BritePool/Annenberg Privacy Index Shows Small Improvement in Consumer Trust Online

Research Conducted by the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations, in partnership with BritePool, Finds Publishers and Brands Confront A Potential Backlash Associated with Online Privacy

July 16, 2019, New York, NY –Today, BritePool and the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations released the results of their latest joint survey of 1,000 Americans, the basis for the ongoing BritePool/Annenberg Privacy Index. 

Bob Perkins, BritePool’s COO, said the survey, conducted in late June, “found that only 18% of respondents strongly believe they are in control of their personal data online,” which “shows continuing, deep anxiety among American consumers who fear they have lost control of their personal information online.”

The initial survey, conducted in March, found only 9% of respondents felt strongly in control of their online data. The Index rose to 16% in May, and now stands at 18%.

“We believe one reason for this small increase is a growing sense of individual control,” said David Moore, CEO of BritePool. “Our joint survey also found that 75% of American adults have cleared their browsing history of tracking cookies at some point.  Concerned consumers are accessing available tools to protect their online privacy,” Moore added.

“Our data continues to underscore the emergent and real conflict that exists in the minds of consumers as they engage in online activity,” says Fred Cook, director of the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations.  “We repeatedly see that consumers want to engage with brands online, but they want more control over the data they provide.”

Moore cautioned, “tracking cookies are the core of the current online advertising ecosystem. When 75% of consumers tell us they have chosen to block this capability at some point, it suggests that the foundation of the current online advertising system is at risk.”

 “Consumers are warning us that the continuing feasibility of online advertising, as it currently exists, is open to question,” Moore said. “Spending on online advertising now exceeds television, which means consumer privacy concerns will soon be a central issue for brand growth,” he added. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), digital advertising in 2018 accounted for $107.5 billion, as compared to TV ad revenues of $71 billion.

Perkins noted the soon to be effective CCPA legislation in California, where consumers must be given a choice to opt-out and to restrict sharing of their profiles, “will accelerate consumer efforts to control their online data.”

 “The CCPA requires websites to provide a conspicuous, data-sharing opt-out option for every California resident,” Perkins said. “The BritePool/Annenberg Privacy index and attitude surveys suggest large numbers of consumers will take advantage of this easy opt-out mechanism,” he added.

“California is the tip of the iceberg, for evolving, ever easier ways for consumers to prevent sharing of their data,” Moore said. “As consumers exercise this control, they will fundamentally undermine the existing business model for thousands of publishers who rely on consumer data to offer targeted online advertising and participate in programmatic advertising,” he added.

BritePool is the first consumer-focused, vibrant, safe, and secure solution for the digital marketing ecosystem in an advertising-supported open Internet.  BritePool exists to solve the twin challenges currently facing the publishing and advertising industry: Building consumer trust and voluntary acceptance while establishing a persistent digital last mile to the consumer in the form of a valid and actionable identity.

We are creating BritePool as an attractive free service for enrolled consumers, that ensures the responsible use of their data while enabling online publishers to offer the targeted ads that are necessary for their businesses to survive,” said Moore.  “This represents a huge opportunity and solution for everyone,” he added.

Contact: Bruce Judson, Director of Communications, BritePool, 845-745-0957, Bruce@BritePool.com

Click here for the Business Wire release.