68% of consumers uncomfortable with their data being used for ads, but two-thirds are still likely to visit a site after being targeted

Despite six in 10 media experts naming privacy policy understanding as a priority, 29% have not taken any action to manage policy changes.

Consumers are concerned about the security of their personal information online – more than six in 10 are uncomfortable with their data being used for advertising purposes.

Meanwhile, digital marketing experts have gaps in their knowledge on data privacy policies, according to new research.

Integral Ad Science’s research with YouGov surveyed more than 1,100 US consumers and 346 digital media experts. Half of consumers were confident in the security of their online data, said the research, while 55% are unaware of any data privacy legislation that regulates the collection and use of personal data.

But consumers mostly place the responsibility on themselves for ensuring the safety of their personal data online, with 52% agreeing the onus is on them to keep their personal data secure, and 40% believing this was down to the individual website or app they visit. Just over two-thirds of those surveyed reported being more vigilant with their online data “than ever before”.

Wiping browsers and cookies

More than half of consumers reported clearing their browser history in the last 30 days when they were online, while a slightly smaller proportion had cleared cookies and 49% had used the privacy mode when surfing the net.

Despite recognising the personalisation they get, almost seven in 10 (68%) said they were uncomfortable with their online data being used for ad purposes. And while the majority have experienced seeing a targeted ad after searching for a brand or product online, 57% said they were uncomfortable with seeing a targeted ad after interacting or talking with that brand.

“Contextual relevance is a privacy-first advertising strategy that targets consumers without using personal data. Through predictive science, marketers can target content that is most desirable to their ideal audience – reaching relevant consumers without impacting online privacy,” IAS said in its report.

Despite this, a third of those surveyed said they were willing to share data with shopping sites to receive a personalised experience, while a quarter said they would share data with video streaming services and on social media. Two-thirds said they are likely to visit a website after being targeted with an ad for a product or brand.

Holes in knowledge about data privacy policies/strong>

Six in 10 digital media experts included in the research named understanding data privacy and its impact as a priority this year, but just half are familiar with privacy policy-related topics

The survey found substantial concerns for the ability to plan for digital media buys as a result of changing policies, with 89% concerned about changes to personally identifiable information policies, and 88% concerned about cookie depreciation. But only 36% of media experts had assigned a team to manage privacy policy changes, with 29% (mostly brands) admitting that they had not yet taken any action.

To manage cookie depreciation, 29% have a live contextual targeting strategy in place while the same proportion are using data clean rooms.

Social media was highlighted as being the most impacted by privacy policy changes, with mobile and e-commerce not far behind. Meanwhile, 57% felt that digital media targeting strategies will be most impacted and more limited by changing privacy policies.

“Experts also agree that media quality solutions will become more important to ensure the right audiences are being reached – and that ad buyers and sellers must actively work together to help with ease of transitions as privacy policies evolve,” the IAS report said.