The proliferation of everything from social media apps to streaming services means one thing: data is everywhere. When used correctly, data can be extremely beneficial. Increased access to consumer insights has made it easier for marketers to analyze customer preferences and deliver engaging, hyperpersonalized digital experiences. However, this creates privacy risks for individuals and brands alike, with neither side fully comprehending how to navigate this new landscape, especially with global focus on data privacy and its impact on consumers.
Acquia recently polled more than 1,000 U.S.-based consumers on their data privacy opinions and preferences. The findings point to a demand for more transparency and the potential to continue to engage consumers in personalized ways, without going too far.
Overall, the survey underscores the need for brands to first educate consumers on data usage in order to rebuild trust. More specifically, the data revealed three key findings:
- Confusion around the data that brands have access to: Despite the increase in data privacy regulations designed to give consumers more power over their data, 55 percent of respondents still don’t know how brands are using their data. In fact, 65 percent of respondents don’t even know which brands are using their data.
- Frustrations about unmet expectations: A majority of consumers aren’t willing to give brands second chances. Sixty-five percent of respondents would stop purchasing from a brand that was dishonest about how it was using their data. This means that brands only have one chance to earn a consumer's trust. Therefore, brands must do more than just letting customers know their personal information is safe; they must also uphold that promise.
- Distrust of internet brands: The study found that consumers are typically waiting at least a month before sharing any personal data with brands. This emphasizes their desire to build relationships, taking time to get to know brands before trusting them. In addition, 49 percent of respondents are more comfortable giving personal information to brands with a physical store presence. This reflects their distrust of the internet.
Among these findings, there’s one common element — transparency is key for brands looking to earn and maintain consumer trust, even if they didn’t cause the distrust in the first place. Each click, search and post on the web creates valuable data points. Recent U.S. legislation geared toward giving consumers back control of their data points to a desire for transparency. The brands that get ahead of this by offering their customers insights into how their data is being used will emerge as champions. It will benefit the business long term, but above all, it’s the right thing to do.
For brands to continue to succeed in offering personalized experiences that consumers appreciate, they must uphold their responsibility to the consumer and educate them on data usage. More and more, we’ll see options to opt in and out of data sharing. Over time, consumers will gain back more and more control of their personal data.
Lynne Capozzi is the chief marketing officer of Acquia, a cloud platform for building, delivering, and optimizing digital experiences.
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