Parsing Privacy: Dual Studies Reveal Consumer Concerns, Reactions To Messaging

There are disturbing portents with regard to privacy in a pair of new consumer studies.  

A survey by Optimove found that 66% of consumers want fewer marketing messages -- a figure that will rise to 73% this year -- while 27% feel they are bombarded by these messages. 

Moreover, a study by Vericast shows that 50% of consumers see privacy as the biggest concern when it comes to online ads, while 36% cite personal relevance. Drilling down, 46% do not want their information to be sold, and 21% reject having their behaviors tracked.

The Optimove survey has especially uncomfortable findings for email marketers. For one, 79% of consumers have unsubscribed from retail brand messaging in the past three months. 

While 61% have opted out of three or more retail brands because of too many marketing messages, 29% have done so with six or more and 76% have unsubscribed after receiving an offer that repeatedly shows up on the web. 



Email is not the worst offender -- that distinction belongs to text. In general, 53% of consumers find text messages the most annoying and invasive, with email second at 21%. 

Conversely, text and email are tied at 39% when it comes to consumer annoyance over message bombardment.  Yet 32% say email is the least annoying channel, just behind social media at 33%. Of course, 14% say none of the channels listed are least annoying. 

For 62%, relevance is the leading factor in deciding whether to open an email. Less important are the identity of the brand (14%), “personalized to me beyond my name” (8%) and “catchy subject line” (5%). But 11% will simply not open marketing emails. 

Meanwhile, the Vericast study shows that 39% of consumers feel powerless in controlling how companies use their personal data, and 23% are unsure what kinds of information companies collect.

But 25% are inclined to click on an ad for something they have considered purchasing, while 27% will respond to personalized offers containing a deal or discount.  

Baby boomers are the most worried about privacy in personalization (55%). They are followed by Gen X (53%), Gen Z (48%) and millennials (45%). 

The takeaway from the Vericast findings: “Consumers prefer to engage with brands that know what they want and incentivize them with the right offers at the right time, but privacy is a growing concern,” says Meggie Giancola, senior vice president of sales solutions & Strategy at Vericast.  

Giancola adds: “This paradox is creating an opportunity for marketing solutions with the agility to safely work with, understand and activate data so brands can deliver the experiences consumers desire without sacrificing privacy.

Optimove surveyed 450 U.S. consumers in January 2023. Vericast surveyed 1,000 consumers.




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