Over 74M Americans Share Personal Information Unknowingly

Over 74M Americans Share Personal Information Unknowingly

Published: March 04, 2024

A new study by integrated planning and buying platform Blis reveals that over 74 million American consumers don’t know the extent to which their data is being shared online.

The independent report commissioned by Blis and executed by Sapio Research, titled “2024 and the Great Privacy Disconnect,” involved consulting 2,000 consumers and 200 American agencies and brands.

The report shows that most Americans are unaware that sharing their email or phone numbers online often leads to anonymous identification by advertisers.

Even among those who are aware, 38% still find this practice invasive.

Additionally, 62% of consumers find current advertising practices intrusive, highlighting a growing frustration with the feeling of being constantly tracked and targeted online.

According to the study, 69% of consumers finding it intrusive or refusing to share their details to access content.
Most American consumers are wary of sharing
their personal information online | Source: Blis

This sentiment extends to data sharing beyond cookies, with 69% of consumers finding it intrusive or refusing to share their details to access content.

These alarming statistics show that consumers are increasingly becoming concerned about their privacy, but remain largely in the dark about how today's data-driven internet works.

What Are Internet Cookies?

Cookies are small files placed on a user's device by websites they visit.

These files store data about the user's activity on the website, such as pages viewed, items clicked on, and preferences.

Marketers utilize this data to personalize the user experience by displaying targeted digital marketing and advertising based on their browsing history.

For instance, if a user frequently visits sports apparel websites, they may see ads for athletic shoes on other websites they interact with.

This is done despite this not being cookies' original purpose since they are meant to support seamless online shopping.

While big data analytics allows for relevant advertising, it has been raising concerns about user privacy and data collection practices over the past years.

Marketers Lag in Cookieless Strategies

The digital ecosystem is on the cusp of a major transformation, driven by growing consumer concerns around data privacy and Google's decision to phase out third-party cookies by the end of 2024.

Despite the impending changes and consumer concerns, Blis’ report shows that almost half (49%) of American marketers don't have a plan for cookieless advertising.

Marketers are largely unprepared for cookieless advertising.
Half of American marketers find it difficult to navigate
the cookieless future | Source: Blis

As of 2023, roughly 63% of internet users rely on Google Chrome as their primary web browser, making Google's decision to phase out cookies a significant shift with substantial implications.

While Google has offered the Chrome Privacy Sandbox as a potential solution, 61% of U.S. marketers haven't tested it yet.

This lack of preparation may leave many marketers scrambling to adapt to the rapidly evolving landscape.

Preparing for the Cookieless Future

The cookieless future brings both challenges and opportunities.

While marketers grapple with the limitations of new solutions like contextual targeting and unified IDs, they also have the chance to build trust with consumers by prioritizing privacy-first practices.

This can involve offering more transparent data collection practices, providing clear opt-in and opt-out options, and investing in first-party data strategies that rely on user consent rather than covert tracking.

Ultimately, navigating the cookieless internet requires a fundamental shift in mindset.

As the internet evolves, striking a balance between effective advertising and user privacy will be key to creating a sustainable and ethical digital ecosystem.

"The crucial point to remember is that brands must find a good balance between their chosen solutions to ensure consumers don't feel uncomfortable with ads. After all, their privacy concerns are exactly what brought the industry to where we are," Blis CTO Aaron McKee stated in a press release.

 

Learn How to Get Ready for the Cookieless Future
READ MORE
Subscribe to Spotlight Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest industry news