Consumers Hold Websites and Social Networks Most Accountable for Online Privacy Protection But Trust Critical to Continued Advertising Growth

Sep 19, 2013, 03:00 ET from TRUSTe

LONDON, September 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Research shows EU Self-Regulatory Programme for OBA has growing awareness and positive impact on consumer attitudes to online tracking

With IAB Europe reporting an 11.5% growth in the European online advertising market, TRUSTe, the leading global data privacy management (DPM) company, today announced findings from its latest privacy research - examining consumer's opinions about online behavioural advertising (OBA) and who they consider responsible for their online privacy.

Conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of TRUSTe, the "2013 UK Consumer Data Privacy Study: Advertising Edition" surveyed 1,254 UK Internet users between 12-19 June 2013, just prior to the UK launch of a pan-European campaign by the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA) to raise consumer awareness of the OBA Icon.

2013 UK Consumer Data Privacy Study: Advertising Edition - Key Findings

Although privacy concerns continue, to grow with 53% of UK internet users more concerned about their privacy than last year and 47% uncomfortable with Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA) the study showed that increased transparency and privacy controls can create more positive feelings about online advertising and willingness to click on ads.

There is a significant gap between who users hold accountable for privacy protection and who they trust. UK Internet users hold website owners and publishers (77%) as well as social networks (74%) most responsible for protecting their privacy. However,

  • Internet users trust themselves most (43% down from 60% in 2012), Government (15% up from 11% in 2012) and self-regulatory organisations (8%) to protect their privacy

Even before the launch of the pan-European icon awareness campaign, familiarity with the EU Self-Regulatory Programme on OBA and the OBA Icon is growing and shown to have a positive impact.

  • 53% of internet users would be inclined to do more business with an advertiser or publisher that gave them the option to opt out of OBA
  • 49% would be more inclined to click on advertisement which gave them the option to opt out of OBA
  • Familiarity with the OBA Icon is increasing in the UK (22% up from 13% in 2012) and nearly a third of consumers (30%) have now clicked on the OBA Icon in an ad.

However, there's still significant work that's needed to boost consumer confidence online and avoid losing business. While 65% of UK Internet users understand that most websites are able to offer free content and services by showing ads, only 24% are willing to let advertisers use online browsing information to show them targeted ads in exchange for free content and only 12% would be willing to pay to avoid seeing ads.

  • 30% have stopped doing business with a company or website because of privacy concerns
  • 79% of UK Internet users expect companies to comply with the Cookie Directive; 49% plan to only visit websites which comply

The release of TRUSTe's study coincides with the start of the "Powering Trust" Roadshow, addressing the biggest privacy challenges in online advertising and with events in San Francisco, New York and London. Speaking at the first launch event, Chris Babel, CEO for TRUSTe said:

"As demonstrated time and time again through numerous privacy firestorms, online companies that don't clearly explain what's happening with customer data or fully inform users of their choices contribute to a climate of fear and distrust. As our research shows, we think that by listening and responding to what users want, we can eliminate that fear and increase trust in the ever growing data economy"

Nick Stringer, Chair of the European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA) and Director of Regulatory Affairs at the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB UK) commented on the findings:

"TRUSTe's latest research shows that a growing number of British people are now aware of the icon in ads and on websites, and how it gives them control over their privacy. Businesses continue to invest in innovative ways to provide transparency and control over the information used to deliver more relevant online ads. Doing so will install confidence in a sector that underpins the availability of online content and services to the UK public."

For full details of TRUSTe's UK findings, click here.

Notes to Editors

1. TRUSTe is the leading global Data Privacy Management (DPM) company and powers trust in the data economy by enabling businesses to safely collect and use customer data across web, mobile, cloud and advertising channels. Our cloud-based Data Privacy Management Platform delivers innovative technology products, including website monitoring and advertising compliance controls - along with privacy assessments and certifications. More than 5,000 companies worldwide, including Apple, Disney, eBay, Forbes, LinkedIn and Oracle rely on our DPM platform and globally recognised Certified Privacy Seal to protect/enhance their brand, drive user engagement and minimise compliance risk. For more information, please visit

2. Conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of TRUSTe, 2013 UK Consumer Data Privacy Study: Advertising Edition included responses from 1,254 UK internet users, aged 18 and older and was conducted between 12-19 June 2013. The online surveys are not based on probability sample and therefore no estimate or theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

3. For TRUSTe UK media enquiries please contact Eleanor Treharne-Jones on +44(0)20-7812-0664 or