How Consumers Really Feel About Their Privacy and Data

Oct 28, 2019

Alexandra Matthews

Consumer data has been mishandled systematically for decades. 

GDPR acts as a turning point. But how has it changed consumer opinions? And what does this mean for marketers?

To answer this, Ogury conducted the world’s largest research piece of its kind. 

‘The Reality Report’ 2019 surveyed 287,000 consumers from around the world about their attitudes towards mobile marketing, advertising, privacy and data.  

In this blog, we’re going to reveal exactly what consumers told us about privacy and data specifically. 

WARNING: It’s not all pretty!

Question #1:

“After GDPR came into effect, do you feel that you have a better understanding of how companies use your data?”

Key Finding: GDPR still has a long journey ahead.

One year on from GDPR, only 8% of consumers claim to have a better understanding of how their mobile data is being used by the organizations that collect it.

92% of global survey respondents stated that they either had no better understanding of how companies use their mobile data since GDPR came into law or knew what the GDPR was at all. 

These might be disheartening numbers for lawmakers and regulators, who will have no doubt hoped for a far greater level of understanding from the very consumers that GDPR is designed to protect. But marketers should similarly take heed of this admission by users that the message is not getting through in sufficient numbers.

Given the harsh punishments for organizations that misuse data or fall outside of compliance standards, it pays to have a user base who are completely in-the-know regarding what they are signing up for when opting in for data collection. 

Question #2:


“After reading consent forms and privacy policies do you understand how companies use your data?”

Key Finding: Consent notices are failing to help most users understand how their data is used by advertisers.

Privacy laws such as GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) exist to encourage greater transparency and fairness from organizations over how they collect, use, and store consumer data. Consent forms are an imperative part of this. They are an agreement between consumers and organizations. Their purpose is to inform the reader, making them aware (if they consent) of exactly what data they are agreeing to share and how their data will be used. Consent notices should empower users with all the information required to make an informed choice. To that extent, they must use ‘clear, plain language that is easy to understand.’

However, the global survey results reveal that even after reading consent notices, more than half of consumers still don’t understand how their data will be used.

Although consent notices require legal legitimacy, if consumer trust towards privacy and data is to be earned by the industry, consent notices need to be easier to understand. Because today, the notices and opt-in forms used to obtain consent are failing to inform the majority of consumers.

Question #3:


“Do you read consent notices in their entirety?”

Key Finding: The majority of consumers do not read consent notices in their entirety. They need to get shorter and clearer.

78% of all users polled simply do not read consent notices in their entirety. Meaning, at best, over three-quarters of consumers skim-read the opt-in forms they are presented, or more likely disregard reading them altogether. 

In fact, only 22% of consumers read consent notices in full. If this isn’t bad enough, of that 22%, over half still don’t have any greater understanding of how their data will be used, even after they’ve read them. A change is required to remedy this.

Just because consent notices are a legal necessity, does not mean they need to be fundamentally complex or off-putting for consumers. This paradigm shift needs to be driven by the companies who present them; combining expertise from legal, product and UX teams alike.

Nearly all technology success stories have two things in common: complex under the surface, simple to understand and use. If consent notices are to be understood, trusted and valued by consumers, they should be no different.

Question #4:


“What type of data would you be prepared to share to avoid paying to view content or to use apps?”

Key Finding: Consumers would rather share data to access content than pay with money.

A lot of content is consumed on mobile. Up to five hours per day in fact. And most of it is free. But just because content is free, doesn’t mean it hasn’t been paid for with your data and attention.

Sometimes the transaction happens knowingly, with the help of a clear and simple consent notice (i.e. the right way). Sometimes it happens unknowingly, without permission, through forced or ambiguous means (i.e. the corrupt way). 

The former is what we refer to in this question, of course. Our research shows that when given a clear and fair choice, 71% of people prefer to share their data instead of paying a monetary fee. In fact, 58% of all respondents said they would be happy to share the websites and apps they use across mobile, in order to consume content. They consider this to be a fair value exchange.

When it comes to personal data however, the story is different. Globally, only 13% of users would rather share their contact details to access free content, over sharing mobile journey data or paying with money.

Aside from data, 29% of global respondents stated they would ‘prefer to pay’ for content and apps with money rather than share their data. Giving users this option to pay for content with money without sharing data is one route to providing choice and gaining trust, while respecting users’ desire to have control over their data.

Want to know more?

You may have seen results from The Reality Report featured in The Financial TimesMarTech Advisor and AdAge

Or perhaps you caught my talk at Advertising Week NY, where I presented and shared the top three macro conclusions?  

If not, you can watch a video of the full presentation here.

And if you want to go deep, and pour through all 35 pages to see breakdowns per country, age group and sex, you can get your free copy of the full report here. 

Max Pepe, VP Marketing