- Recent research from SEO and digital brand firm SearchDex on U.S. Google search behaviors and habits found that 68% of respondents are concerned about their browser history being sold to big companies, per data provided to Marketing Dive.
- Those privacy concerns include: causing an increase in annoying ads (44%), data falling into the wrong hands (43%), private searches being made public (40%) and security breaches causing browser history to be exposed (40%).
- The research also found that those concerns have led to a preference for using incognito windows to conduct online activities such as: accessing bank accounts (21%), researching and buying gifts (14%), watching embarrassing movies and TV shows (13%), downloading confidential work documents (12%) and checking social media (11%).
On recommendation from the recently installed Federal Communications Commission under the Trump administration, Congress passed a bill that overturned consumer online privacy protections which allows internet service providers (ISPs) to collect and sell consumer data without an opt-in, instead requiring consumers to specifically opt-out of having their data collected.
SearchDex’s research shows the level of distrust and concern people have about their browsing data. In response to negative reactions to the Congressional action, three states — Maryland, Minnesota and Montana — have begun to implement their own privacy restrictions on how ISPs and other companies can collect and share consumer data, with more likely to follow given the value people place on their online privacy.
Other data from the survey found that consumers take shopping searches seriously. Thirty-one percent reported that misleading search results would make them less likely to buy from a website, 31% worry the retailer featured in the search might be a scam and 27% said a misleading search would push them to a more familiar website.
“This survey reaffirms something we at SearchDex already know to be true: for brands and retailers to succeed, it’s not just about showing up in search results — it’s about how they show up in search results,” said Dave Chaplin, CEO of SearchDex, in a statement made available to Marketing Dive. “An online search is the first conversation a consumer will have with a brand or retailer — it’s potentially the beginning of the relationship. And if that brand or retailer comes up in an irrelevant search, the relationship has already been damaged.”