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Privacy-Transparent Brands Gain Competitive Advantage

Posted on January, 23 2014

Latest research shows over three-quarters of consumers in the UK and US will spend more on sites transparent about their data collection methods compared to only half 18 months ago

LONDON, UK, 23rd January 2014: A survey conducted by Toluna, a leading online research and survey technology provider, in conjunction with the leading digital marketing intelligence company, Evidon, reveals there has been considerable positive uplift in attitudes towards brands that are open and honest in the disclosure of their data collection activities.

The study shows that over four in five UK and US consumers (84% and 86% respectively) have a more favourable opinion of companies that are honest and open in the disclosure of their data collection activities. This compares to research conducted in 2012 that demonstrated just over half of UK and US consumers (54% and 57% respectively) felt more favourably towards privacy-focused businesses, a considerable rise in positive consumer opinion since that time.

Furthermore, around three-quarters of UK and US consumers (75% and 78% respectively) claim they are more likely to purchase goods from a business that is honest about how it collects and/or uses information about them online. This underlines another notable increase from 2012 when around half (49% of UK consumers and 51% of US consumers) said they would purchase more from businesses that are honest about their data collection and use.

“The research findings show an interesting change in consumer opinion since 2012 and we did not anticipate such a marked shift in attitudes towards privacy”, commented Mark Hallums, Director of Product Technology, EMEA, Toluna. “Major news stories such as NSA and PRISM could be one of the contributing factors to the change in attitudes around data collection. While many consumers are still dissatisfied with the degree of transparency in data collection methods since 2012, there has been a notable rise in appreciation towards brands that manage data practices well and communicate relevant activity to consumers. Not only are these brands more trusted, they are also generating revenue from being open about data collection.”

The survey also shows that consumers feel more comfortable about the use of data collected online if they have given their permission and feel it is being used in a relevant way. Just over three-quarters (77%) of UK consumers agree that if a company asked permission, they would have a more favourable opinion of that company, and seven in 10 (72%) of US consumers claim to feel the same. This compares to 48% of UK consumers and 46% of US consumers in 2012.

“We are delighted to see such a positive shift in opinion towards brands that are open and honest about their data collection practices”, said Todd Ruback, Chief Privacy Officer at Evidon. “Brands that are transparent with consumers about the way their data is collected and used are rewarded with greater levels of trust, and benefit from improved commercial opportunities.”




Editor’s Notes

*The research is a comparative follow-up study to an initial study conducted by Toluna and Evidon in May 2012 on data collection and online privacy, in which 1,000 UK and 1,000 US consumers were polled. Further information on the 2012 findings can be found here:



This survey was conducted in November 2013 among 1,000 adults (18+) selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Toluna surveys. Figures for age, gender, education, income, employment, and region were weighted to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the online population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Toluna

A pioneer in the dynamic world of market research, data collection, reporting and visualisation, Toluna brings together people and brands in the world’s largest social voting community. As a leading all-in-one global source for actionable insights, we help market researchers, insights professionals and companies anywhere in the world make clearer and better business decisions that drive better business results

Our social voting community of more than six million members spans more than 41 countries, enabling our clients to develop a deeper understanding of anyone, anywhere, anytime they need it.

Toluna provides the industry’s leading survey technology suite, enabling hundreds of organisations worldwide to create online and mobile surveys, manage panels and build their own online communities. Toluna products include PanelPortal™ Online Communities and Toluna QuickSurveys™ and Toluna Analytics™.

With 17 offices in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific, Toluna works with many of the world’s leading market research agencies, media agencies and corporations.


About Evidon

Reveal the invisible web.

Evidon grows businesses by delivering new and accurate intelligence on how the digital marketplace really works. With unprecedented insight into the marketing technologies that underpin the commercial internet, brands, agencies, publishers and technologies make more informed decisions that guide their data strategies and drive better results.

Evidon technology includes Ghostery®, the industry-leading consumer transparency tool. More than ten million Ghostery users worldwide have opted-in to GhostRank – the largest panel of its kind. GhostRank reports on data collection across 26 million web and mobile properties, providing the proprietary business data behind Evidon Labs marketing intelligence solutions.

Evidon also provides market-leading privacy controls for more than $2 billion of display media and e-commerce transactions annually that empower more than 150 million people a day to control how their information is used online.

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