Daryl McNutt, VP Marketing Drawbridge
In today’s mobile-focused world, a user’s privacy is not only the most important, but also the hardest thing for companies to promise. Many ad exchanges, big-name brands, and app developers aren’t yet sure how to effectively target users on mobile without accessing personally identifiable information (PII). However, for some companies, the pledge to protect consumer privacy comes first and foremost when introducing cross-device technology – and Drawbridge is one of those companies.
Dave Deasy – VP Marketing | TRUSTe
The smartphone and apps markets experienced explosive growth last year, to the extent that there are now more smartphones on the planet than people – 217 million were purchased worldwide in the final quarter of 2012 alone.
But the complexity of the current mobile ecosystem raises new consumer privacy concerns. Mobile device users are sharing information about their daily lives with a number of third parties – sometimes willingly, sometimes not.
While regulators in the US and Europe have moved to keep up with these issues and address consumer concerns, the question is how much users understand about who can access their information and how those third parties are using it. What kind of personal information do they feel comfortable sharing and how do they control their privacy?
The answer to these questions – and many more – are revealed in the latest TRUSTe 2013 Consumer Data Privacy Study: Mobile Edition, which offers a detailed insight into current consumer opinion, business implications and market trends. Conducted by Harris Interactive among smartphone users in the US and UK between June 12 and June 19 2013, the survey is part of an established research series and, now in its third year, a long-term commitment to market education by TRUSTe.
The findings provide a valuable barometer on current consumer perceptions and mobile privacy trends by examining issues such as data collection, geo-location tracking, mobile advertising and privacy management responsibility.
And, although the research findings in the US and UK were similar in many instances, they also reveal a number of significant differences of opinion.
Mobile Privacy Concern
Privacy is, and remains, a concern among smartphone users on both sides of the Atlantic.
Despite the considerable investment in product and brand development made by mobile phone companies and app developers, smartphone users are more concerned about their privacy than the brand, camera, weight or screen size. For 22% of US and 20% of UK users privacy is their greatest concern when using mobile apps, second only to battery life, with 78% in the US and 76% in Great Britain refusing to download an app they don’t trust.
Smartphone users in the US and the UK are equally concerned about privacy issues when banking online – in the US 63% worry frequently or always and in the UK the figure is 54%.
Reluctance to Share Personal Information
The study reveals 43% of smartphone users in the US and 47% in the UK are not prepared to share any information about themselves with a company in exchange for a free or lower cost mobile app.
Unlike in the US, where 38% (up from 31% in 2012) are willing to share at least some information, in the UK the trend is reversed with the figure at 35% (down from 40% in 2012). The number of US users prepared to share their age (44%), full name (31%), date of birth (19%) and web-surfing behavior (12%) have all increased. But the figures remain static, from last year, for those in the UK willing to reveal their age (38%), full name (34%) and date of birth (19%) and they express a decreasing willingness to share web-surfing behavior (9%).
Interestingly, consumers in both countries are more protective of their contacts and photos than their home address, phone number or current location.
Low Awareness of Mobile Tracking
When it comes to tracking, 31% of US smartphone users are not aware that tracking takes place on a mobile device with the figure rising dramatically across the pond with 46% unaware in the UK. Those in both countries do not like the idea of being tracked (69% in the US and 70% in the UK) which is considerably higher than on desktop where 52% in the US and 47% in the UK express concerns about online behavioral advertising.
With mobile privacy concerns running higher than ever, the business implications simply can’t be ignored. If a user won’t download an app or share location data mobile commerce, and technology innovation, feels the impact. It’s clear companies must address mobile privacy concerns by giving users what they want – more transparency and control over their privacy choices.
The US and UK Mobile Edition surveys will be followed up with a special report on Advertising Privacy later in 2013 and the full research findings will be shared at a series of TRUSTe ‘Powering Trust’ roadshows in the US and Europe beginning this month.
Full details of TRUSTe’s US findings can be found here www.truste.com/us-mobile-privacy-report-2013 and UK findings here www.truste.com/uk-mobile-privacy-report-2013.
Sr. Product Manager | TRUSTe
Mobile application privacy requirements continue to evolve in the right direction.
This is a really positive development for consumer privacy in the mobile space. Displaying privacy policies up front will allow consumers to make informed decisions on the apps they purchase. It removes the element of Russian Roulette when purchasing an app without first knowing the data privacy practices associated with that app.
Developers need to do 3 things to comply with this California law:
- Create privacy policies for their applications
Joanne Furtsch, CIPP, CIPP/C
Policy & Product Architect
TRUSTe appreciated the opportunity to participate in this collaboration, and it provides a great starting point to get app developers thinking about privacy and looking at what data they collect, how they use it, and whom they share it with. App developers also need to understand what data third parties may collect through their apps. When developers embed third party code into their app it’s very important that they take the steps to understand exactly what that third party code does and how it can impact consumer privacy.
Part 3 in an ongoing series on the mobile platform & privacy
By Janet Jaiswal
Director of Enterprise BU
Screenshot of Facebook’s iPhone app
There is very little doubt in anyone’s mind that the iPhone has revolutionized the mobile industry and has forced the hands of everyone – from handset manufacturers and carriers to application developers – to be more creative and innovative in order to stay in the game. Another advantage Apple has is that it requires its developers to follow its human interface guidelines. These guidelines help mobile apps conform to good design principles. These design principles are so popular that more and more mobile apps and mobile web developers are following these guidelines regardless of whether they are on the Apple store, which contributes to the continuing appeal of the mobile device.
Tasks performed on mobile devices tend to be tactical in nature. Your users have a very specific need and they want to accomplish their goal in the easiest and fastest way possible. Best user interface design principles include:
- Compact screen size requires a minimal feature set optimized for common use cases
- Fonts and font sizes are used to show hierarchy and importance
- The ability to only see one screen at a time means features must be progressively displayed
- Large buttons are used to make interactions actionable
- The commonality of the mobile form factor means users expect adherence to mobile design conventions – interactions should be conventional and consistent
- Limited content real estate means help text creates unnecessary clutter – the interface should be simple and intuitive so that the user needs little instruction
The Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C)’s Mobile Web Initiative has created mobile web best practices to help companies follow best practices for delivering web content to mobile devices. These guidelines are just a start. You need to do more if you want your mobile app and/or website to continue to attract engaged users.
What can a company do when a user is presented with dozens, if not hundreds of similar, competing mobile applications? How can a company help a mobile app user feel comfortable sharing their location information with the app? How can you help users trust mobile forms that require them to share information such as their name, password, email or physical address? How can you help users trust mobile platforms linked to their financial accounts?