Vision Critical

Fewer than 17 percent— 16.7 percent — of consumers said they’re comfortable with the idea of third-party app developers acquiring and using their personal information for marketing purposes, according to a recent survey by intelligence platform Vision Critical.

On the other hand, most consumers said they don’t mind sharing their personal data if it adds value to their overall customer experience, and particularly if brands are open and transparent regarding how that information will be used.

The survey found that a majority of consumers — 66 percent — said they’re comfortable with the practice of sharing their personal information, as long as brands proactively tell them how they’re going to utilize that data. And nearly half of respondents — 42 percent — also said they'd be more willing to share that information if they had an opportunity to edit or delete it.

Improvements to online consumer privacy protections have become a sort of clarion call in the weeks following Facebook’s recent data crisis, in which Trump-linked data analysis and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica illicitly harvested the data of an estimated 87 million Facebook users in order to pitch them political messages in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

Consumer data has always been social media networks’ bread and butter, yet the Cambridge Analytica scandal has apparently caught many consumers in disbelief regarding the fact that the crumb-trail of data we leave behind in the digital realm is precisely why we’re invited to establish online residences on these channels for free. As a result, consumers are now paying more attention to the data they share online and what companies do with it, with many calling for improved transparency guidelines regarding the information that networks and third-party app developers acquire and share.

The Vision Critical survey suggests that by adding a few transparency provisos, brands could go a long way in improving both how they treat consumers’ personal information as well as the relationships they currently have with loyalists.

Overall, the survey found that an overwhelming majority of respondents — 80.1 percent — said they’re comfortable sharing personal information directly with brands for the sake of receiving more personalized messages. And nearly half of those polled — 41 percent — said they’re willing to share personal information if it results in more personalized service or faster conflict resolution.

More than half of those polled — 58 percent — also admitted that they’re more likely to respond to personalized messages from brands.

The Vision Critical survey polled more than 1,000 adults in North America who said they’d made a digital purchase within the past year.