CCPA and Political Ads: What You Need To Know and Why It Can’t Wait ‘til 2020

February 5th, 2019 by Katie Burke

The recently-passed California Consumer Privacy Act and proposed changes to political ads will change the digital marketing landscape in 2020. I know what you are thinking: 2019 just started, why should I already be concerned about complying with new rules and regulations that go into effect in 2020? As many companies learned through complying with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), it’s much better to start implementing changes as soon as possible.

With the recent breaches of consumer data, privacy and transparency have been major concerns. Passing the GDPR in 2018 was a huge step toward combating privacy concerns, but U.S. companies can still expect much more to come in the way of regulation and legislation. Not only will the US start enforcing their own data regulations, including the CCPA, but new rules are arising that would require greater transparency for political advertising.

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Key Components of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

Effective January 1, 2020, the CCPA aims to protect the privacy, security, and rights of California consumers. The law allows citizens, or the state itself, to bring action against a company for violations of the law. According to Varions, the rights given to Californians from this privacy act include the following:

  • Know what personal information is being collected
  • Know if their personal information is being sold or disclosed and to whom
  • Say no to the sale of their personal information
  • Access to the personal information that is being collected
  • Equal service and price if they choose to exercise privacy rights

Why Being GDPR Compliant Doesn’t Mean You’re Automatically CCPA Compliant

While the goals of the CCPA and the GDPR are extremely similar, businesses need to be aware that just because they comply with the GDPR requirements does not mean they are compliant with the CCPA. In many ways, the CCPA expands on ideas and regulations of the GDPR. For example, the CCPA requires a way for consumers to control their own information, as opposed to the required consent for data in the GDPR. The CCPA’s rule on notifying consumers if their data is sold to third parties and allowing them to opt out is another major difference.

So what do marketers need to do to prepare for this 2020 deadline? First and foremost, they need to be sure to closely examine the data that they currently collect and how it is used. Data fields on forms, profiles, and landing pages are an important part of this scrutinization process. If they collect personal information, clear language and cookies need to be in place to inform users about what information will be stored, shared, or sold. Privacy policies must also be updated with steps the consumer can take to have their personal data deleted.

What Could Change With Political Advertising for the 2020 Elections?

The 2020 elections are not far off, and many political campaigns at both the national and statewide level have already been kicked off. After the controversy over the 2016 elections, protection of data and transparency with political advertising has been top of mind. In March of 2018, new regulations were proposed by the FEC for how political advertisers should run disclosures that are clear about who paid for the ad. After commissioners met in June, there was still no clear decision for an approved proposal.

Currently, the FEC law requires that advertisements include disclaimers for three ad types: Communications by Political Committees, Express Advocacy by Any Person, and Solicitations by Any Person. The newly proposed rules would apply to the same ad types, but require that these ads state who paid for them and if a candidate authorized the ads. Another difference these policies propose is that advertisers will no longer be able to omit ad disclaimers based on size constraints. Instead of omittance, “adapted disclaimers” must be used, which would have the largest impact on online advertisements.   

Keep in mind that while the majority of marketers may not be working directly with a political campaign, these rules still apply to anyone who expressly advocates for or against a candidate in paid digital ads. This could encompass a large variety of digital advertising users, even outside the realm of politicians. The urgency behind the push for new policies should encourage all advertisers to be more transparent in regards to paid political ads, not only in preparation for inevitable future regulation but also in an effort to maintain good faith with consumers.

Despite the fact that the FEC has yet to pass an official regulation from these proposals, the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) has implemented new guidelines “designed to bring greater transparency and accountability” to political advertising. Under these guidelines, the DAA is urging political advertisers to use a purple PoliticalAds icon in the top right corner of ads, which will link to any required disclosure information. For advertisers using this icon, there should be little to no work left to do in order to comply with the FEC regulations once a final decision is made about the proposed disclaimer policies.

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What Else to Expect Before 2020

A lot is still changing as far as privacy regulations are concerned. The CCPA has seen a lot of criticism for how quickly the law was pushed through, and for what some say is oversight on how certain aspects will be enforced. This backlash has led to speculation that the CCPA could still see a lot of change before it goes into full effect on January 1, 2020.

Advertisers should be sure to keep an eye out for any more changes. Many data collectors are now pushing for federal regulation before other states pass laws and create a patchwork of varied laws, making compliance across the country much more difficult. However, don’t be deterred from continuing to take advantage of digital advertising channels. As stated in our recent blog by Alison Zeringue, spending on digital marketing and advertising has continued to grow. In addition to spending more on digital advertising, we are also seeing marketers increasing the use of targeted audiences, despite new regulations and privacy concerns being at an all-time high.

If you’re concerned about the changes to digital advertising, the experts at Search Influence are here to help. We follow the news and the trends to ensure that our clients’ digital marketing campaigns are effective while following the letter of the law. In addition to creating regulation-compliant online ads, we track their performance as well. Start a conversation today to learn more about how we can help your business grow.


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