Data transparency can have significant positive impact for brands

A new global study from ESOMAR and HERE Technologies, along with research partners BuzzBack Research, and Cint, shows that transparency around consumer data collection brands can potentially have a significant impact on both consumer trust and sales. The study, which surveyed over 10,000 consumers in 10 markets, found that 37 per cent of consumers in the UK would be far more likely to trust companies they know handle their personal data as they should. While over a third stated they would be more likely to buy products or services, or use mobile applications.

How people feel about sharing data

Levels of concern about sharing personal data are high. 74 per cent in the UK are concerned about sharing personal data, and only less than 1 in 10 UK consumers say they aren’t.

For some, the concerns and more heightened and specific. A third of UK consumers are nervous about suffering burglaries or physical harm if they share their location data digitally. While a third of people also feel vulnerable and stressed when sharing any personal data.

While an overwhelming majority of consumers (86 per cent) accept that it is their own responsibility to be aware of who they’re sharing data with, most don’t feel equipped to fulfil that responsibility. More than 3 out of 4 UK consumers agree that it’s “difficult to find information about how best to protect my privacy” – a score that was relatively consistent across the globe. Additionally, 89 per cent of people in the UK feel government legislation is essential for protecting against the misuse of personal data, yet only 28 per cent agree that current laws and regulations ensure that no misuse of personal data occurs.

Data collection does not need to be clandestine

For many brands the collection of consumer data is a clandestine operation, as we’ve seen with Facebook these past 12 months. However, the study shows that there is no need for cloak and dagger personal data collection if a company is transparent with their efforts.

Three out of four consumers in the UK stated they would be very likely to share personal data if they understood that their personal data is being stored safely and securely, while the same amount are very likely to share personal data if the data collector is clear about why their personal data is needed and how it will be used. Most importantly for brands 72 per cent of Brits are more likely to share their personal data if the data collector is trusted and reputable.

Of the study Finn Raben, director general of ESOMAR, said “In the UK almost two thirds of people have either had their emails or bank account hacked, their personal details leaked, or some other nefarious misuse of their personal data. People are understandably wary about sharing personal data, and this is compounded by a string of reports over the last 12 months of brands listening to and collecting personal data with almost zero transparency. What this study shows us is that it possible to collect the data that businesses need to provide and improve offers and services and avail of the many opportunities that a wider digital data ecosphere offer, while at the same time respecting the consumer through ethical and transparent data practices. Not only can brands collect data, but they can improve trust and potentially boost revenue through transparency”

“Our study clearly shows that consumer behaviour is shifting when it comes to Mobility as a Service,” said Aleksandra Kovacevic, engineering manager of privacy services at HERE Technologies. “More consumers are willing to share their location data with a variety of digital services—mapping, navigation and mobility ones in particular—if businesses and service providers are transparent about their approach to using consumer data. As mobility services and apps continue to proliferate, consumers see how essential their location data is in getting them from A to B. The onus, therefore, is on the businesses and governments to provide the infrastructure necessary to involve consumers as partners in data-first offerings. This will, in turn, create more intuitive services.”

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