Many marketers assume that users will trade their data in exchange for ads that are highly specific to their interests. The principle behind this assumption may be fading as ad platforms have come under scrutiny for their cavalier approach to data security.
Sure, people may be more likely to “engage” with an ad that highlights one of their personal interests. But many folks are not amused by how the ad targeting sausage gets made. In an April 2018 survey of 1,051 U.S. adult internet users by Janrain, most respondents said they are not in favor of websites or apps using what they learn about them online to target ads.
Nearly 70% of those polled said they would like to see the U.S. enact a law similar to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which states that a user’s data can only be used if they give a company permission to do so. The provision of the GDPR that respondents most wanted to see applied in the U.S. is an individual’s right to ask companies to delete the data they have collected.
In a similar poll of 2,204 U.S. adults by Morning Consult, 63% of respondents said they aren’t willing to give up personal data for targeted advertising to keep using a service for free. And in a February 2018 survey of 3,574 U.S. interest users by Axios and SurveyMonkey, 55% of respondents said they are concerned that the government will not do enough to regulate the way tech companies operate.