New cross-Atlantic research has shed light on the glaring lack of consumer knowledge around data use in advertising ahead of GDPR.

With the digital marketing industry passing the ‘six months to go’ mark for the new data regulation in May 2018, a study by LoopMe of over 1,000 UK and US consumers found that 62% were unaware that their data was encrypted and non-PII identifiable (cannot be used to identify an individual).

Meanwhile, six in 10 consumers would prefer for ads and online experiences to be more relevant to their needs, while 58% felt that brands should be using anonymous data to show “more relevant and interesting ads”.

Just under half were happy for advertisers to use their anonymous data if it kept online sites free and that it wasn’t linked back to the consumer; the findings suggesting, therefore, that there’s a lot to be gained by educating consumers over data use for advertising to the benefit of both parties.

A little reassurance

“Marketers and technology companies have a duty to inform consumers about what data is collected and what it is being used for,” commented Stephen Upstone, LoopMe’s CEO and co-founder; “It’s clear that consumers are prepared to trade their data for better, targeted advertising – but on the condition that it is stored safely and not vulnerable to hacks.”

The vulnerability of stored data to hacking was cited among 47% of consumers as their biggest concern, while it being sold without their permission and its use by criminal organisations both followed with 43% and 29% of respondents.

Just under one in four felt they weren’t knowledgeable enough to comment on benefits, however, savings on cost, more relevant product offers and broader worldwide initiatives all topped their perceptions, 71% felt that their personal information was being gathered by advertisers and ad companies.

With GDPR coming into play in just six months in May 2018 and enforcing stricter regulations of marketer’s use of data beyond PII, advertisers could benefit greatly by opening up an honest discourse with their consumers around the use of their data.