21 July 2020
In the marketing world, landing pages are for connecting with users to either warm them up to a product or gather their information for a later contact.
The common practice is to remove all unnecessary links and navigation bars from a landing page, so that users are focused towards a call-to-action, such as a web form in which they can enter their contact details or request a quote or an action button that will redirect the user to another part of the website.
This creates a problem for the website's owner, in that they are quite possibly collecting customers' personal data through that landing page, but the customer has not agreed to the website's privacy statement which discloses how the website is using the collected personal data.
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In one sense, a landing page is any page that users can land on. In another, stricter use of the word, a landing page has just one purpose:
to act as a single web page separate from the rest of your website, with one objective and one focused call-to-action for your customers.
There are 2 main types of landing pages:
The purpose of the click-through landing page is to persuade the user to click through to another part of your website.
On the other hand, lead generation pages have the goal of collecting user's data such as their name and email address so that you can follow up with that person later and market to them.
Landing pages are typically stripped of any content that could distract the customer away from your primary call-to-action, such as navigation bars, footers, and social media links. However, landing pages still need to follow the principles of good design to attract customers:
Here's an example of a click-through landing page from Unbounce:
You can see that the primary call-to-action on this landing page is for users to click the "Connect with Facebook" button and go through to the Facebook page of Gameground.
Now let's look at a lead generation page:
You can see that the main difference here between the click-through and lead generation pages is that the lead generation page has a web form in which the user is encouraged to enter information.
The problem that this creates, however, is that in both cases, user data is collected. Remember that all landing pages collect some data about your customers, even if your page is click-through only.
Some examples of the types of data that a click-through landing page collects can be:
Lead generation pages collect this kind of information (like above), as well as whatever your user enters some information into the web form.
This can be an issue because most privacy legislation around the world requires that you inform your users that their data is being collected, among other things.
The most common place is in the footer of the landing page, below the fold. Even Google does this:
This is usually not enough to provide you with good legal protection, particularly if you're actively collecting information about users. Instead, you can improve on this by displaying the link more prominently such as at the top of the landing page like The Telegraph, shown in the example below:
For lead generation landing pages, it's even more important that your users agree to your legal agreements. Some potential options are:
Using a checkbox that is required to be ticked before the Submit button can be pressed is the strongest protection for you.
But some landing pages may not collect personal data directly from users, i.e. ask users to fill a form. But you can indirectly collect this type of data through third-parties that your website may use.
While remarketing can be a great way to attract past visitors back to your site, you should inform these people that you gather information for remarketing or similar audiences on your website.
Most countries have some kind of privacy legislation, which covers what you need to tell your customers with regard to their personal information: what you collect, how you use it, and who you share it with, for example.
With regard to US law, there's no general data privacy law, but the California Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003 (CalOPPA) requires that your legal agreement must contain at least the following:
If you think your landing page might attract people from the UK, Canada, Australia or the EU, UK's DPA act, Australia's Privacy Act, Canada's PIPEDA, and European law all require that certain data collection rules be followed when collecting private information.
The main principles these jurisdictions have in common are:
You don't need a separate agreement for your landing page if you already the legal agreement, but make sure it is being displayed on your landing page in some way and it's updated to reflect what your landing pages might collect.
Use a clickwrap method
A clickwrap agreement is a type of legal agreement where the customer clicks "I agree" in one way or another.
You could use a pop-up window, check box, or button. This is called an explicit or express consent. Here's an example of what clickwrap on a landing page looks like, from Salesforce:
Notice what appears underneath the "Start free trial" call-to-action button on Salesforce's landing page:
Clickwrap is traditionally contrasted with browsewrap, which is different: the user is presumed to have agreed to any legal agreement(s) of the website by just browsing the website.
Typically, this method is implemented by displaying links to the legal agreements in a website's footer:
Given that the general aim of many landing pages is to get rid of navigation and footer bars, browsewrap may not be the best option from a marketing perspective.
This isn't the best option from a legal perspective too, as most courts consider browsewrap methods not to be enforceable. The clickwrap method has been upheld by the courts, as they show that the user has clearly and explicitly agreed to the legal agreements.
Courts have generally held that a browsewrap agreement is not enough for a contract to be made between the website operator and the user, unless the link is displayed conspicuously and frequently throughout the website.
This is in contrast to a clickwrap agreement, where the user must click on the terms to continue using the website, or click an "I Agree" button before submitting information through a web form. Clickwrap agreements have typically been upheld by the Courts as valid.
This means that on one hand you are faced with the huge benefits of using a clickwrap method for your legal agreement, as it provides you with the greatest legal protection; on the other hand, by using a clickwrap method you may see reduced click-through and sign-up rates of users.
If you choose to use a browsewrap method instead, ensure that your links are displayed prominently on your landing page and frequently throughout your website.
The best way to set up a clickwrap method without affecting conversion on your landing pages is to use a checkbox on your lead generation landing page at the end of your web form where you collect customer information, like Salesforce's example above.
This article is not a substitute for professional legal advice. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor is it a solicitation to offer legal advice.