privacy, privacy policy, affiliate marketing, digital marketing, data protection, data privacy, gdpr

Affiliate marketers: do you need a privacy policy?

When it comes to online matters, privacy is a big issue. People need to disclose personal information over the internet for all kinds of reasons, even when there is no monetary exchange taking place. Keeping this information safe is absolutely crucial, online platforms have a duty to their users to safeguard their personal data against threats from hackers and cybercriminals.

While affiliate marketers may not directly sell products to customers through their platform, instead redirecting them to an online merchant, they still collect personal information from visitors to their website. This data can be used to assess the efficacy and success of a particular campaign and allow affiliates to streamline and optimize their strategy. However, marketers have a duty to protect this data and need to inform visitors about what they are doing with their information.

What kind of data do affiliate marketers collect?

Data collection and analysis are absolutely vital for all kinds of marketing. New software and digital tools are becoming available all the time to allow marketers to evaluate consumer information in more detail and incorporate the findings into their marketing strategies.

Name and contact details are often collected for emailing purposes, while personal information such as age, gender, and income status are used to build up consumer profiles to create more effective targeting campaigns.

There are a range of regulations and legislative measures in jurisdictions throughout the world that determine how platforms and brands can use consumer data. It is essential for affiliate marketers that they make themselves aware of these laws and understand how they can affect their business practices.

What are the laws?

In Europe, the law governing data privacy is the General Data Protection Regulation, often referred to as GDPR. This law applies to all businesses that deal with EU customers, even if the business is based outside of the EU itself. The GDPR is extensive and complicated but primarily stipulates a number of measures that companies must adhere to, including security, data storage, accountability, and transparency.

One of the other main privacy laws is the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA). This governs data privacy regulations for residents of California, as well as businesses elsewhere in the world that deal with customers from California. Much like GDRP, CalOPPA stipulates that businesses must be transparent and communicative in how they collect and use consumer data, making it clear to users what information of theirs is being collected and how what is being done with it.

For affiliate marketers who want to operate legitimately and within the confines of data privacy laws and regulations, drawing up and displaying a privacy policy is absolutely crucial, and is often legally required by regulations including CalOPPA.

What is a privacy policy?

Put simply, a privacy policy is a statement or document that details what information you collect from users and what you are doing with it. Not only that, but a privacy policy should give visitors to your platform information on how they can limit or reduce the amount of information they disclose.

Generally speaking, privacy policies must be clearly laid out and easy to understand, they must provide information on consumer rights and how they can be protected, and they should disclose how information is collected, such as through the use of cookies, for example.

Additionally, privacy policies must be displayed prominently on your platform and should be easy to access. The most common way to display privacy policies is by including a link in the footer of a website.

Do you need a privacy policy?

For any type of online service or business that makes use of consumer data and information, having a privacy policy is absolutely essential. Affiliate marketers are no different, not only will having a privacy policy reassure consumers that your platform is safe, legitimate, and reliable, but it will also ensure that you are operating within the bounds of international laws and regulations.

Failure to adhere to privacy laws can have severe consequences. Infringements of GDRP rules can incur fines of up to €10m ($10.4m), so it is vital that all businesses make sure they are handlining consumer data in a proper and legal fashion.


Data privacy is an increasingly important factor that all online businesses, affiliate marketers included, must consider when designing and executing business operations. Failure to do so can have serious implications for your brand image and reputation and can come with extremely heavy penalties.

If you’re looking for more insider knowledge on affiliate marketing, take a look at our blog, or for more personalized advice, book a free call with a member of our team.

Looking for even more insights? Registrations are now open for our 2023 Amplify Summit, held from the 17th to 18th of January, where you’ll have the chance to access talks from industry experts, panels and workshops, networking opportunities, and a free affiliate manager toolkit. Register and secure your place today!

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