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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : April 27, 2011

Survey: Mobile consumers most concerned about privacy

Although many consider privacy and security linked, in the mobile realm it appears that the growing consumer base does not. According to a new TRUSTe survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, mobile privacy is the biggest concern for consumers, who say they want more transparency in the mobile ad space.

by Kristina Knight

TRUSTe.jpg"We knew that privacy was a big issue, but boy is it big," said Fran Maier, President, TRUSTe. "The privacy issues are maybe a little bit higher in mobile than with the general Internet. The other thing that surprised me is how big a deal advertiser tracking and targeting is; what is surprising about that is that this tracking isn't use as often [in mobile] as on the web, but users believe that it is used just as often."

The survey found:

• Privacy is the biggest mobile issue (38%)
• One-quarter of consumers want more mobile security (26%)
• 19% are concerned with potential identity tracking

Also of interest is that consumers are not using smartphones more for 'alternative' tasks than for talking. According to the results 49% of smartphones users use their mobiles for other-than-talking between one and three hours per day. That means they are browsing the mobile web, engaging with apps, mobile shopping, checking email or texting more than they are speaking - making mobile prime advertising real estate if done correctly.

The first step, develop a mobile privacy policy and make that policy clear to users.

"Ideally, [marketers] should do some sort of phone factoring, giving consumers choices," said Maier. "Our mobile app certification delivers an accessible privacy policy which gives consumers more information about tracking and data collection."

Also, add in opt-in features to mobile campaigns so that consumers have choice in advertisers, and don't ask for more personal information than is absolutely necessary to use the game, app or mobile interface.

"If [personal information] is needed, the consumer needs to know why you need it and they need to have a choice in offering the information or declining the service," said Maier. She went on to say that the time is now for privacy and security policies. "Service providers, ad networks, app platforms and so on need to come together to educate users on what actually is happing [data collection, tracking, etc.]. Consumers want control in the mobile space; they need the ability to opt-in or opt-out of specific tracking information like location."

One thousand US adults were surveyed by Harris Interactive for the report in February 2011.

Tags: feature phones, mobile marketing, mobile privacy, mobile security, smartphones, TRUSTe

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