Ditch murky data capture and give us control, say Brits

shopping 1The days of companies using “smoke and mirrors” techniques to railroad consumers into handing over their online browsing data could be numbered, with three out of four people now wanting firms to only use consented data for advertising and targeting purposes, not data collected behind the scenes.

That is according to a new Realtime Research survey commissioned by Invisibly, which quizzed 2,240 Brits and found consumers only want firms to use data that they supply themselves and that they have full control over.

It also revealed widespread knowledge of how the online ad industry works, with over eight in ten (84%) respondents insisting that they know exactly what browsing cookies are. The number of people who do not know increased with the age of respondents, and also, men were 23% more aware than women.

When asked directly whether people agree with companies tracking them for marketing purposes, 70% of respondents did not agree, whereas only 17% did, and 13% did not care either way. Men (27%) were more agreeable to online targeting than women (7%).

In fact, just under half (44%) of those surveyed said they use an ad blocker to prevent companies from targeting them; only 6% of people said they do not use an ad blocker because they like ads targeting them.

The report states: “It was surprising how many women did not like targeted ads, given that statistically speaking, more ads target female shoppers than male shoppers.

“This should serve to caution online advertisers of a few things: how they collect their data, how accurate it is, and how frequently it’s being used. These survey results suggest people are growing wary of how online advertising works, and how often the data used is inaccurate, causing more and more people to want take back control of their data altogether.

“The results also provide a strong use case for growing the use of AI and machine learning for better understanding people’s real attitudes and behaviours, which could prove much more accurate, and relevant, in the advertising industry than collecting sensitive personal data that most people clearly don’t approve of.

“We’re eager to see how online advertising evolves in the coming years, given the vast changes in attitudes to consumer privacy and the evolution of better technology.”

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