Consumers feel like they’re being drowned with irrelevant messages, and they’re willing to share their data if it means getting fewer, better-targeted ads.
According to a report by loyalty management agency Aimia, 46% of 6,000 consumers surveyed in Canada, the U.S. and U.K. think they receive too many emails from marketers. Most respondents said more than 20 emails from marketers in one week is too much, and they’d prefer to receive email from a company at most once a week.
The survey suggests Canadians don’t much like the idea of brands intruding on social media, either – only 27% follow more than five brands across all their social media accounts, and 42% follow none at all. About one fifth of Canadian respondents have followed brands on social media and later regretted it.
Martin Hayward, Aimia’s vice-president, global digital strategy and lead author on the report, said with so many new ways to reach consumers, marketers can be tempted to flood their audience through every digital avenue available. But as more marketers turn to always-on advertising, it will become harder and harder to get messages through.
In spite of feeling they receive too much advertising (or maybe because they feel that way) consumers are intrigued by the possibility of better-targeted marketing through data collection, the survey says. More than half of global respondents said they would be happy or very happy with receiving product recommendations based on lifestyle data, and 70% said they would like to receive offers on products they buy regularly.
Asked what information they would be comfortable sharing, fewer than 15% of respondents were unhappy about marketers knowing their name, email, hobbies, occupation, or address. Feelings were more mixed about income and purchasing history, and most were uncomfortable about their browsing history or mobile number being collected by marketers.
Hayward said although consumers may feel comfortable sharing data right now, that may change if companies don’t do a better job communicating with consumers about how they use it. Evidence from the survey suggests sentiment is already turning against big data providers who are perceived as disingenuous about data privacy. Only 14% and 15% said they would be willing to share more of their data with Facebook and Google respectively, compared to 46% who would share more data with their bank and 25% who’d share more with their mobile provider.
For Aimia’s loyalty programs, developing consumers’ trust means directly and transparently rewarding them for sharing data, Hayward said. That won’t work for every company, but he hopes that most will move towards more open and bilateral relationships with consumers.
If consumers don’t feel a sense of control over their own data, he said, they may refuse to share it altogether, either by employing third-party data privacy tools or pushing government to regulate data collection.
“We’re on the cusp of having all this wonderful information,” he said. “The challenge for all of us is to use it responsibly, and not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.”
You can see some of the results of Aimia’s 2013 Digital Loyalty Survey below.