Twice as many consumers say TV ads create a more positive image of brands than say the same about common digital formats, an extensive new survey reveals.

The report, Consumer Trust in Digital Marketing, by GroupM, questioned 14,000 consumers across 23 countries, and uncovered growing concern over digital marketing and the use of personal data that could have important implications for brands.

Consumers are increasingly sensitive to brands that appear alongside inappropriate content, the survey results show, with 64% of people saying they would form a negative opinion of a brand as a result.

And 60% of consumers say they are less inclined to use a product if their data is used for any purpose; almost as many, 56%, want greater control over their personal information.

The survey found that, against a backdrop of growing concern over privacy issues globally, consumers react more positively to TV advertising and more than a third (37%) feel digital ads are too intrusive. With this in mind, say the researchers, marketers need to focus on using the right digital platforms to reach customers. It’s also vital to be transparent about how data is collated and used.

“With pervasive reports of data security and privacy missteps, consumers are increasingly wary of information gathering about them as they move online,” said Christian Juhl, Global CEO of GroupM. “Media has evolved dramatically and it’s crucial the industry work collaboratively to make advertising work better for people around the world.

“As marketers, it’s our responsibility to ensure that we are using consumer information responsibly and transparently.”

GroupM’s analysis, conducted before the COVID-19 virus went global, suggests for those consumers with concerns about digital marketing, those at the top of the list were: fake news on social media, cyberbullying and online predators.

And consumers clearly think it’s a digital platform’s responsibility to act, with 75% saying they thought it was up to the platform to prevent or take down inappropriate content. All of which suggests marketers need to give added thought to the appropriateness of the channel they are using. They also need to focus on parameters around ad placements to protect brand value.

The research reveals that consumers are not only distrustful of their data being used, they are also getting more savvy at trying to protect themselves, with an increasing number of people saying they change privacy settings and delete cookies and browser history, for example.

“If companies wish to continue using consumers’ data, marketers may need to offer incentives and communicate the benefits more convincingly,” say the authors. “Being transparent about consumer data usage, with clear frameworks aligned through a whole organization, will help foster a new relationship of trust in the digital marketing process.”

Sourced from GroupM