Consumers are significantly more wary of companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google, according to a study by McCann that was discussed at a CES panel led by Ad Age and IPG at CES. People are very sensitive about their private data, and when asked which companies are the greatest threat to the future of privacy 59% cited Facebook and 40% cited Twitter, while 32% responded with Google. These numbers represent a doubling from just one year ago, and it’s no surprise, given the important NSA revelations that have happened since that date.
What’s important to point out, though, is that people aren’t necessarily concerned with what might happen to the data immediately; they’re very concerned with what might happen in the near future as technology’s powers expand. As well, they’re concerned about what happens to their data on the back end, with respect to advertising, how data is bought, sold, and thereafter targeted; broad support was voiced for a Do Not Track system. The important takeaway, for both the advertising and technology industries, is that consumers are beginning to pay much more attention to their data and how its being used in an era of rapidly-advancing technology. Their trust is the foundation for much of these industries, and once it’s gone it will be very tough to win back.