What's 'Cool' Vs. 'Creepy' When Collecting Consumer Data?

Imagine you’re driving around at lunchtime, and Google Maps alerts you that a Taco Bell is nearby and there’s a promotion offering a free taco. Would you stop?

If you’re like most U.S. consumers, you wouldn’t stop, at least according to a survey by Marigold. Some 67% of respondents said ads based on location data are “creepy.”

Increasingly, people suspect that their phones and the sites they visit are spying on them. For instance, The Washington Post reported on a  study by Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy noting that telehealth and therapy apps that collect details on users’ mental health are packaging that data for resale.

But the news for marketers isn’t all bad. In the Marigold study, 79% of respondents said that offering recommendations based on past purchases are “cool” rather than creepy. Most respondents also said that personalized offers received after they've been on a brand’s site for more than two minutes are “cool.”



Most consumers said they would trade their personal and preference data in exchange for discounts and coupons (93%), loyalty rewards (91%), early or exclusive access to products and services (86%), or the opportunity to win a prize (83%).

Those findings align with recent research from Capterra that indicates  most online shoppers will offer their email (85%), gender (70%) and name (60%) in exchange for discounts.

Overall, it seems that consumers want some familiarity with a brand before they are willing to offer personal details that might be of use to marketers.

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