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Online Privacy & How to Encourage Opt-Ins

Posted by | 6:29pm on Monday, December 5, 2011
computer keyboard with the word privacy on return key

respondents wanted a clear understanding of how they'll benefit from giving up data 

How much private information are you willing to share online? It probably depends upon who is asking, what you are getting in return and how much value it has to you. McCann Truth Central performed a quantitative study on privacy including 6,525 global consumers in July 2011 across 6 markets – UK, USA, Hong Kong, Japan, India, and Chile.

The researchers discovered a new understanding of the word privacy. “…‘privacy’ is a complex, multi-dimensional issue that encompasses everything from personal, real-world snooping to sharing data online. Further, when it comes to data sharing one must unpack the issue even further as consumers categorize data into different categories, e.g. shopping, location, personal, medical, and financial, and have varying degrees of concern with sharing each type.”

While the study found anxiety about the potential threats to reputation and finances, consumers were accepting of the use of personal data (including the text of emails) to serve up targeted ads online. And there was good news for pharma: pharma ranks among the industries that  survey respondents trust most to safeguard their data – behind only banks and credit card and medical companies.

What’s in it for me?
This survey confirms the belief that consumers want a commitment from companies that their data will not be shared with third parties, and knowledge about how their data is being used. Survey respondents wanted a clear understanding of how they’ll benefit from giving up data. Consumers view their personal information as something of value to trade rather than to donate.

How does this apply to biopharma?
Instead of sweepstakes or sales, biopharma can offer consumers product and disease education. Especially in rare diseases, quality content and tools can be very valuable to the target audience. It can be as simple as an eNewsletter.

Set expectations
It’s great when people who are giving their personal data can see an example of what they’ll get in return. This helps to set expectations. If it’s an eNewsletter, people also want to know how frequently they will see communications in their inbox. Share all this information and people are more likely to sign up.

Make it as easy as possible
If you are asking for more than basic demographic information (name, email, zip code), be transparent as to why you are asking and what you’ll do with it. For example, if you ask patients for a date of diagnosis, explain that this data will be used to customize the eNewsletter they receive. Siren recommends progressive disclosure, which means gradually asking for more information over time. As the relationship develops with the brand or company and the audience has realized the value, they will be more likely to share additional data.

Only ask for data you plan on using
If you are thinking about doing a text campaign sometime in the future, don’t ask for cell phone numbers now. Wait until you are planning the campaign and then reach out to your audience and share those plans with them. Clearly explain the benefits and give them a reason to opt into your text campaign. Then they’ll be expecting your text as well.

What do you think?

(Image courtesy of  Sebastien Wiertz on Flickr.)

About Eileen O'Brien

Eileen has more than 16 years of digital healthcare marketing experience. She is an opinion leader on social media and biopharma, and has been invited to speak at industry conferences and quoted in publications.

View other posts from Eileen

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