Here's the Sweet Spot Between Privacy and Personalization

BY Kathy Crosett
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Consumers today expect high levels of personalization when they purchase goods and services. This expectation even extends to the marketing messages they receive, which has some experts wondering if there is a sweet spot between privacy and personalization. Now that technology allows marketers to connect on so many levels with consumers, is there a chance that they could go too far?

The Move Away from Social Media

With all of the bad press social media platforms have been getting this year, it’s not surprising that consumers are growing concerned about what marketers know. Overall, 33% of consumers surveyed by Selligent say that they have stopped using at least one social site this year.

Interestingly, younger consumers are more likely to disengage than older consumers. Around 44% of Gen Z members have quite Facebook this year. And while only 27% of baby boomers have stopped using Facebook, 32% have turned away from Twitter. Snapchat has fallen out of favor with 22% of Gen Xers. And even millennials, who were the first demographic to embrace social media in a big way, are now stepping back in some cases. At least 13% have abandoned Instagram.

Sweet Spot Between Privacy and Personalization

Part of the move away from social media may be driven by consumers who have taken a stance on a social justice issue. They may be reacting to user-​generated content that the site moderators refuse to take down. In other cases, a consumer may abandon a site because they feel their privacy has been violated.

Many of the personalization moves made by brands on social sites meet with consumer approval:

  • Ads targeted to a consumer based on what they posted about 53%
  • Recommends products based on the person’s previous purchases 64%
  • Asks about attitude on last purchase 71%
  •  Offers a deal based on a product the consumer recently searched for 64%

Do you notice the common thread? All of the brand actions are done in response to an action initiated by the consumer.

Brands have been taking a couple of extra steps that don’t delight consumers so much. And these actions are related to smart speakers. For example, about half, 52%, of consumers say that it’s creepy when a brand advertises through a smart speaker after a consumer asks about the product. That’s not a terrible statistic. However, consumers may be far less forgiving if they perceive that someone is spying on them through their smart speaker. At least 69% of consumers disapprove of getting ads based on what they said in the presence of a smart speaker without a prompt.

The Power of Advertising

Despite consumer attitudes about social media, marketers find success by advertising on these sites. Overall, 42% of consumers say social ads have influenced their purchasing decisions. By age group, these numbers break out as:

  • Gen Z 55%
  • Gen Y 53%
  • Gen X 39%
  • Baby boomers 23%

If your clients plan to increase their social media ad buying next year, and many do, make sure they are using the sites most heavily used by their target audience. Run a Digital Audit, available at AdMall by SalesFuel, and share the information so your clients can understand more about their target audience and their social media use. Also, remind your clients that they need to aim for the sweet spot between privacy and personalization in order to resonate with shoppers.