‘Brands need to be transparent over data or lose customers’

Complicated privacy policies have led to a drop in consumer awareness of the extent brands collect and use data for marketing campaigns in the past 12 months, according to a study by Deloitte.  

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More than a third of consumers (35 per cent) claim to be “fully aware” the data trail they leave from using online shopping sites, social media and smartphone apps etc will be captured and used by brands looking to employ behavioural targeting. This, however, is 10 percentage points lower than the total reported in Deloitte’s 2012 “Data Nation” report.

The majority either class themselves as having only a basic grasp of data capture (45 per cent) or having no knowledge at all their personal data is being used for marketing purposes (19 per cent ).

Of those describing themselves unaware, it is the digitally savvy 18-34 year-olds that register the lowest awareness levels. Twenty-eight per cent have little clue how much data is collected about them compared with 19 per cent of 35-44 year-olds and 14 per cent of 45-64 year-olds.

Deloitte blames overly detailed privacy policies that it claims take up to 25 minutes to read. It adds the report finds the more people know about data use the more confident they are brands will keep their personal and shopping history safe and therefore the more they are willing to share.

Harvey Lewis, research director in Deloitte’s analytics unit, says: “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.”

The report is based on a survey of 2,006 representative teenagers and adults in April 2013. 

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