Study finds ad targeting is making users seek out more online privacy

07/11/2023 | The Drum

New research by Nano, an identity-free online advertising company, has revealed that users are increasingly concerned about online privacy. The study aimed to understand why people mask their personal data, when, and how they do it. The most common reason for masking given by 49% of respondents was to avoid retargeting. Mobile devices were found to be the most common place for masking, with, on average, 58% higher rates of hiding personal data than desktops. The reason given was that users felt mobile was a more private environment. The research also showed that the use of privacy-enhancing products and features increases alongside earnings, with the highest-earning households being 65% more likely to use a VPN and 69% more likely to adopt private browsing.

This latest research follows an earlier study of 2,000 UK consumers, which uncovered 70% of internet users are now blocking cookies or taking other steps to mask their personal information on a weekly basis. Ad tracking was cited as the top reason why people have become more privacy conscious, with 42% of respondents saying it had made them more aware of privacy issues. The study also found that more than half of respondents would be more likely to choose a brand that never collected or used personal information for advertising.

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