Do brands understand customer needs?

Creative technology agency Rehab today highlights research of over 2,000 Brits, conducted with YouGov, showcasing concerns of businesses respecting their personal data, and the general ineffectiveness of current advertising. Both have magnified importance as brands juggle the need to accelerate personalised offerings whilst also preparing for cookies ending in 2023.

Privacy Concerns

A 2022 report from Shopify recently found that nearly half of consumers (44%) want relevant content from brands based on their personal information. Rehab’s new report with YouGov into First Party Data, released today, supports this finding, with one in three Brits (39%) claiming to prefer a personalised experience over an unpersonalised one, and this preference was strongest in younger demographics, rising to 45% in people aged 18-24.

However, people may not realise the cost to their privacy, particularly with cookies soon ending and brands needing to collect first party data in an open, consensual transaction with their users. Rehab’s research highlighted how this will prove difficult:

  • 70% of Brits considered data collection from businesses to be an ‘immoral’ practice.
  • The majority of people (54%) claimed to be more conscious of how their personal data is being used by businesses compared to 2020, highlighting a growing awareness.
  • 48% of Brits didn’t realise that businesses sell their personal data to other companies.
  • The types of personal data people were most uncomfortable with businesses knowing about them:
    • Online behaviour (61%)
    • Phone Number (57%)
    • Home address (54%)
    • Political opinions (43%)
    • Likes and dislikes (36%)
  • 80% of people reported they had no idea that any changes are taking place to internet cookies, highlighting they may react strongly to noticeable changes.

The report does, however, highlight opportunities for transparent businesses. One in three people (35%) claimed they would pay £5 for a version of WhatsApp that ensured their data wouldn’t be shared with Facebook companies. From calculations around global WhatsApp users, Rehab estimates that they could be missing out on a £3.5bn opportunity by offering the service.

Advertising ineffectiveness

Rehab’s report also showcases how brands are currently missing the mark on their relationships with their audience, which is expected to become exacerbated by the end of cookies for those without a new data strategy in place.

Less than 1 in 5 (16%) thought that the companies they interacted with properly understand their needs as a person, whilst the majority of people (53%) claimed to buy products based on ads they’ve seen just once a year or less, despite an estimated global ad spend of over $700bn in 2021.

Rob Bennett, CEO of Rehab Agency, commented: “Our report highlights some staggering concerns from the general public around data collection - which will become a colossal issue for businesses once cookies are phased out. Brands everywhere will need to actually build a relationship with their customers, rather than relying on digital stealth. To do this, they will need to provide customers with more value and more reasons to trust in their relationship. Getting it right means pulling technology and marketing together to manage a strategic shift, with absolute transparency on why personal data is collected and how it’s protected.”

The Rehab and YouGov First Party Data Report highlights concerns around how customer data is used and where brands are missing the mark, with insights that shape the path to creating meaningful, valuable customer relationships – without the need for digital stealth. You can view the report in full here.