Survey Finds Age Determines Online Gullibility

Gen Z are seen as the most likely to be misled or influenced by online content, followed by Millennials, according to new research by Adobe presented at Advertising Week in New York City.

Two in three Gen Z (63%) and 52% of Millennials also confess to being unaware of news stories about personal data misuse, or think the stories are inflated or manufactured.

Adobe’s Voices of the Generations survey found respondents, regardless of age, are not willing to let companies off the hook for bad ad placement. That said, there are slight generational differences on who wields the ultimate responsibility. The majority of Baby Boomers assign blame equally to the websites and brands, whereas most Millennials believe the brands are most at fault.

Older Americans exhibit less tolerance for distrustful behaviors. One in four Baby Boomers (25%) would cut ties entirely with an offending company if they see advertising placed with content they don't like or appreciate. Younger generations, by comparison, are more likely to give companies the benefit of the doubt before boycotting. And for all demographics, a brand apology—especially a personal one—goes a very long way.



Americans have found common ground in their dissatisfaction with government to fix their concerns. Nearly nine in 10 (78%) lack trust in politicians to create laws that will protect personal data and all demographics agree (90%) that more education is needed for both children and retirees on the dangers of personal data loss and protection.

When it comes to ad experiences, most respondents across all generations appreciate location-based offers in return for their data, showing consumers may give if they get something good in return. At the same time, respondents express concerns over being the unknowing subject of data collection for the purpose of targeting. These mixed signals underscore the need to create a clear and transparent method to help both marketers and shoppers get the experiences they want, recommends Adobe.

The survey queried more than 4,000 Americans on personal data, social media use and interaction with brands online. The respondent group was divided equally across generations, with 25 percent each from the Baby Boomers segment (born 1946–1964), Generation X (born 1965–1976), Millennials (born 1977–1995), and Generation Z (born 1996–early 2000s).

Find more from the report here.

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