As digital engagement manager, I create, develop and deliver engagement campaigns to help raise awareness of the work the department is doing, and this involved making sure the department was ready for GDPR.
This work began when I joined in May 2017 and would be the key to the many conversations I would have about data collection for consultations and email sign-up forms.
40 days after GDPR came into force, inboxes are quiet, the email marketers are calm and now we see very few click-bait articles about how organisations should prepare for GDPR.
As most people will have realised, GDPR was actually part of a review of the Data Protection Act 1998. A lot has changed since 1998, when the World Cup was in France (and they won it), Google had just been founded and the iMac had just been unveiled.
The Data Protection Act 1998 did not cover how data was used, shared or how we gather information for email communications, which isn’t surprising given how new the internet was. But 20 years later it needed to be reviewed.
In comes GDPR
In 2015 the ICO announced provisional guidance for how GDPR would impact organisations. This was part of a response to concerns about how the charity sector complied with data protection law and the rules around electronic marketing.
Over the next 2 years many organisations nominated GDPR officers, reviewed data processing and generally evaluated how their organisation managed data with regards to communication.
The emails. SO MANY EMAILS.
As far as I'm concerned, GDPR has been one of the best things to happen to the Department of Health and Social Care, as we have so far seen better engagement with and reaction to our emails:
- Open rate:
- April/May: 18.3%
- June: 44.9%
- Click rate:
- April/May: 9.47%
- June: 9.54%
- Click-to-open rate
- April/May: 14.38%
- June: 17.69%
What next for the team?
Now we review and improve our automated programmes (the follow-up emails people receive), our personalisation (tailoring correspondence to people's personal details) and the dynamic content in our emails (showing content within an email dependent on a person’s interests or clicks).
This is all so we improve the relationship that our email subscribers have with the department and build better systems for maintaining a database that ensures everyone engages with the emails we send.