LONDON: British internet users are more inclined to be positive about online advertising and show a greater willingness to click on ads if their concerns about transparency and privacy controls are addressed, a new study has found.

The "2013 UK Consumer Data Privacy Study: Advertising Edition" from TRUSTe, the global data privacy management company, also found consumers hold website owners and social networks responsible for protecting their privacy, but place most trust in themselves.

Of the 1,254 UK internet users polled in mid-June 2013, 53% said they would be more willing to respond to an advertiser or publisher who allowed them to opt out of online behavioural advertising (OBA) while 49% would be more inclined to click on an ad if given that choice.

Website owners and social networks are regarded by 77% and 74% respectively as being most responsible for protecting consumer privacy, but only 8% of self-regulatory organisations are trusted.

Instead, 43% of UK internet users trust themselves the most and 15% look to the government to keep them protected.

TRUSTe has a partnership with the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA) to raise consumer awareness about the recently launched online behavioural advertising logo.

It found 22% of UK consumers are now familiar with the OBA icon, up from 13% in 2012, and that almost 30% of consumers have clicked on the icon in an ad.

Failure to properly address privacy concerns has caused 30% of people to stop doing business with a company or website, while 49% say they will only visit websites which comply with the Cookie Directive, the study also found.

Chris Babel, CEO of TRUSTe, warned online companies that they will "contribute to a climate of fear and distrust" if they don't clearly explain what happens with customer data or fully inform users of their choices.

Nick Stringer, chair of the EDAA, agreed businesses should continue to invest in innovative ways to provide transparency and control about information.

"Doing so will install confidence in a sector that underpins the availability of online content and services to the UK public," he said.

Data sourced from TRUSTe; additional content by Warc staff