Collect Consent with GDPR Forms

If your business is based in the European Union (EU), or you process the personal data of individuals in the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) affects you.

When relying on consent as your legal basis for processing, the GDPR says the consent you obtain must be freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous. You also must clearly explain how you plan to use their personal data. We’ve updated Mailchimp signup forms to help you stay compliant with this law. Our optional, GDPR-friendly forms include checkboxes for opt-in consent, and editable sections that explain how and why you are using data.

In this article, you’ll learn how signup forms can help you comply with the GDPR.

Before you start

Here are some things to know before you begin this process.

  • Enabling GDPR fields on your signup forms does not make you compliant. It’s the first step of the process. To collect consent from new and existing contacts, you’ll set up your forms, create a segment, and send a consent campaign.
  • You can import marketing permissions to a GDPR-enabled audience if you collect and maintain contact consent records outside of Mailchimp. You are responsible for ensuring you can demonstrate that your contacts have consented to the marketing permissions you import.
  • Mailchimp Subscribe is not compatible with GDPR fields.
  • Certain styles of pop-up forms are not compatible with GDPR fields.
  • Mailchimp offers tools and information as a resource, but we don’t offer legal advice. We recommend you contact your legal counsel to find out how the GDPR affects you.
  • If you’re located in the EU or use Mailchimp to market to anyone in the EU, review Section 20 of our Terms of Use and Section 5.E.(ii) of our Privacy Policy. These sections include important information about how Mailchimp treats EU data, and what you should do if you’re keeping EU data in your Mailchimp account.

How it works

Just enabling GDPR fields on your signup forms will not make you compliant. It’s the first part of a multi-step process. Here’s how it works.

Set up your GDPR-friendly signup form

  • Enable GDPR fields
    Turn on GDPR fields for the signup forms for each audience affected by the GDPR.
  • Edit GDPR fields
    Mailchimp provides suggested language for GDPR fields to make it easier for you to create your GDPR-friendly forms. You might need to edit this language to fit your marketing plan, so be sure to review it carefully. If you choose to write your own descriptions, make sure you’re explicit about why you’re collecting data.

Segment your audience by marketing permissions

Segment your audience based on the marketing permissions you receive from your signup form. You don’t have to wait to collect your data to create segments. After you create and save your segments, you’ll be able to access them anytime. Give your segments descriptive names so you can find them easily.

Collect consent

  • From new contacts
    After you save your changes in the form builder, that signup form will include GDPR fields on compatible published forms. New contacts that use your signup form will be able to give explicit consent to your marketing.
  • From existing contacts
    You’ll also need to collect GDPR-friendly consent from the contacts you already have. Send an email to everyone on your audience that includes a link to update their settings.

Send your campaigns

After you save your segment, use it to send your email or ad campaign only to the people who have given consent through your signup form.

GDPR fields

GDPR form fields include checkboxes that your contacts will use to opt-in to your marketing, and space for you to add necessary information. Mailchimp provides suggested language that you can edit to fit your marketing plan. Make sure each section accurately describes your marketing activities.

This table explains what you need to include in each field.

DescriptionThis field describes why you are collecting the information on your form, such as providing marketing and product updates.
OptionsThis field uses checkboxes to get consent for each marketing activity you conduct. Mailchimp will provide a few common marketing activities to choose from, and you can add your own. Remember that each marketing activity must be clearly communicated and requires separate consent.
Legal TextThis field explains how you’ll use contacts’ data. Statements you make in this section must be consistent with your practices, so be sure to edit this field to meet the needs of your business. Include your contact details on the signup form - the GDPR requires the organization collecting the personal data (that’s you) to identify themselves. Let your customers know they can change their mind at any time with the Unsubscribe link.

If you plan to use data you collect from your contacts to advertise online, clearly explain your advertising activities and make sure your Cookie Statement describes any cookies or tracking technologies you might use. If you’re not sure, Mailchimp’s Cookie Statement includes a section called Cookies served through the Services that describes technology you (or your website) might use, depending on the features you use through Mailchimp.
Privacy Policy and TermsThis non-editable field lets your contacts know that you’ll be storing their info in your Mailchimp account, so there’s no need for you to describe this storage activity in the legal text field of your form. A link to Mailchimp’s Privacy Policy and Terms is included.

Which forms are compatible with GDPR fields?

After you enable GDPR form fields for your audience, these fields will be included on the hosted signup forms for your audience, embedded forms, update profile forms, and signup landing pages.

The fields will also be included on pop-up forms that use the Modal design format, and either None or Top image alignment.

GDPR fields are not compatible with form integrations or Mailchimp Subscribe.

Set up your GDPR-friendly signup form

To use GDPR fields on your signup forms, enable them for each audience that collects or contains personal data from EU citizens, then edit them to reflect your marketing practices.

Enable GDPR fields

After you enable GDPR fields for an audience, they will be available to view and edit in the form builder. These fields will be included on most signup forms associated with that audience, including pop-up forms, the hosted signup form, embedded forms and signup landing pages.

To enable GDPR fields for your audience, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Audience tab.
  2. If you have more than one audience, click the Current audience drop-down and choose the one you want to work with.
  3. Click View Contacts.
  4. Click the Settings drop-down and choose Audience name and defaults.
  5. Check the box next to Enable GDPR fields.
  6. Click Save List And Campaign Defaults.

You’re all set. GDPR fields will appear in the form builder for you to view and manage.

Edit GDPR fields

GDPR fields are only editable from the form builder. The changes you make in the form builder will apply to most Mailchimp signup forms, including compatible pop-up forms and landing pages.

To edit GDPR fields for your signup form, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Audience tab.
  2. If you have more than one audience, click the Current audience drop-down and choose the one you want to work with.
  3. Click the Manage Audience drop-down and choose Signup forms.
  4. Click Select next to Form builder.
  5. In the form builder, scroll to the end of your form and click the Marketing Permissions field.
    GDPR Fields MarketingPermissions
  6. Edit your GDPR fields.
    gdpr fields
    If you'd like to require your contacts to choose an option before they subscribe, check the box next to Require at least one option.
  7. When you’re done, click Save Fields.

After your forms are in use, be careful about any further edits you make. If you change a checkbox option, the consent you received before making the change will no longer be valid and you’ll need to reconfirm opt-in. If you want to change your form, we suggest that you add a new checkbox or remove an old one.

Segment your audience by marketing permissions

After you’ve set up your marketing permission checkboxes, segment your audience to make sure you send your campaign only to the people who have given consent through your signup form.

To create and save a segment in your audience, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Audience tab.
  2. If you have more than one audience, click the Current audience drop-down and choose the one you want to work with.
  3. Click View Contacts.
  4. Click New Segment.
  5. In the first drop-down, choose your GDPR form field label.
  6. Create a separate segment for each marketing permission. You can add up to five conditions to create a segment that includes contacts who have opted-in to more than one marketing permission.
  7. When you're satisfied with your conditions, click Preview Segment to view the contacts that match your conditions.
  8. Click Save as segment.
  9. In the Save Segment pop-up modal, type in a name for your segment, and click Save.

To learn more about managing segments, check out Save and Manage Segments.

Form versions

When a new contact signs up to your marketing through a hosted, embedded, pop-up, or landing page signup form for your GDPR-enabled audience, we'll record the field information in a plain-text version of your form. This captures the GDPR fields your contact saw when they subscribed, so you can show that you accurately described your marketing activities. You can view this information at any time on the contact's profile page.

You can edit the opt-in preferences for your contact here, but we don't recommend it. If you choose to edit your contact's preferences, make sure you have their express and verifiable consent.

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