Two recent surveys sponsored by BritePool show a high level of consumer concern about privacy and, if given the option, that a majority would decline to allow online publishers to sell or transfer their personal information. CCPA, which takes effect on January 1, requires sites governed by the statute to include a prominent “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” link on their homepages.
Most would choose ‘Do Not Sell.’ In September, BritePool and the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations found, in a survey of 1,004 U.S. adults, that nearly 90% of respondents would select a “Do Not Sell” option if they encountered it on a website. The survey specifically asked the following:
“A number of new regulations have been proposed to help strengthen consumer online privacy. In the state of California, when consumers arrive at a new website, they will have the option to select ‘Do Not Sell My Personal Information’. Would you select ‘Do Not Sell My Personal Information’, or just go on to the website?”
- I would select Do Not Sell My Personal Information” — 87%
- I would just go on to the website — 8%
- Don’t know — 6%
The September survey was a follow-up to an earlier more general survey about attitudes toward online privacy and personal data. Conducted in March with 1,513 U.S. respondents, that survey posed several questions about the sharing and sale of personal data:
“I am unhappy that companies are profiting from my personal data.”
- Strongly agree — 46%
- Somewhat agree — 33%
- Somewhat disagree — 11%
- Strongly disagree — 5%
- Don’t know — 5%
“I am concerned about companies selling my data to advertisers and other companies.”
- Strongly agree — 47%
- Somewhat agree — 35%
- Somewhat disagree — 10%
- Strongly disagree — 3%
- Don’t know — 4%
“There is no good reason that a website should ever share my personal data.”
- Strongly agree — 51%
- Somewhat agree — 29%
- Somewhat disagree — 12%
- Strongly disagree — 4%
- Don’t know — 4%
Consumers not happy about personal data sharing. Though some consumers have indicated they’re open to a value exchange. It’s worth noting that the March survey gave consumers the additional choice of giving their personal information in exchange for a reward. Roughly 1 in 5 consumers chose that option.
“A number of new regulations have been proposed to help strengthen consumer online privacy. In the State of California, when consumers arrive at a new website, they will have the option to select ‘Do Not Sell My Personal Information’ or they can select ‘Reward Me for My Personal Information’. Would you select ‘Do Not Sell My Personal Information’, ‘Reward Me for My Personal Information’, or just go on to the website?”
- I would select ‘Do Not Sell My Personal Information’ — 61%
- I would select ‘Reward Me for My Personal Information’ — 21%
- I would just go on to the website — 7%
- Don’t know — 10%
Drilling into the responses by different age groups, younger consumers were more open to data sharing than older respondents. The people most receptive to sharing were those in the 18-34 age category, only 49% of whom said they would choose “Do Not Sell.”
Bob Perkins, COO of BritePool argues, based on these findings, that CCPA is actually going to have a bigger impact than GDPR. “You’ll see 3% to 4% decline in publisher revenue” because CPMs fall when targeting signals aren’t available. He also believes that as privacy laws develop across the U.S., “CCPA will be the floor not the ceiling” when it comes to rules around data collection and sharing.
Why we should care. The results of these surveys should be very concerning to publishers and martech providers. However, there is always a difference between attitudes and behavior. So the actual number of opt-outs could be less. But there are also encouraging results and data for those companies affirmatively embracing consumer privacy.
In addition, the findings about being rewarded suggest a meaningful percentage of consumers could be convinced to not opt-out in exchange for specific benefits. This echoes many other previous surveys that have similar findings.
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