Today’s online consumers are on to us. They are more privy to behavioral targeting and tracking and have higher privacy expectations because of it. Don’t panic; companies who are transparent with their audience stand to build more trust, higher engagement and more sales.
In fact, TRUSTe’s 2013 U.S. Consumer Confidence Index found that 89 percent of U.S. adults will avoid companies that do not protect their privacy, up from 88 percent in 2012.
Companies can take decisive action to increase consumer confidence online.
“At a high level, if website owners thought privacy concerns were going to go away, they should know they’re not going to,” said Dave Deasy, VP of Marketing at TRUSTe. “They should take an inventory of how they collect data and how they use the data.
“At a lower level, most websites are moving mobile, either with a mobile version of their site or apps, and we have pretty specific data that indicates if you are going to move mobile, this is the perfect opportunity to put in good privacy practices.”
The report’s data specifies 72 percent of smartphone users are more concerned about their privacy on smartphones than they were one year ago.
“This is a bit alarming, particularly because we work with a lot of companies taking proactive steps to address mobile privacy,” said Deasy. “When we see the percentage of people being concerned, this is a strong indicator to us that people are becoming more and more aware of the tracking being used by companies, and there is still work to be done.”
Additionally, the roles of the people doing this privacy work are changing.
“One of the big shifts that we are seeing is that privacy was once something that only the lawyers would handle,” said Deasy. “That is still important, but website operators are also understanding that putting good privacy practices in play are good for their businesses. Consumers who trust websites are more likely to share information, which will drive purchases and more clicks, so more and more marketers inside businesses are worrying about privacy, [not just the lawyers].”