Wide-Eyed Privacy: Email Digests Help Consumers And Brands Navigate Issue

Brands may be feeling desperate about the privacy issue. How can they explain their policies to consumers without scaring them away? 

Here is an answer: Email privacy digests, judging by Privacy by design: the benefits of putting people in control, a new study from Google and Ipsos. 

Consumers feel increased control when companies observe these practices:

  • Ask about how and how often customers want to be reminded of privacy settings — +14%
  • Send privacy digest via email — +9%
  • Provide emotional benefits for customers when personalizing website — +9%
  • Ask for consent to personalize website: +8%
  • Pledge to treat customer data in a fair and honest way: +6% 
  • Ask customers to select their interests: +5% 
  • Ask customers to confirm their interests: +3% 
  • Remind people why they received a personalized offer/ad: +1% 
  • Remind people that website has been personalized using a pop-up: -2% 



This is based on a previous study that said privacy messaging must observe the 3M’s:

  • Meaningful—Show people what they get in return for sharing their data
  • Memorable—Remind people what data they shared and when 
  • Manageable—Provide tools people need to manage their privacy

Combining practices also has a cumulative effect, producing positive feelings of control: 

  • Ask about reminders — +14% 
  • Ask about reminders email privacy digest — +26% 
  • Consent to personalize website content, ask about reminders, email privacy digest — +37% 

Overall, the study found that providing a positive privacy experience can boost share of brand preference by 43%. What’s more, 43% of shoppers say they will switch to a second-choice brand if it has given them a positive privacy experience. 

The study may be limited for some readers in that it only covers Europe. Google and Ipsos surveyed 10,000 consumers, spread equally among the UK, Germany, France, The Netherlands and Sweden, this summer. 

European consumers may have a different view of the privacy issue because of GDPR. That said, the study points to an idea that could well benefit brands in the U.S.: email privacy digests. 

Just what should an email digest say? The study offers this example of a “memorable” email:

"Dear customer,

"Your data belongs to you — always. That’s why we wanted to reach out with a reminder of what you’ve agreed to share so we can optimize your online experience. 

"You signed up to your [BRAND] around on [DATE]. When you did so, you allowed us to keep track of the following:

"Your browsing preferences (how you like items sorted, items you put in your cart but don’t purchase, etc.) 

  • Your favorite items to browse or purchase (in order for us to show you more relevant ads) 
  • Performance analytics information about how you use our site and any errors or bugs that arise.
  • Remember, these settings can be changed at any time. 

"For more information about the data we collect and how it’s used, please visit our privacy policy below, or reach out to our customer-service team.  

"Thank you


Meanwhile, the study found that employing the Three Ms together produces these benefits:

  • Feeling of control: +37%
  • Positive feeling after seeing ad/offer: +27% 
  • Relevance of the ad/offer: +11% 
  • Trust brand with my data: +11%

And the results are consistent among different verticals:

  • Telco: +37%
  • CPG: +36% 
  • Travel: +36% 
  • Insurance: +39%
  • Retail: +37%



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