Common marketing wisdom dictates that consumers are more willing to share personal information if they get something in return. Lately, that something means personalized experiences, services or offers. But how true is this perceived value exchange, especially for digital shoppers?
According to a new study by the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), this tit for tat didn't quite play out when it surveyed US internet users in June 2018. The details respondents were most willing to share were gender (95%), race or ethnicity (91%), marital status (90%) and employment status (85%). Not surprisingly, consumers were least willing to share social security numbers (91%). Financial (78%) and medical information (71%) were also viewed as private.
The notion of using personal data to customize a digital experience didn't sweeten the deal. In fact, nearly all of the responses were lower. Only the most sensitive information like social security number (9% vs. 11%) and financial information (22% vs. 23%) were higher.
Shoppers are OK with personalization on the surface, but not if it gets too personal. A January 2018 survey of internet users in the US and Western Europe by RSA and YouGov found that 78% said they try to limit the amount of personal data they share online and with companies. Only 26% said they would be willing to share personal data in exchange for an improved customer experience.
An interesting finding in the ARF study was that money wasn't much of an incentive. Data that consumers weren't willing to share couldn't be bought at any cost, and the data they were willing to share came cheap. A majority said $1 to $10 would be adequate, and one-third said they didn't need to be compensated at all.