Brand owners risk throttling the life out of digital marketing because of the way they are handling customers’ personal data online, according to a damning report, which shows consumer trust plummeting like a stone.
The latest TRUSTe Consumer Confidence Index claims the number of UK Internet users who trust companies with their personal details online has fallen from 63% to 55% in the past year, leaving 45% who do not trust companies with any personal data.
However, these increased fears have not been driven by the so-called Prism-gate scandal but as a direct result of the way brands are conducting their digital marketing.
And TRUSTe European managing director Ken Parnham warns the move is “wake-up call for businesses that commercial data collection and sharing, rather than government activity, is the main driver of increased online privacy concerns”.
Timed to coincide with Data Privacy Day 2014 (today), the report also shows 91% of consumers are less likely to click on online advertisements, while 89% said they avoid companies which they believe do not protect their privacy.
Meanwhile more than two-thirds (64%) are now less likely to enable location tracking on their smartphone, according to the report.
Overall, 60% of respondents said they are more concerned about online privacy today than they were a year ago, with 60% of those attributing that to companies sharing their personal information with other firms, while 54% percent were concerned about companies tracking their online behaviour to target them with ads and content. Only 20% cited coverage of government surveillance programmes as a reason for their increased concern.
Parnham added: “Lack of trust can starve businesses of valuable data and sales, restricting the lifeblood of the digital economy. These findings show that success is no longer just about innovation, companies need to take decisive action to address online privacy concerns to stay ahead of the competition, minimise risk and build online trust.”
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