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New Study Reveals That Americans Less Likely To Trust Social Media Companies With Private Data

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

A new survey conducted by Harris Poll in November’ 2014 has revealed that Americans are far less likely to trust social media companies with their personal data than other types of businesses and online services. The survey targeted 2037 adult Americans and was conducted on behalf of Transera Inc., a firm specializing in providing data analytics services for various customer engagement programs. Here are some of the most interesting findings published in the survey report “What’s Your Data Doing for You?”:

1) In spite of the increased awareness about online privacy and the misuse of private data by online companies and advertisers, 67 percent of people polled were willing to share their personal information in exchange for a better product or personalized service. As per the results published by Harris Poll, 53 percent of participants were open to sharing their names with online firms, 35 percent were willing to share their location information while just 34 percent were OK with revealing their contact details (email, phone number, home address etc.). The survey also reveals that people are more comfortable with sharing their basic information (name and address details) rather than other forms of data (for instance, employment and payment details).

2) The results of the survey reveal that despite the huge popularity of social networking services, only half of the participants (50 percent) were willing to trust social media companies with their personal data. This is hardly surprising since social sites like Facebook and Twitter are known to mine user data and share it with advertisers for the purpose of targeted advertising.

3) The survey also provides a great insight into whether the overall user experience has actually improved over the period of last one year. In spite of sharing more and more information with online businesses and services, only a tiny minority of respondents (25 percent) felt that their customer experience has improved in the preceding 12 months. This clearly shows that increased sharing of private data does not necessarily translate into a better user experience. Transera sees this anomaly as a wakeup call for online brands and urges them to extract more value from customer data that can prove beneficial to the customers.

4) People participating in the survey also disclosed the type of benefits that they receive in lieu of sharing their personal data with online businesses. While 43 percent of respondents believed that they get better discounts after sharing their details, 35 percent felt that they now receive much better product recommendations whereas 25 percent believed that they are getting better customer support while purchasing something online or contacting the customer representative.

5) Finally, the survey also reveals whether people are aware of the data capturing and mining practices of online companies and whether or not they are willing to trade online privacy for an improved customer experience. Out of the total people polled, 49 percent people believed that firms marketing to them have some kind of access to their online browsing habits (web history, social media behavior) but only 16 percent were willing to share their personal details in exchange for a better user experience.

January 14, 2015

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