How Consumers Feel About Privacy and Digital Marketing

MADfest 2019

How Consumers Feel About Privacy and Digital Marketing

Those questions were posed and answered recently at MADfest, an advertising, marketing and technology disruption festival held at the Truman Brewery in London. Ogury, one of the sponsors of the event, hosted a talk about The Reality Report, a global survey of mobile users designed to evaluate how they feel about digital marketing and the way their data is used.

Max Pepe, the VP of Marketing who presented the findings, made no bones about it: consumers are being lied to. We are led to believe that the internet is free. But it is not. We pay with our data.

The report showed how consumers feel about:

  • Privacy
  • Sharing data
  • Advertising on mobile

Why does this report matter?

  1. The scale of this research. Most research generates 2,000-3,000 responses. This research summarises the results of 287,000 responses from all over the world!
  2. Mobile technology is changing fast
  3. We’ve entered a new era of privacy awareness. Consumers are cynical and distrustful of digital marketing

The three conclusions from the report are very telling.

Conclusion #1: Consumers are in the dark because consent notices have not been taken seriously enough

Following GDPR, every website now has some sort of data consent notice pop-up before you can access its content. This should, in theory, help consumers understand how their data is being used. However, the report revealed that only 8% said they have a better understanding of how companies use data after GDPR. And 37% said they don’t even know what GDPR is…

The bottom line is that consent notices do not help people understand how their data is being used. But companies need to care so that consumers can have greater trust in brands. For consent notices to work, they cannot be riddled in legalese and fine print. They need to use plain English to empower consumers to make informed choices.

Conclusion #2: Data is the currency of choice on mobile

People spend about five hours on their phones each day. When asked whether they would rather share data or pay a small fee to view content, the vast majority (71%) said they would happily share data vs. paying money. But what type of data are people happy to share in order to avoid paying for apps and content? 58% said navigational data (ie: mobile apps, websites they use). 13% said contact details like an email address. The rest said they would be happy to pay.

This is good news. Navigational data is perfect for marketers as it can form the basis of targeted advertising.

Conclusion #3: It’s about choices, permission and trust

77% of people said that targeted marketing messages designed to show them things that appeal to them are… annoying. Only 10% said they are useful.

This is a significant finding considering $165 billion is expected to be spent on mobile advertising this year. I repeat: $165 billion will be spent on something that irritates consumers!

Clearly, more data + more technology does not equal more user value.

It doesn’t matter how relevant the ads are. If consumers haven’t asked for it, it’s a constant reminder that their data is being taken without their permission.

Ultimately, digital marketers need to heed these results and rethink their approach. Things are changing fast. To maintain consumer trust, the digital ads of the future are very likely going to need to go from “data-driven,” to “choice-first.”

If you’re interested in a free copy of The Reality Report, you can get yours here.