GDPR case-study

2018 EU General Data Protection Regulations

Minimizing a Drop in Marketing Consent Rates for Financial Service Provider

(increased marketing promo consent rates up +35%)


Financial Service Provider (UK)

Joint project by:


Introduction of GDPR (in European Union, May 2018) is expected to considerably drop the customer’s marketing consent rates (i.e. consent to receive marketing promotion materials). Some businesses report the drop in marketing consent rates from 70% (pre-GDPR) to 30% when changing the way the marketing consent forms are built to comply with GDPR.


Aim of this project is to develop new marketing communication consent formats using principles of Behavioural Economics (choice architecture / nudges) and test these new consent formats using behavioural experiments in RCT format.

Business Challenge

Our client, one of the largest financial institutions in UK, was concerned about impact of General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR, came in force on May 2018) on bank’s ability to maintain active digital marketing communication channels with existing and new clients. Apart from general data compliance part, GDPR requires not only “unambiguous” consent from clients to send any marketing promotion materials, but also it requires this consent to be reconfirmed at certain time intervals. In another words, businesses are no longer allowed to obtain marketing consent by using defaults for opt-in/opt-out boxes.

Why is it a challenge? An empirical evidence from companies who stopped using opt-in/opt-out boxes with defaults demonstrates the drop in consent rates from 70% to 30%.


Priority was given to collection of empirical data on what works when observing consumer behaviour.

Expilab Research team has designed and conducted behavioural experiment in Randomized Controlled Trial format with a control group (existing marketing consent format that already complies with GDPR). Online experiment was conducted on Expilab’s digital platform for behavioural research that allows simulating typical consumer decisions in the financial context.

  • 8 alternative marketing consent formats + 1control tested
  • Behavioural experiment in Randomized Controlled trial format with between-subject design (1 participant sees only 1 consent format)
  • 3 weeks online experiment with 1000+ participants from UK
  • Use of Expilab’s digital platform for behavioural research allowed to minimize risks for the financial institution and its clientèle when testing new marketing consent formats


Using empirical data collected via behavioural experiment, the best performing marketing consent format was identified. Consent rates for receiving marketing promo communications increased by more than 35%

Search for the best alternative consent formats highlighted the importance of empirical testing of proposed formats – some formats may backfire on the consent rate despite demonstrated positive results in other industries or contexts (e.g. based on “classical” nudges such as loss aversion)

Performance (consent rate) of marketing consent formats vary across different socio-demographic profiles of the customers and digital communication channels.

Other Important Implications

  • GDPR implementation is expected to lead to considerable drop in marketing consent rates across digital channels for both existing and new clients
  • Behavioural experimentation techniques allow finding the best performing marketing consent formats that are specifically designed for your industry / business sector
  • Every little detail matters as seemingly minor changes in choice structure or text framing leads to changes in the consumer choices

What behaviours & attitudes you want to change?

Not a simple question, right? We use field trials & digital experiments to generate behavioural insights on why people behave the way they behave

Behavioural experiments

Field tests & trials

Laboratory experiments

Mixed-method research

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GDPR: Minimizing a drop in marketing consent rates for Financial Service Provider (UK)
Article Name
GDPR: Minimizing a drop in marketing consent rates for Financial Service Provider (UK)
Case-study: Building & testing new marketing communication consent formats using behavioural experiments for Financial Service Provider (UK) following introduction of the GDPR.
Publisher Name
Expilab Research S.L.
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