Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Three quarters of Brits don’t feel in control of their online data  

More than three in four Brits (76%) don’t feel like they have enough control over how their online data is used, according to new research from The Trade Desk.

In December 2020, The Trade Desk commissioned YouGov to run a representative survey of 2,203 UK adults to understand the consumer perspective on data privacy, security and dimensions of the value exchange of the internet.

The findings reveal that, despite regulatory changes to improve consumer control and understanding around data, almost eight in 10 (79%) UK adults are concerned over the collection and use of their data on the internet and nearly seven in 10 (68%) believe the information provided on data use is hard to understand. This lack of understanding breeds an unwillingness to ‘opt-in’ to data sharing online, which, in turn, impacts online publishers dependent on the revenues of data-driven advertising.

The research also finds that paywalls and data walls are frustrating consumers and pushing them to seek content elsewhere. While the majority of Brits (62%) understand that advertising plays a critical role in keeping apps and websites free, 85% of UK adults get annoyed when asked to pay for a subscription to unlock website content; 86 per cent feel the same way when asked to create an account. Almost eight in 10 (79 per cent) would prefer to access websites without having to create a unique account for each site – the less time spent entering details online, the better.

However, there is also good news for marketers: more than half (53%) are more comfortable with their data being used for advertising when they have more control over its use. 72% of Brits are more likely to create an account with a brand when they provide clear information about how their data will be used. A further 77% will only create an account with a brand if they trust them to protect their personal information.

Philippa Snare, SVP EMEA at The Trade Desk, commented on the findings: “As an industry, we have an opportunity to come together to give consumers what they clearly want – greater transparency, better control and more straightforward communication. Empowering people with more information builds trust and encourages greater data sharing, which is crucial for powering the value exchange of the free content we all enjoy every day.

“The impending removal of third-party cookies is putting pressure on the industry to adopt a fairer identity solution, which is privacy safe, easy for consumers to understand and only requires one sign-in. That’s what’s driving the development of Unified ID 2.0, an upgraded alternative to cookies that preserves the value exchange of relevant advertising while putting the consumer in control. Unified ID 2.0 is an open-source, industrywide solution that could become a new common currency for the internet that improves the experience for everyone – advertisers, publishers and consumers alike.”

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