Marketers had their world turned upside down on 25 May last year, when the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, came into play. The new legislation affected how businesses were not only able to collect personal data, but also how they stored this data, accessed this data, and used this data. The regulation sought to provide consumers with greater control over their personal information. Now that the initial 12 month period has passed, how is GDPR and the marketing sector faring?

GDPR’s Impact on Marketing

Of course, the run up to GDPR implementation was certainly tense amongst marketers, and the initial impact suggested that this legislation was anything but good news for business. In fact, more than one third of marketers reported losing a significant chunk of their databases when the legislation came into force.

Now, however, it seems that many of the negative aspects were short lived. Recent research suggests that marketing databases have recovered to pre-GDPR levels. This is encouraging given a third of marketers were originally thought to have lost as much as 30% of their mailing lists.

It’s not just database recovery either. Many marketers are now saying that GDPR has actually had an all-round positive impact on operations. Figures quoted in marketing week say that three quarters of marketers now enjoy better email open rates while click through rates have also increased since the legislation came into effect.

Around half have reported a notable drop in spam complaints and marketing opt-out rates. Believe it or not, marketers actually like GDPR, with 32% now stating that the benefits outweigh the costs, compared to just 16% in 2018, according to the Data & Marketing Association.

GDPR Compliance

While we can see that GDPR has had a surprisingly positive impact on marketing, we can’t forget to ask the most important question: are marketers actually complying with the legislation?

68% of security experts claim that businesses are still not taking GDPR seriously, and that regulators aren’t exactly rushing to enforce the rules. The actual figures though suggest entirely the opposite. Of the 11,468 breaches that were reported between 25 May 2018 and 30 March 2019, only 0.25% were actually punishable.

Is GDPR Working?

So while marketers are showing high levels of compliance, and are already seeing the benefits of GDPR, how are things looking from an audience perspective? Actually, things are pretty good here, too, with customers citing a much better understanding of how companies use their data. More than half of audiences have reported that, for them, nothing’s really changed.