Marketing Consent Research: Does Quantity Equal Quality? | DMA

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Marketing Consent Research: Does Quantity Equal Quality?


Many businesses are taking steps to limit the amount of their database they are likely to lose the right to contact when asking them for marketing consent under GDPR. Marketing consent research and consent statement optimisation are quickly becoming vital elements of a good communication strategy and GDPR is going to make them all the more important.

Gone are the days of the auto-filled tick box, the ambiguous phrasing in consent statements and a single tick box for consenting to any and all communication channels. Consent statements will have to be more granular, and marketers will have to be more transparent and work harder to increase the number of opt-ins. But how much are the consent changes required for GDPR compliance really going to impact on the responses you receive from your marketing?

The ICO clearly describe how the old approaches outlined above will not hold-up under GDPR:

“Consent means offering individuals real choice and control. Genuine consent should put individuals in charge, build trust and engagement, and enhance your reputation.”

It these points that have been highlighted in our marketing consent research. Through surveying various demographics about their opinions on a variety of organisations’ consent statements – including charities, membership bodies and insurance companies – we have identified three distinct types of consent as you can see in the table below.


Marketing consent research reveals consent types

Figure 1

Consent statements that score highly in what we describe as ‘Bad’ consent are likely to damage an organisation’s reputation, increase opt-outs of marketing campaigns in the long term, and ultimately lead to less people willing receiving your marketing. ‘Missed’ consent means that the organisation has lost opportunities to expand its database due to a lack of clarity in their consent statement.

Figure 2 shows the difference in consent quality between two consent statements used by a an anonymous business. Statement A is an older, unambiguous statement and Statement B is optimised and GDPR-compliant.

Statement A achieved more consent overall, with 34% of the audience consenting to receive marketing. However, due to the statement’s confusing wording, out of the 34% who consented just under half (47%) did not mean to consent and a further 10% wanted to consent but accidentally opted out.

Statement B achieved 4% less consent overall. However, with 17% less ‘Bad’ consent and 4% less ‘Missed’ consent this statement is likely to perform much better in the long run.

This is because more contacts are likely to expect and engage with the marketing communications, trust the organisation, and stay opted in to receive more marketing in the future.

Marketing consent research graph showing good, bad and missed consent

Figure 2

The high levels of ‘Bad’ and ‘Missed’ consent our marketing consent research has uncovered may come as a surprise. But it is for this reason that GDPR is so focused on clarity when it comes to consent.

Figure 3 is an example of a statement that produces high levels of bad consent which demonstrates how a company can end up with many contacts taking the wrong action. When asked for consent online, people will rarely spend more than few seconds before clicking a tick box – or in this case the ‘’ button.

Figure 3

Through marketing consent research, companies can go further than simply making a clear consent statement. They can develop insights into how their target audience feels about the consent statements they use to increase ‘Good’ consent.

This article was written by Declan Spinks, Marketing Executive at fastmap. For more information about fastmap’s research into consent, GDPR and data protection and more visit or get in touch with David Cole, Managing Director, fastmap on +44 (0) 20 7242 0702

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