GDPR in Marketing: Are Your Retargeting Campaigns Compliant?

Table of Contents

    When you’re getting ready to retarget promising leads, you need to get all of your ducks in a row.

    Beyond using ads and messages to nudge them to convert or join your list, you also have to be upfront about how you handle the information you’re asking them to give you. 

    Whether you’re asking for permission to track their behavior or whether you’re asking for their name and email address, proving your GDPR compliance is pivotal. 
    Today, we’ve put together a helpful GDPR-compliant guide in marketing so you can build trust with your leads and customers when running retargeting campaigns — and get one step closer to your sales goals.

    Here’s what the checklist looks like:

    • Understand GDPR and Its Implications for Retargeting
    • Create a GDPR-Compliant Retargeting Strategy 
      • Foster Transparency and Communication
      • Ensure Partner Compliance and Data Sharing
      • Maintain High Data Security 
      • Create a Plan to Handle Data Breaches and Incidents
      • Create On-Going Training Programs and Nurture Internal Awareness
      • Continually Monitor and Assess GDPR Compliance

    Let’s get started!

    Understand GDPR and Its Implications for Marketing Retargeting Campaigns

    gdpr compliance in marketing
    Credits: Vadi Fuoco

    Brands have the legal obligation to follow General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws when running retargeting campaigns or other initiatives where personal data is collected or observed.

    The purpose of this privacy law is to help consumers and businesses give, manage, and store data ethically and safely. 

    Failure to follow this data protection law not only breaches trust and puts your reputation on the line, but you may also face some hefty legal trouble. TL;DR: Yep, that means public authorities could get involved.

    If you want to make sure your retargeting campaigns follow GDPR principles every time, consider hiring a legal team to review your GDPR practices. Present them with your GDPR plan and ask if they notice any compliance gaps or vulnerabilities. 

    Be sure to also show them simulated marketing campaigns so they can see your compliance in action and suggest specific updates.

    Create a GDPR-Compliant Marketing Retargeting Strategy 

    To process data to use in retargeting campaigns, you need to make sure you have permission to use it in the first place. 

    One of the simplest measures you can take is to use data-based marketing tools that promote GDPR compliance, like a customer data platform or CDP

    blog gdpr compliance customer data platform
    Source: Hightouch

    A CDP offers a consolidated and compliant way to manage, segment, and analyze your customer data. If you choose the right one, that is.


    CDPs create a single user profile by collecting data from different platforms. 

    Some CDPs can connect with consent management platforms so you can have one trusted place for user data. 

    With a CDP, you can also store consent in one place and make sure all connected systems follow the rules. CDPs can also protect personal data by resolving identities and masking information. This is crucial to maintaining high data security.

    But not all CDPs let you collect and manage consent directly.

    *Pro-Tip: The best CDPs work with consent management tools like OneTrust or Gigya. 

    A 2022 report from the CDP Institute says that only a few CDPs have all the features necessary for consent management. The report states that almost all CDPs can use consent and preference data to control access to customer profiles, even if they don’t call themselves a consent management platform.

    Plain and simple: When considering CDP options, ask vendors if they store and use data in real-time. Also, ask if they save detailed consent information, such as when and where the data was collected. 

    To sum up, with the right CDP in hand, you can:

    • Benefit from privacy by design
    • Identify where data comes from
    • Connect with other data sources
    • Gather all customer data into a singular profile
    • Correct data
    • Document customer authorizations
    • Manage and store data usage

    Let’s take a look at some other core ways to create a GDPR-compliant marketing retargeting strategy.

    Foster Transparency and Communication

    Crafting a clear and concise privacy policy should be an integral pillar in your GDPR-compliant retargeting strategy. 

    This document acts as a crucial point of contact between your business and users, outlining how you collect, process, and use their data. 

    To maintain accuracy and comprehensiveness, use a free privacy policy generator that offers customizable templates designed to align with GDPR guidelines. This step not only enhances transparency but also demonstrates your commitment to safeguarding user information.

