Only a few years ago, conventional wisdom held privacy to be an outdated concept that had no place in a digital world. However, as has become very clear in recent months, privacy has made a comeback, albeit in somewhat altered form, and it is now more important than ever.
In order to investigate what the changing definition of privacy means for marketers, Contagious teamed up with global insight and brand consultancy Flamingo to conduct qualitative research across the US and the UK.
Contagious also worked with research partner James Kennedy to conduct quantitative research of a nationally-representative sample of 2,000 people in the US, and the UK.
A full report, ‘Privacy in Perspective’, is available to Contagious subscribers, however a summary of the key research findings can be found here.
Interesting aspect regarding the definition of ‘privacy’:
Privacy manifests itself over a spectrum – it is about freedom, control and choice
People realize that their data is co-owned, that once something is shared it is out of their control. There is a desire to create and connect but they have increasingly little choice over how it gets shared and distributed. The balance of power is unequal. The dilemma is: how do you become secure without abandoning the internet? Therefore privacy means: freedom, choice, and control. Freedom to create and consume what I please, choice to share it (or not) as I please and only with whom I intend, and control over how it lives on.
• We’ve become accustomed to our every move being tracked, and no longer expect anonymity: Only 35% of people in the UK and 28% in the US expect that it is realistic for any information about themselves online to remain completely anonymous.
• As one millennial in the qualitative research put it: ‘I have to accept being tracked online: shopping, emails, social media etc. It’s never going to change and will probably only increase.’
• The fact that we’re used to our information being tracked, doesn’t mean we like it. 49% of respondents in the UK and 57% in the US say that protecting their online privacy is something they invest time and money in.
• People also have very different privacy expectations in different contexts. ‘I think there’s a big difference in terms of the expectation of privacy between Netflix and Gmail,’ explained one Gen X male we interviewed as part of our research. ‘Obviously it makes sense to me that Netflix is going to have a record of what DVDs I’ve watched. But it is off-putting to see a targeted ad based on an email I have sent — it makes me think my email is being read by someone.’