New research from Deloitte has found it would take British internet users 31 hours to wade through the privacy policies of all the websites they visited in a year.
Data Nation 2013: Balancing growth and responsibility considered Great Britain’s attitudes to data collection and use by private and public sector organisations.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Deloitte, shows that people are still not confident in the way that companies collect, use, handle and share data. Just 38% believe companies will keep their data safe, while only 22% are confident their details won’t be sold on to other organisations.
Despite generations ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ being the most prolific generators of data, particularly through social media, they are the least likely to understand the consequences of the digital trails they leave behind. Nearly one-third (28%) of these generations perceive that companies have little or no information about them, or simply don’t know how much data is collected. This compares with 19% for generation ‘X’ and 14% of baby boomers.
Harvey Lewis, Deloitte Analytics research director, commented: “The British public is still not confident in how companies use and handle their personal data. Organisations need to make it easier for individuals to understand why this information is collected and what benefit they will receive. Businesses are more likely to get maximum benefit from data if every customer interaction is based on the principles of transparency, trust and informed dialogue.”
Deloitte’s research also looked at the amended Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation, or ‘cookie law’, one year on from its implementation. While this law was designed to give internet users greater awareness of the digital information that organisations keep on them, Deloitte’s research suggests a key tenet of this regulation has failed. Over half (57%) of internet users usually ignore notices about cookies or have not seen them and just 4% said they know a great deal about the cookie law.
Peter Gooch, privacy practice leader at Deloitte, said: “To a large extent, this lack of knowledge can be attributed to the time when users are first made aware of cookies, which is normally when a user first arrives on a website.The majority of consumers won’t read about cookies at this point, since they’re likely to be focused on the original reason they accessed the page.
Adrian Moxley, Co-founder and CMO at visual classification company, WeSEE, commented: “Deloitte’s findings that a growing number of consumers are happy to receive information that has been effectively targeted based on their interests is not surprising when we consider the increasing sophistication of marketing communications. More and more innovative technologies are hitting the market that enable brands to gain a truly rounded view of consumers’ interests by drawing on the keywords and visual content and that consumers search for. Consumers expect a personalised online experience, whether that’s in online gaming, online shopping or entertainment consumption such as music and film, and are becoming increasingly intolerant of websites or brands that provide suggestions that are irrelevant to their interests. For example, if I’m looking at or sharing pictures of home interiors, then I clearly have an interest in this category and would be open to relevant advertising associated with this category.
However, there is a fine line that brands have to tread and while they have massive amounts of customer data available to them, they must reign in their targeted messaging to some extent and use their insights selectively or else their targeting will be seen as monotonous by the user. Advertisers and marketers certainly have an opportunity to understand consumers like never before, but deep and meaningful engagements, rather than relentless, spam-like ads and suggestions, will be key for companies wishing to break through the noise through targeted advertising.”
About the research
The Deloitte UK 2013 Data Nation report is based on primary research from the national survey carried by Ipsos MORI on Deloitte’s behalf, supplemented by additional secondary research carried out by the Deloitte Insight team. The survey of a sample of 2,006 teenagers and adults aged 15 and older, representative of the British population, was conducted using face-to-face interviews during 22 March – 15 April 2013.
Generation Z: 15-17 years old
Generation Y: 18-34 years old
Generation X: 35-44 years old
Baby Boomers: 45-64 years old
Silent Generation: 65+ years