Get prepared for the new EU & Google online advertising laws


It’s time to get set for two significant rule changes that will affect online advertising and pop-up notifications on your eCommerce website. Stricter rules on cookies and tracking are being introduced by the European Union, whilst Google now lowers the search rank of mobile sites that use intrusive, full-screen interstitials (pop-up banners) Tweet This as of 10th January 2017.

We’ll summarise what these new regulations mean, and how you can ensure that your website complies. The great news is that Expressly’s 1-click customer referral programme already adheres to these, reducing the potential adjustments to your site overall Tweet This. We’ll explain how your customers can make informed choices on their privacy preferences whilst sales opportunities are protected.

The EU’s new privacy proposals

Since 2013, online businesses have been required to notify visitors on their use of cookies for personalising the customer experience and offering targeted advertising.

A common solution has been a banner at the top or bottom of the business’ website. This includes a link to their ‘cookie policy’. The user automatically agrees to the use of cookies if they continue to explore the site. This will likely change when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in May 2018.

Web browsers will be required to give users an ‘opt-in / opt-out’ opportunity when they visit a website Tweet This. The browser will be set to ‘opt-in’ by default, meaning that users will still see personalised advertising content. The EU backtracked on a proposal to initially set browsers to ‘opt-out’, but there is still a concern that many users will use the opportunity to decline information sharing.

Our view at Expressly is that businesses may need to inform users of the benefits of continuing to ‘opt-in’ when they first visit the site, to retain the ability to keep advertising relevant to the consumer. Otherwise, as the IAB puts it, the law could “effectively put the future of the web as we know it in danger” Tweet This because it disrupts the most common internet business model.

One advantage to these “simpler rules” on cookies, however, is that website owners may no longer need to display a ‘cookies banner’ to users.

Google’s changes to SEO rankings for intrusive mobile pop-ups

Google’s priority has always been to deliver immediately relevant results to its users. That’s why they intend to lower the search performance of websites that involve intrusive interstitials, otherwise known as pop-ups Tweet This.

Expressly’s pop-up banners comply, so they’re not affected. But there are many factors that can affect a page’s ranking, so we’d strongly advise checking your site for these types of mobile pop-ups Tweet This:

    - Interstitials that cover the main content, either as soon as the user lands, or after a set period of time.

    - Pop-ups without an adapted version for desktop and mobile.

    - A ‘welcome mat’ style pop-up where the ‘above the fold’ section of the page pushes the original content underneath the fold.

    - Standalone mobile pop-up pages that the visitor has to dismiss before they can actually access the page.

Mobile interstitials that you can still use on your site include:

    - Banners that are easy to ‘dismiss’ and still allow you to view a reasonable portion of the page content on a smartphone or tablet screen.

    - Interstitials that inform users about a legal obligation, or require them to take action, such as age verification or cookie policy.

    - Publisher content that is only available through a paywall, or other types of login request pages where the content can’t be indexed.

The following screenshots demonstrate how a pop-up banner can be used in a way that does not significantly disrupt the user’s experience:

Expressly is future-proof

We’re real advocates of any practice that enhances trust between advertisers and users, and we provide a compliant solution that delivers a great experience and is designed around each user’s privacy. Expressly’s 1-click technology not only assures customers of the benefits of sharing information, but it also allows customers to decide whether to transfer their details.

This welcome message appears in a discreet, non-intrusive pop-up window after a customer clicks a Powerlink ad. When they land on the partner brand’s site, the customer is invited to transfer their details.

Expressly's pop-up. Try it for yourself by taking our  demo .

Expressly's pop-up. Try it for yourself by taking our demo.

If the customer wants to know more about security and privacy, as well as who is transferring their data, they can click ‘learn more’ to view FAQs tailored especially to answering their concerns.

Our customer opt-in system is both regulation compliant and ready for the future, as we already met the EU Directive on Privacy and Data Portability before it was first discussed.

Our back-end server-to-server secure technology ensures that no customer data can ever be transferred across parties, until the customer consents to the exchange. We essentially act like a trust bank.


Google’s new rules are already in place, so we highly recommend that you review your website at the earliest opportunity to continue receiving leads through search results. The EU’s ePrivacy proposals are not yet finalised, and are expected to come into effect in May 2018. Early preparation is worthwhile to avoid being caught out.

You don’t need to change any of your Expressly customer acquisition campaigns to stay compliant, but read our FAQs to learn more about Data, Security and Privacy.


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