Consumers feeling more in control of data post-GDPR

DataIQ News

Brands may still be coming to terms with GDPR but, it appears, consumers are already feeling more confident in how their data is handled, and believe they can exercise greater control over what marketing they receive.

That is according to the results of the DMA's ‘Consumer email tracker 2019’, supported by dotdigital, which delves into consumers’ perceptions and preferences when it comes to email.

It shows that two-fifths (41%) of consumers are more comfortable and confident that brands are handling their data correctly thanks to the introduction of the regulation, while fewer people find themselves questioning how a brand got their data in the first place than they did a year ago.

In 2018, consumers believe they received less email than ever before, estimating this at around 57 per week to their personal inboxes – down from 73 in 2017 – and less than half of these (44%) are actually from brands.

In addition, consumers estimate they are signed up to receive email messages from around nine different brands, which has also declined from 12 in 2017. The figures are a potential byproduct of the new laws and consumers’ belief they have more control over the marketing emails they receive, the report states.

DMA managing director Rachel Aldighieri said: “Despite the challenges that GDPR may have brought to marketers and their organisations, it has clearly had a positive impact on consumers. The fact that so many of the people we surveyed said the new rules have made them more confident about how brands treat their personal data should be seen as a very positive step.

"This year’s report highlights the power of email to be at the heart of brands’ communication with customers, being the central channel that others can then be built around. However, it’s fundamental that marketers combine convenience and relevance, building relationships based on transparency and trust.”

When it comes to unsubscribing from a brand’s email programme, the main reason cited is receiving too many messages (59%), followed by the information no longer being relevant (43%) and not recognising the brand (43%).

Most people (70%) take action via the brand’s website or the button within an email, with 40% expecting to never hear from that brand (via email) again or only receive transactional emails (23%).

However, almost one in five expect to be taken to options where they can change their email preferences (9%) or to some form of survey (7%), offering marketers the opportunity to retain that customer by changing their approach or, at the very least, better understand why they are leaving.

When offered this opportunity for control, around a third (36%) say they would like to reduce the frequency of emails they receive or specify the products/services they hear about (31%) – two of the key reasons they may have clicked unsubscribe in the first place.

Dotdigital chief marketing officer Phil Draper said: “Creating powerful, two-way relationships with consumers should be at the core of all modern marketing strategies. It’s what consumers want, and what marketers are working to deliver. The fact that brands have reduced the number of emails they’re sending is an indication that they are focusing more on delivering relevant and interesting content.”