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What consumers really think of the upcoming IDFA opt-in, protecting privacy and smartphone data

App developers need to implement workarounds and create an understanding of the benefits of shared data, according to a new survey from AppsFlyer and Mobile Marketing Association.


Image: iStock/scanrail

A new report, Personal Data, Privacy & Smartphones: The Cautious Consumer analyzes what smartphone owners think of the upcoming Apple Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) opt-in requirement and the use of their data. The report, from AppsFlyer and Mobile Marketing AssociationGlobal (MMA) highlights “the need to inform and educate their customer base about data usage.”

The biggest takeaway from the survey is that there wasn’t a definite standout choice that consumers were leaning towards. Smartphone owners are not in agreement–partially due to the inexact wording and understanding–of how their data should be navigated by app developers and content providers. 

Users want to protect their data: 47% use ad blockers and 35% use browser extensions. 

When presented with the new opt-in scenario, the majority of consumers did not want to accept it, yet only a small minority were willing to pay a subscription fee for the content. They don’t want ads and they don’t want to have to pay for ad-free content. When push comes to shove, while one-third of smartphone users refuse to be tracked under any circumstances, the majority surveyed will allow some form of tracking over paying for a subscription. 

Age divided the response and concern regarding privacy and data usage, with the youngest respondents the least concerned.

SEE: Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs (TechRepublic)

The report identified the divide between an overall willingness to pay and for the type of content they’ll pay for. Millennials are the most likely to pay for video, but teens are most willing to pay for music. 

Apple’s privacy changes are unfamiliar to only one-third of smartphone users, but when the changes are explained, they are alarmed and 47% reported they’re “very unlikely to opt in to tracking.” But overall, smartphone users are divided in terms of their confidence in deciding how to handle tracking and look to big tech to give them more information. 

Despite understanding the negative consequences of opting out of being tracked–less relevant, more repetitive–45% said they still prefer to not allow their phones to be tracked. 

“Apple’s planned updates are not widely understood, and if consumers act as they say they will, marketers are going to be severely challenged in how they monetize their apps,” said Brian Quinn, president and general manager, North America, AppsFlyer in a press release on Business Wire. “AppsFlyer and MMA partnered to conduct this survey in order to understand where consumers are in respect to usage of their smartphone data. In turn, we wanted to help marketers understand how to better communicate the value proposition of data usage to their customers. This is a wake up call to the entire industry about the coming privacy changes that will ultimately force them to turn to more privacy-compliant modes of tracking and better respecting the rights of consumers.”

The report identified that smartphone users are more likely to believe that the enterprise collects their data to monetize it, rather than using it to “improve their experience.” They feel there is a “fairness” issue, because they don’t think they are getting the perceived value of that data. 

“Marketers are not presenting the value proposition of data usage clearly: free content, ads that are more relevant to their interests, a better user experience with fewer pop ups,” Quinn said. “As marketers, we need to do a better job of communicating, and yes, even negotiating with consumers about the value of their data. Consumers find too much of what we do to be scary, which it shouldn’t be. If indeed there is a fair and clear value exchange taking place, we are able to build better relationships with consumers while at the same time enabling a thriving free app ecosystem.”

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This post was written by and was first posted to TechRepublic

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