as how your company protects the information of your users.

Build trust and relationships with users

To maintain GDPR compliance and run effective social media campaigns, you should first focus on gaining users’ trust.

These are some of the best ways to achieve this:

  • Be sure to obtain permission before contacting EU users.
  • Don’t send users irrelevant information or content they didn’t ask for.
  • Ensure you have a double opt-in process and an updated privacy policy.
  • Post more than just promotional ads. Provide free content such as ebooks, videos, etc., that will inform, entertain, and/or benefit users.
  • Show users that you listen to their comments and criticisms by responding quickly and investing time and energy in building a relationship with them.

Keep track of permissions

Keep track of people who have unsubscribed from your content or asked not to be contacted. Most importantly, make sure that you follow up on their requests.

Strengthen social media security

The GDPR aims to protect the privacy of EU users. In this sense, if you don’t adhere to social media security, you defeat the purpose of the GDPR. Ensure your social media accounts are protected by limiting access to a few allowed users. Enable two-factor authentication to further enhance security.


Marketing strategies have drastically changed since the GDPR was implemented. 

It has become increasingly important to protect users’ data in order to ensure that businesses do not use users’ information improperly. 

Failure to comply with such regulations can have heavy financial, legal, and reputational repercussions. 

This does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to collect any data from your users. As outlined in this article, there are several steps that you can take to comply with GDPR while doing social media marketing. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. Hopefully, it was informative to you. 

If you want to read more, check out ​​this ultimate social marketing guide for business.


Flavia Silipo is a skilled SEO copywriter and digital marketing specialist with over two years of experience. You can find her on LinkedIn.

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