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Overcome the Personalization-Privacy Disconnect

Consumers don't seem to have much confidence that brands are treating their personal data with any respect. 

According to the recently released 2017 State of Consumer Privacy and Trust survey from Gigya, a well-known provider of customer identity management solution, two-thirds -- 68 percent -- of consumers indicated they were concerned about how brands use their personal data, and a similar number (69 percent) worried about security and privacy risks inherent in the increasing adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as fitness trackers, smart watches and connected cars.

Gigya's survey, which Website Magazine covered in late April, also brought to light widespread concern about brands approach to data privacy.

This worry increases across generations, with 60 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds registering concern, versus 73 percent of those aged 65 and older. The pattern was similar when participants were asked their opinion about data security on IoT devices: 62 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds registered concern, and 72 percent of the 65-and-older group.

The data highlights what many consider to be a crisis for brands as they desperately attempt to balance customer expectations and new privacy requirements (specifically the  General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes reality in May 2018) with their need to use data to deliver on expectations for more personalized online experiences. 

The good news for brands is that consumers are ready and willing to take responsibility for their personal data -- if given the chance to do so. Some 63 percent of consumers feel personally accountable for protecting their data versus relying on brands or governments according to Gigya. Yet consumers don't believe brands are paying attention, with 31 percent of respondents saying brand privacy policies are weaker now than they were 12 months ago. Despite this sentiment, Gigya still sees poor password habits, with 42 percent of consumers using four or fewer passwords across online accounts, underscoring the need for brands to find new ways to protect their customers from their own poor habits.

"There is looming disconnect for brands if they don't respond more aggressively to consumer demand for privacy and protection of their data," said Jason Rose, senior vice president of marketing at Gigya. "Brands that put consumers in control of their privacy and deploy platforms that strengthen consumer data security will ultimately gain consumer trust. These brands will overcome the personalization-privacy disconnect and deliver on the full promise of their online strategies."

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