Consumers reject digital intrusions

9 October 2014

NEW YORK/OTTOWA: The ease and relative cheapness of digital advertising, along with the possibilities for personalisation, have proved attractive for marketers but, given a chance, consumers are ready to reject unwanted intrusions into their online lives.

When social networking site Ello hit the headlines recently with its manifesto promise to remain ad-free, Greg Sterling, a contributing editor at Search Engine Land, ran a Google Consumer Survey asking 800 internet users whether they would abandon Facebook for a new social network that had no advertising.

He found that around 20% didn't actually use Facebook, while just over one quarter said they'd stick with it. But over half indicated varying degrees of interest, from a wait-and-see attitude to one dependent on the presence of friends, while 14% would not hesitate to switch.

Breaking the data down further he discovered that women were generally more comfortable with Facebook but at the same time were more open than men to an ad-free social media option.

"There is some part of the audience that is interested in an alternative and at least ambivalent about advertising on the site," Sterling concluded.

Further north, a survey assessed the impact of Canada's new anti-spam laws and found that two thirds of the 1,000 Canadians surveyed had taken advantage of these to keep their inboxes clear of unwanted information from organisations.

The new law requires individuals or businesses to obtain expressed consent from the recipients of their commercial electronic messages. Six in ten respondents were aware of the legislation, and among these 84% had taken action.

Older respondents were more likely to have reviewed their email subscriptions than younger ones and were also more confident that the anti-spam law would actually work effectively.

Overall, the average Canadian e-mail user acknowledged providing consent to approximately 55% of organisations which asked for it, indicating a denial of consent to almost half of those organisations they had received messages from.

Data sourced from Marketing Land, Ipsos; additional content by Warc staff