BREAKING NEWS - The Three Pillars of Consent | DMA

Filter By

Show All

Connect to


BREAKING NEWS - The Three Pillars of Consent


After years of researching hundreds of consent statements, we now know what factors most influence consent.

Major charity, financial, retail and insurance brands have tested their consent statements using fast.MAP’s Consent Optimising Benchmarks concocting every conceivable statement structure. fast.MAP have diligently recorded the absolute level of consent by channel and ascertained why consent was given.

Whilst there are an abundance of factors that can be changed in permission statements, this article highlights the three most important. We refer to these as the Three Pillars of Consent.

Pillar 1: Opt in versus Opt out

The debate many clients have is whether to go all opt in, all opt out or to incorporate both in their consent statements.

Opt out results in more consent, but regulation and codes of practice are increasingly moving towards opt in. Our clients (particularly those close to the finance director or MD) are anxiously and conscientiously planning for a day when opt in is mandatory. Perhaps you are aware of organisations which have made the transition to opt in such as the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). fast.MAP have worked with the RNLI to develop their consent statements. Part of their journey and the impact of moving to opt in can be seen in our 11 Steps to Consent Guide.

Pillar 2: Language

Concealed within the concept of consent are key attributes (including trust, clarity and control) that influence whether consent is given. The language and prioritisation of these competing qualities significantly affects consent. Impatient consumers have a consent attention-span of a few short seconds so the selection, order and placement of every word and comma really matters.

Staying compliant is often the focus of guidelines as GDPR gets closer. Will you be offering positive reasons why a prospect should consent to your marketing rather than your competitors?

Pillar 3: Structure

It is particularly difficult to gain consent for some channels such as telephone, so the order, combination and prioritisation of choices and channels will influence the outcome. Granular consent is another factor to be considered; i.e. splitting type of communication by channel.

Brands should prioritise communication channels that they consider most important. For example if your marketing programme can only survive through telephone communications then optimising this channel is vital.

Why the three pillars revelation is important

Direct marketers, when testing; try to limit the variables so it is clear which one caused the result. Our analysts have now built benchmark scores for statements of differing types so brands can now compare the performance of their own statements with similar statements. They might for example choose to keep two pillars consistent; e.g. opt in and structure, but change language.

For further tips and insight around consent read about:

Understand more about the Consent Optimising Benchmarks at

If you have any questions or want to talk it through face-to-face? Call David Cole or ask for a member of the fast.MAP account team on 020 7242 0702; email

Hear more from the DMA

Please login to comment.