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The Impact of Data Privacy Regulations on Social Media Marketing: Ultimate 2024 Guide

Social media is the perfect place for you to promote your product. 

  • First of all, this is where your audience spends most of their time. This means that you have their attention.
  • Second, this is where a lot of them buy directly from, which means that, if you manage to convince them, there are only a few steps before they can buy.
  • Third, this is where they post all their personal information. This means that you have an easy job of doing customer research.

However, doing all of this social media marketing while remaining on the right side of the law can be challenging. With that in mind, here’s the impact of data privacy regulations on social media marketing. 

#1 Regulation Compliances

At the very start, it’s important to understand that every social network is a product belonging to a specific business. This business collects data and is, as such, compliant with the jurisdictions of the regions where its platform is active. 

Social media platforms are active all across the globe, which means that they have to be compliant with major regulations like GDPR and CCPA, as well as a number of minor compliances. 

This is why, regardless if you’re looking for data collected on social media or one collected on your own site, you need to make sure that you get it by law. Now, on your site, you would have to get compliance on your own, and the simplest way to do so is with a compliance management platform.

You can easily get CCPA compliance with Usercentrics, ensure that it’s all done according to regulations, and, most importantly, ensure that this remains so in the future. Namely, you need to understand that regulations (even major ones) change. Every time there’s an update, you have to implement them quickly. With a platform, this is much easier.

Now, there are a few things that are key when it comes to these compliances. First, you need to ask for consent directly. The age at which consent was implied is long gone. Second, you need to tell your audience where they can find and reread these terms of agreement. Lastly, they need to know how they can retract their compliance. 

So, if you had to focus on just two things, it would be transparency and jurisdiction. Find out which compliances you have to abide by, and make sure to let your audience know what you’re doing. All of this can be done easier with third-party services.

#2 Limitations to Ad Targeting

The first thing you have to understand is that social media ads tend to be so specific that it’s really easy to suspect that all sorts of spying takes place here. In reality, compliances are heavily limiting ad targeting

Marketers cannot rely on detailed behavioral data, so they have to use broader audience categories. This reduces the precision and effectiveness of ad campaigns, but it helps protect the privacy of individual users. This is especially important for those who want to improve their social media sales.

Browsing history and search queries are often used as a market, but there are also social media interactions to which to pay attention. Advertisers will know if you frequently like or comment on posts that correlate with specific categories. For instance, you may be more engaged with fitness costs, which will make you an ideal target for this type of content. 

Another tool often used for targeting is purchase history. More and more people buy directly from social networks without even going to the store, which gives social networks more insight into previous customer behavior. 

Location data is another such factor. The thing is that you’re the one who can upload your current location on social media, regardless of the GPS. You’ll just post a photo and tag your current location. Based on the TOS (terms of service) of the majority of platforms, this is now a vital piece of data that they have access to. They didn’t even have to use cookies or anything along those lines; you just told them your location.

Overall, social media platforms have more access to your data than the majority of e-commerce sites you visit. However, they can’t use it all. 

#3 Conduct UX Research

Social media marketing is an amazing place for sentiment research. Brand mentions can be discovered pretty easily (thanks to tags and hashtags), and you can anonymously join Discord to see what the fuss is all about. However, it’s not ideal for researching the experience of individual users (UX), especially if you want to do it in accordance with data privacy regulations.

The complexity of this gargantuan task is one of the main reasons why so many people choose to go through UX research firms instead of doing it directly. They lack the tools and the expertise to do it all seamlessly. They’re aware of their limitations, and they know that they would waste a disproportionate amount of time and effort achieving limited results. This is something best left to professionals.

So, why is this process so complex and scary? 

First, you have to obtain informed consent. You have to reach out to an audience and ask for their participation in the survey. You can do this directly via social media chat or openly via a post (and ask everyone interested to contact you via inbox).  

However, once the research starts, you have to anonymize all the data. You need to minimize it and remove all the personally identifiable information. This way, you get only opinions and not personas behind these opinions. Pseudonyms instead of real names also work.

The security of data has to be high every step of the way. You need to keep it safe in transit and at rest.

#4 Reduction in Third-Party Data Use

In the past, social media audience research was free-for-all, and the majority of enterprises directly bought data from third parties in order to use it in their own campaigns. 

This is no longer the safest course of action. You see, most of these third-party collectors cannot meet privacy regulations, and the majority of these regulatory bodies are really strict when it comes to what you can use if it comes from a third-party source.

So, in social media campaigns in 2024, more and more marketers are forced to rely on first-hand sources. In other words, you have to rely on data that you’ve collected, seeing as this is the only data you can vouch for, which was collected legally and ethically. 

In terms of social media marketing, this means data that you’ve collected directly from their interactions with your brand on social media or from interacting with your page. Every time they visit, like, or comment on something on your page is considered first-hand data and it’s the core of what you should base your social media marketing strategy around.

One more thing worth mentioning here is the importance of all the changes when it comes to retargeting strategies. You see, pixel-based tracking requires explicit user consent. This means that some marketers will soon have to find an alternative way to retarget their audience.

#5 Transparency in Influencer Marketing

Every user gets the same way to use the social media platform. You can post, comment, like, and follow as soon as you register your account. It doesn’t matter if your account is five minutes old or five years old; the capabilities are the same. This is not some video game where you unlock extra features by playing or paying – you just get it all right away.

However, this doesn’t mean that everyone’s the same on social media

The value of a profile is measured by two factors: following and engagement. People with large followings are influencers, and people with large engagements are… well, great influencers. 

It didn’t take long for digital marketers to realize the massive potential behind influencer marketing. Now, while most influencers have a presence on more than just one network, for the majority of them, there’s one main platform and a few secondary platforms. Someone big on YouTube doesn’t necessarily have to have a strong TikTok account. A lot of followers on TikTok don’t have to translate to Instagram, etc.

In other words, you have to pick an influencer with a great following on the social media platform you care about.

Second, modern regulations insist that influencers disclose their sponsorships. In other words, in the past, influencers often acted like they promoted brands and products out of their deepest conviction and that money played no part in it. This was misleading and dishonest, seeing as how it granted them more charitability and credibility. 

Today, they have to be more straightforward with their audience. This makes influencers more selective of who they do business with.


1. How Do Data Privacy Regulations Impact Social Media Marketing Strategies?

Data privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA impose strict guidelines on how businesses can collect, store, and use personal data obtained from social media platforms. Marketers must ensure they comply with these regulations to avoid legal repercussions.

2. What Steps Can Marketers Take to Ensure Compliance With Data Privacy Regulations?

Marketers should prioritize transparency and consent. This includes clearly informing users about data collection practices, obtaining explicit consent before gathering data, and providing users with options to manage their privacy settings.

Final Words About The Impact of Data Privacy Regulations on Social Media Marketing

Overall, social networks are platforms where people share all of their most private data. However, this doesn’t mean that you can collect it without any restriction or just do what you want with the data. There are so many rules and regulations to make this process into a bureaucratic nightmare; however, most marketers find that the results are always worth it.