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Expert Q & A

Did GDPR Prepare the EU for iOS14.5?

June 18, 2021
Mae Rice

Marketers in the EU have spent the past three years working on the privacy-first web. GDPR taught them early how to work with opt-in buttons and the like. But iOS 14.5 is a different story.

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The privacy-first web may feel new in the U.S., but it’s three years old in the EU.

When the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rolled out in 2018, it was “a great reset,”  2XeCommerce and Commerce Accel founder Kunle Campbell told MarketerHire.

Every company had to rethink how it collected and communicated about consumer data, and every marketing team had to adapt. 

Is that helping EU marketers adapt to iOS14.5? Not exactly, Campbell said.

What GDPR taught EU marketers

Here are three things Campbell has learned from his years in GDPR-regulated e-commerce.

Visual nudges work. 

Visual nudges, like an opt-in button bigger (or more colorful) than the opt-out button, can get 90%+ of users to opt into data collection — though they’re controversial and, some argue, illegal.

Framing matters. 

Most EU companies label their opt-in button “Accept” — a word people associate with interminable Terms and Conditions legalese, which 91% of us accept without reading. 

Another nudge that helps those opt-in rates. 

A huge, unengaged email list isn’t a win. 

GDPR required that every person a company emails had explicitly opted into their sends, Campbell explained. 

So when the law rolled out, some companies that ran less-than-stellar re-permissioning campaigns lost half the emails in their CRM — and realized it wasn’t such a loss.

“Why continue to communicate to people who… do not see value in communicating with you?”

Why iOS14.5 is different — and scarier 

Though GDPR and iOS14.5 both tackle privacy issues, here are three reasons Campbell sees iOS14.5 as more disruptive.

It’s inflexible. 

GDPR asked every company to build its own, compliant data collection infrastructure, Campbell pointed out, but Apple’s update is a change the company made to its own operating system.

That makes it rigid. The “opt in” and “opt out” buttons on the default iOS14.5 prompt belong to Apple — and they’re staying the same size. 

It casts data collection in a more negative light. 

The iOS14.5 prompt’s wording “really makes people petrified,” Campbell said. 

By asking users to “allow” instead of “accept” data collection, and making the choice about tracking — not accepting cookies, the typical EU terminology — they nudge people to opt out. 

The opt-in rate is lower. 

Nearly everyone opts into data collection under GDPR, Campbell noted. (It’s usually easier than opting out.)

With iOS14.5, it’s a different story. Global opt-in rates hovered around 15% in its first month, according to Flurry

Our takeaway? 

EU marketers have been thinking seriously about privacy for years, but that hasn’t necessarily prepared them to handle iOS14.5. They’re learning as they go, just like we are.

Mae Rice
about the author

Mae Rice is senior editor at MarketerHire. A long-time content marketer, she enjoys interviewing marketing experts and learning about the weird and wonderful feedback loops that connect marketing and culture. She also loves any ad that makes her say "Huh?!" — especially Tim and Eric's ad for Totino's pizza rolls, which she watches way more often than you would think.

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