Fewer Than Half of US Adults Appreciate Their Data Being Used to Personalize Their Online Experience

June 7, 2022

This article is included in these additional categories:

Customer-Centric | Industries | Personalization | Privacy & Security | Technology

A strong majority (72%) of US adults agree that technology changes their life for the better, and almost 6 in 10 (57%) say that understanding how to use technology is important for their career, according to a survey [pdf] conducted for Google by Ipsos. Despite this, there is some apprehension about data privacy, and some hesitation towards personalization.

Overall, 46% of adults surveyed either strongly (16%) or somewhat (30%) agreed that they appreciate when their data is used to personalize their online experience, such as by only seeing ads that pertain to their interests. About one-quarter (27%) were neutral on the topic, while another 27% disagreed that they appreciate their data being used that way.

Although only a minority seemed to appreciate their data being used to personalize their experience, it’s true that a considerably larger share agreed (46%) than disagreed (27%) that they appreciate this. As such, the results are more positive towards personalization than earlier research from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) and the Harris Poll, in which three-quarters (74%) of US adults surveyed reported concern about privacy and the use of their personal information and online behavior to target them with online ads.

Still, there is plenty of worry to go around with regards to data security. In this latest survey more than one-third (35%) said they were very concerned with the safety and privacy of the personal data they provide online, and an additional half (49%) were somewhat concerned. In sum, 84% reported some level of concern, against 16% not concerned. With this in mind, marketers should consider various ways to ease their customers’ worries, such as by promising that they will not sell their data.

As it turns out, respondents’ concerns are well-founded: 37% of adults surveyed said that the personal data they’ve provided online has at some point been compromised, such as in a data breach, leak, or account hacking.

Respondents did say they took a range of measures to bolster the security of their online accounts, such as by enabling two-factor authentication (73%), using completely random passwords (66%) and using a password manager service (44%).

About the Data: The results are based on an April survey of 4,000 US adults (18+).

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