Social media ‘least trustworthy’ with data protection: Are marketers listening?

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Will marketers be thriving or just surviving post-GDPR? What customers really think about data privacy and how GDPR will affect their behavior?

These are some of the unanswered questions that marketers are facing today, after the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect on May 25th.


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However, a report by Global Web Index has given a cross-industry perspective on the trust that consumers place in companies to handle their data, and how this varies significantly by sector.

Across the five different areas that the survey asked about in the UK, online banks/payment services and online shopping/retail services earned the most trust, with 2 in 3 consumers having faith in them to handle their data.

This is a reflection of how much work companies in this space have done to secure and protect financial data, Global Web Index report noted.

On the contrary, social networks are the least trusted.

“Less than 1 in 2 trust them to handle personal data, with just 8% saying that they trust them completely,” it noted.


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Music and video streaming services also earn a strong degree of trust from UK consumers (58%), while over half (53%) say they would trust search engines and email services.

Power to consumers

Another study by Unruly, the video marketplace, has set out to understand how consumers from the EU, US, and the Asia Pacific feel about GDPR and the issues of brand trust and transparency.

The findings reveal low levels of consumer awareness about the new regulations, but also show that businesses have much to gain if they can demonstrate responsible behaviour with customer data.

GDPR legislation is designed to put control over data collection and usage back in the hands of consumers.

By asking the opinions of consumers directly, the 2018 Unruly GDPR Consumer Trust Study demonstrates the opportunities for brands in a post-GDPR world and reveals the relationship between data control and customer trust.


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The message of Unruly’s research is clear; brands must be more transparent about data usage if they want to win back and retain consumer trust—but given low levels of awareness around the changes made by GDPR, it seems there’s also a communication gap between brands and their customers.

Norm Johnston, Unruly Global CEO said: “Although the ad industry has conducted inward-looking research about preparations for GDPR, it seems little attention has been paid to whether consumers understand and want these changes. The whole point of GDPR is to put consumers back in control of their data, so we felt it was essential to find out what they thought about the legislation.”

Levels of consumer understanding of the issues surrounding GDPR are not as high as the industry might expect, posing both a problem and an opportunity for advertisers.

Johnston concluded: “The GDPR is going to change the way any brand operating in Europe, and potentially around the world, communicates. At Unruly, we see this a hugely positive move that challenges our industry to hold a mirror up to itself and strive to be more transparent, authentic and accountable to consumers.”

2018 Unruly GDPR Consumer Trust Study – Key findings:

– 93% of consumers in non-EU countries would like at least one of the rules brought about by GDPR to be in effect in their country.

– 63% of consumers worldwide trust brands more when they are clear about how and where their data is used


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– 60% of people worldwide believe that more than half the news they read on social media is fake – this number is highest in Australia where it rises to

– 68%. Worldwide, consumers are most comfortable sharing biometric data (fitness trackers as best practice examples for brands).

– 43% of people worldwide say their trust in advertising on social media has dropped significantly in the last few months – 43% in the US, 51% in the UK.

– Less than 1/3 of consumers in the UK, Germany and Sweden trust brands to ask their permission before sharing data with third parties.

– 58% of people in the UK and Germany have heard of GDPR, 63% in Sweden.