Skip to content

Toeing the line with consumer data – why transparency builds trust

In a world where mass communications no longer cut it and consumers expect personalised messages, successful marketing comes down to the effective use of data. According to our European research, half of consumers actually like receiving relevant advertising, yet, 87% are concerned about privacy and how companies are using their data.


Gartner has predicted that by the end of 2019, 90% of large companies will have a Chief Data Officer (CDO), responsible for developing a company’s information strategy that feeds into measurable business outcomes. CDOs are also accountable for protecting customers’ data, not just from data thieves, but from the company’s marketing department by informing employees how data can and should be used responsibly to meet their objectives. Given that 66% of consumers don’t feel like they can trust brands to keep their personal data secure, this new role will no doubt be welcomed.

Introducing a data-centric role to the c-suite will, hopefully, help mitigate the amount of stories in the press about bad people doing bad things with data, but brands also need to reassure their customers. Education is needed to inform customers about how their data is collected, protected and used, to increase trust between brands and their customers.

The consumer data disconnect


Consumers are nervous about sharing their personal information, according to our Digital Connections research, 52% of European consumers find someone knowing their shopping profile unsettling, but over a third of people claim they are more likely to buy from a business that sends them tailored messages. There is a disconnect between consumers’ unwillingness to share information that allows brands to tailor messages to them and their desire to receive relevant and targeted offers.

data and transparency


It’s not nice giving away information about yourself, but when it comes down to it, how much do people really care? According to our research, half of European consumers have logged onto a website or app using social login. If you’re worried about sharing your information, logging in with Facebook is probably the worst thing you could do. So why do people continue to use social login despite being creeped out by companies knowing their personal information? Laziness. More than half (55%) of consumers don’t want to spend time filling in registration forms, while 17% of consumers say they value the convenience of a single login.

The brand balancing act

It seems there is no winning for brands, consumers begrudge sharing information but want personalised communications. It’s clear customers are going to share personal details when asked – 69% concede that you have to be prepared to share some personal data if you want to shop online – but how can brands make consumers feel better about doing so? The solution is to remove the fear factor. What are you going to do with this information? When you spell out transparently why your collecting their data and how you intend to use the information, it makes little odds to the customer.

We found that people are more willing to share information when the information will only be used by the company they are sharing it with, and the company makes clear how it will use this information – how the customer will benefit. At the other end of the scale, 68% of consumers feel their privacy is compromised when information is collected without their knowledge.

Transparency builds trust and our research revealed that a third of people are willing to share information with a brand they know and trust. With regards to data privacy, consumers are worried about the unknown and therefore the key to building trust is transparency.

Download our Digital Connections whitepaper for more insights.