Marketers to Woo Privacy-​Obsessed Millennials

Millennials are supposed to be the most sharing generation. Their relaxed attitudes about online privacy have digitalthiefdriven marketers to customize and personalize promotional pitches. The only problem is that at least 1/​3 of younger consumers are taking action to hide from online advertising according to the Pew Research Anonymity, Privacy and Security Online report.

Some of the reasons consumers give for wanting to remain anonymous are security-​focused. Over 21% of online consumers have had their email or social media accounts hacked. Smaller numbers, 12%, have been harassed online, while 11% have encountered the hassle of having personal information stolen. About 50% of consumers don’t like how much information is available about them online – in 2009, this number was 33%.

Consumers say it’s very important to authorize who will see their emails (68%), files/​content they download (55%) and places they visit while online (51%).

Consumers aren’t just trying to stay away from criminals (33%). At least 28% also want to be invisible to advertisers. By age group, consumers would like to avoid advertisers as follows:

  • Ages 18–29 34%
  • Ages 30–49 30%
  • Ages 50–65 23%
  • Ages 65+ 21%

Analysts point out that consumers are taking more steps to hide from advertisers than they are to hide from their employers. In addition, men (33%) are more likely than women (24%) to keep their activities private from marketers.

Researchers found that younger consumers, those between the ages of 18 and 29, are mostly like to take evasive tactics such as:

  • Clearing cookies/​browser history 74%
  • Deleting/​editing past posts 71%
  • Set browser to turn off cookies 49%
  • Use temporary user names/​email address 41%

These findings suggest that marketers should do more to reassure consumers, especially Millennials, about what they are doing with their personal information. They might also consider promoting the benefits of online advertising to try to put consumers' minds at ease.

To learn more about heavy Internet users, check out the AudienceSCAN report available on the Research Store at ad​-ology​.com.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.