GDPR turns one—and awareness of data use is shockingly low

by | Jun 4, 2019 | Marketing, Public Relations

Eye-opening new research from mobile journey marketing firm Ogury, which conducted a survey of over 287,570 global consumers, examines attitudes towards mobile marketing, advertising and data. Coinciding with the first anniversary of GDPR, the survey findings reveal that consumers are still in the dark when it comes to how their data is collected, stored and used. Is that surprising—and more importantly, who’s to blame?

GDPR awareness is concerningly low—and organizations are still failing consumers

When asked whether they felt their understanding of how companies used their data had improved since GDPR came into effect, the majority of respondents answered “No.” What’s more, consumer awareness of GDPR itself is still low. Globally, 55 percent of respondents said their understanding of how companies use their data was no better than before the law came into effect, while a further 37 percent globally said that “they didn’t even know what GDPR was.” In European countries where GDPR has been in effect for more than a year now, a surprisingly high number of 39 percent of the proportion of European respondents were unaware of what GDPR is at all.

“GDPR has not been taken seriously enough by organizations,” said Thomas Pasquet, co-founder and CEO of Ogury, in a news release. “These might be disheartening numbers for lawmakers and regulators, who will have no doubt hoped for a far greater level of understanding from the very consumers that GDPR is designed to protect.”

GDPR turns one—and awareness of data use is shockingly low

But marketers should similarly take heed of this admission by users that the message is not getting through in sufficient numbers

“Businesses need to deeply understand what GDPR is and in turn educate consumers around the importance of data sharing; this level of consumer education will become increasingly important across the globe,” said Pasquet. “We are already seeing this level of education begin to happen in the US as we prepare for the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.”

The importance of explicit user consent

The study’s findings indicate that businesses have not properly instituted a requirement for explicit and informed user consent for data collection and usage. Seventy-eight percent don’t read consent notices in their entirety.

In addition, roughly half of consumers (52 percent globally) answered that, even when they do read consent notices, they still do not understand how their data is being used. This was even higher in countries where GDPR has been implemented for one year, where 58 percent of European countries do not understand how companies use their data.

“The industry desperately needs to earn back consumers’ trust, by granting them a clear and fair choice and gaining their explicit consent. That means consent notices must be in plain words, published in plain sight,” said Elie Kanaan, CMO at Ogury, in the release.

He continued, “There is an opportunity to simultaneously alleviate consumer privacy concerns and increase mobile engagement – by committing to explicit, informed, and unambiguous user choice; from opting-in to customized marketing, to exercising their right to be forgotten. Unfortunately, over the past year, companies have failed to take GDPR seriously, which means there is a chance that the industry will be led to more privacy scandals and concerns in the near future.”

GDPR turns one—and awareness of data use is shockingly low

Consumers don’t care about legislations—they care about clarity and fairness of choice

The survey also revealed that, when given an explicit choice, 71 percent of respondents globally would be prepared to share data from their mobile apps and website usage as well as contact details as an alternative to paying for access to apps and online content.

With regards to user choice, Kanaan, added, “The fact that 71 percent of mobile users globally would share their data if they know exactly which data is being collected and how it will be used, tells us clearly that consumers are willing to contribute to preserve a free internet as long as the exchange is fair and respected. It also confirms the market assumptions that drove the design of Ogury Consent Manager with Fair Choice. This product introduces three clear and fair options: accept anonymous data to be collected and used to receive customized marketing; Opt-out from sharing data and therefore receive irrelevant ads; Or pay a fair price in exchange for a marketing free and data collection free environment.”

This survey points to the fact that it is time for a transformation globally around how advertising and marketing is done today. If businesses do not begin to take GDPR seriously, there can be major consequences through various sanctions that will be detrimental for companies not operating under the law as it stands.

A move towards consented data sharing and advertising creates a safer environment for consumers and brands, restoring trust and integrity to the industry, and helping to create a more mature and respectful internet.

Are you still not confident in your knowledge of GDPR and how it’s affecting the industry? Take the Ogury GDPR Grandmaster Challenge to find out where you stand and come out more informed. 

Ogury conducted the survey from February 12th to 18th 2019 in the U.S., Germany, Spain, Italy, France and the UK, featuring answers from 287,571 mobile users globally.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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