    You’ll also need to:

    • Request cookie use consent — add cookie banners and pop-ups across your website, retargeting ads, and retargeting messages
    • Use plain language when asking for explicit consent from users — keep it clear and simple!
    • Have an option in place to withdraw consent 
    • Provide access to user data and enable the right to be forgotten
    • Communicate retargeting efforts to users clearly, i.e., “We noticed you browsed our funnel builder but didn’t sign up for a trial. Here’s a link for a free 30-day trial”

    Ensure Partner Compliance and Data Sharing

    Evaluate any third-party service providers you work with on your retargeting campaigns to make sure they’re GDPR compliant. 

    You’ll also need to review your data processing agreements with relevant retargeting partners and make sure your cross-border data transfers are GDPR-compliant, too. 

    Maintain High Data Security 

    Double-up on compliance efforts by creating a protection strategy that maintains high data security and minimizes data collection and storage.


    Run a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) regularly to identify risks and minimize data leaks.

    Data from retargeting campaigns is often detailed and sensitive, representing a treasure trove for both the company and potential malicious parties. As you work to get in compliance with privacy legislation, don’t overlook the fundamental security of the data itself. 

    Opt for solutions, such as cloud data backup and recovery, to stay proactive and quickly restore information in the event of a breach or data loss. 

    blog gdpr compliance clumio data backup
    Source: Clumio

    Cloud data backup and recovery platforms will also send you breach notifications in real-time so you can respond as soon as possible. 

    Create a Plan to Handle Data Breaches and Incidents

    Develop an incident response plan before data breaches and events happen so you can focus on solutions when something comes up. 

    In any case, be sure to notify authorities and users in case of a breach and present them with a plan to make things right. 

    Take every incident as an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve your compliance efforts.

    Create On-Going Training Programs and Nurture Internal Awareness

    Make sure everyone’s on the same page about what it means to be GDPR-compliant before setting up retargeting campaigns. 

    gdpr compliance marketing team training
    Credits: jm_video13

    Regular training and updates can help your marketing team understand what they can and can’t do with customer data, such as collecting it without permission or sharing it with others. 

    To spread internal awareness, be sure to:

    • Set up ongoing compliance training to educate employees about GDPR and its impact on retargeting campaigns
    • Send company-wide alerts when data policies change 
    • Send company-wide alerts if you spot a data breach, suspect leaks, or learn about new cybercrime risks  
    • Implement privacy-by-design principles throughout the entire organization

    Continually Monitor and Assess GDPR Compliance

    Always keep a close eye on how well your company is following GDPR regulations. 

    Consider setting goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure how well you’re doing.

    It’s also a good idea to run regular assessments and audits to see if there are any areas you can improve. Don’t forget to stay updated on any changes to the GDPR rules to make sure you’re always following them correctly. Head to for the latest info.

    Wrap up 

    Adhering to GDPR principles means your business respects individuals’ rights and follows ethical data collection standards. 

    It’s not just about avoiding legal trouble. It’s about being responsible with data, building trust with your audience, and nurturing a positive brand image. 

    When working with retargeting campaigns, go above and beyond to prioritize user privacy and follow GDPR rules. Make sure users know what your privacy policy is and how you plan on handling their data. Always give them the option to opt out of cookies and any other data collection efforts you set up. 

    If you’re worried that your measures aren’t enough or as solid as possible, have a GDPR legal team review your approach. 

    GDPR professionals can review the way you collect and manage data, ask for permissions, and apply data in your marketing campaigns. They can also run internal audits to make sure your staff is doing their due diligence to ensure GDPR compliance when crafting campaigns and handling information.

    For good measure, here’s a quick recap of the GDPR-compliant checklist for all your marketing campaigns:

    • Understand GDPR and Its Implications for Retargeting 
    • Create a GDPR-Compliant Retargeting Strategy
      • Foster Transparency and Communication
      • Ensure Partner Compliance and Data Sharing
      • Maintain High Data Security 
      • Create a Plan to Handle Data Breaches and Incidents
      • Create On-Going Training Programs and Nurture Internal Awareness
      • Continually Monitor and Assess GDPR Compliance 

    That’s it, for now, marketers.

    Here’s to your marketing campaigns success!

    P.S.: Do you need to track your marketing channels performance in real-time? Use our off-the-shelf marketing dashboard templates, plug in your data and get the full picture of your multi-channel lead gen efforts instantly. You’re welcome!

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    About the author

    Ryan Robinson is a blogger, podcaster, and (recovering) side project addict that teaches 500,000 monthly readers how to start a blog and grow a profitable side business at