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Tuesday, 15 May 2018 11:25

Aussies now ‘more comfortable’ with data sharing: research

Aussies now ‘more comfortable’ with data sharing: research Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Concern over data privacy is common in Australia, but there are signs comfort towards data sharing is improving, according to newly published research revealing 44% of Aussies agree that they feel more comfortable about the issue of exchanging personal information with companies than in the past.

Research conducted by the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising and the Global Alliance of Data-Driven Marketing Associations — to coincide with Privacy Awareness Week — found that awareness of data practice is growing among Australians.

National Privacy Awareness Week 2018 runs from 14 to 20 May under the theme ‘Value personal data – it’s worth protecting’.

According to the research, sponsored by Acxiom, many Australians claim to be more aware of data privacy issues due to media stories, although 60% agree that they are more aware of how their data is collected and used than in the past.

And while Aussie consumers on the whole understand the necessity of data exchange in the modern world, the research reveals that they do not always feel they receive adequate benefits for doing so.

Just 34% of Aussies agree they get improved service in return for the personal data they give to companies.

The research also shows that there is a pronounced desire among Australians for greater control and transparency over their personal data, and that consumers do not strongly trust organisations with their personal information, with digital businesses trusted the least.

In fact, the research revealed that 81% of Australians rank transparency about how data is collected and used as important or very important when sharing data and the same proportion would like more control over their data and how it is stored.

Businesses are perceived to benefit disproportionately from data exchange, with 73% of Australians thinking that businesses generally benefit the most from data sharing, while only 10% believe that consumers benefit the most.

And while consumers understand the value of their data as an asset they can exchange, they do not always feel they are getting adequate returns when sharing their data. For example, more consumers would like to be able to control when websites recognise them than feel that this makes marketing more tailored to them - 36% vs. 20%.

The research also found that for Australians, trust and transparency are the most important factors for a healthy data-exchange landscape – while 55% rate being able to trust an organisation as a top three reason that would make them happy with sharing personal information.

Also revealed is the fact that:

  • Australians see the idea of data as a personal asset that can be traded as an appealing concept and 77% would prefer to hold their own data and exchange it when they choose; and
  • While most consumers feel they should take ultimate responsibility for their data, currently Australians do not feel a great sense of control over their data sharing and data exchanges with companies.

“Our Consumer Attitudes to Privacy research shows clearly that organisations need to invest further in strategies to ensure trust, transparency and choice are front and centre, and those who deliver on these attributes will be the ones that succeed in the future,” said Steve Sinha, acting chief executive and chief operating officer of AADL.

“As the go-to industry association for data leadership, education and guidance, we encourage Australian consumers and businesses to take ownership of what’s happening with the new currency that is data.”

According to Sinha, marketers in Australia need to do more to ensure they clarify the value exchange with customers to address the perception that businesses benefit most.

He says trust, transparency and choice are the key focus areas for companies and those delivering these attributes will be the businesses that succeed into the future.

Sinha also notes that Australians need to be prepared for the European Union General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force on 25 May, to regulate the processing of personal data as it affects companies worldwide who are doing business in the EU or with EU citizens.

To that end, ADMA has partnered with the UK’s The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing, to offer exclusively to Australians two courses to understand GDPR, an Award and a Professional Certificate.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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