FRIDAY 6 AUG 2021 1:30 PM


Ahead of Apple’s blanket ban on email tracking pixels this autumn, a survey from data science consultancy, Profusion, has found that 71% of people would simply prefer personal control over their email communications.

Profusion has shared the results of its survey analysing public attitudes towards online privacy and personalised communications. Of the 1000 UK adults surveyed, 96% stated that online privacy is now a major concern. Privacy fears extend to email communications, with 43% stating that social listening and tracking of consumer behaviour is a violation of their privacy, and 67% reporting a dislike for retargeting ads.

Email was found to be the most popular communications channel among consumers, with 63% selecting it as their preferred channel. However, when asked about the specific issues surrounding email comms, 58% said it is too frequent, while 39% cited lack of personalisation as the main problem.

Natalie Cramp, CEO of Profusion, says, “Many consumers love personalised emails and understand the trade off in giving some data to companies to make this happen. As a result, they don’t want a blanket ban but instead want to be able to tailor access on a case by case basis”

When asked if they would prefer more generic emails to protect privacy, 63% of respondents agreed. “Our research shows that the online privacy debate is becoming more nuanced. It is not as simple as saying more privacy is always popular. What people want is greater control. They want to better choose who they give their data to if it means a better service. The tracking pixel ban showcases this position,” adds Cramp.

The results indicate that consumers are willing to accept limited monitoring in exchange for a degree of personalisation, but Profusion emphasises that a clear value exchange must be understood. “The lesson for marketers is that context and consent are crucial elements in how you personalise your messages. Our results also highlight not only how important email as a channel is, but how much work marketers still have to do on getting this right - perhaps if we were we wouldn’t be facing blanket bans,” says Cramp.

The survey of 1000 UK adults was conducted between 14-16 July 2021 in association with Alligator Digital.