Philly consumers are creeped out by tech that lurks on them - Philly


Philly consumers are creeped out by tech that lurks on them

A new report from Accenture said 50 percent of Philly consumers fear smart online services will come to know too much about them.

Targeted ads are why you keep seeing that one ad everywhere.

(Video by YouTube user Free Stock Footage, used under a Creative Commons license)

Have you spotted those sneaky ads that follow you around the web days after you look at an item online? They’re called targeted ads, and a recent report says some Philly online shoppers are worried about them.

According to data from professional services company Accenture, 50 percent of Philadelphia consumers fear intelligent services will gather too much info about them and their families. In a report called “Put your trust in Hyper-Relevance,” the company reveals a split and a caveat: the other half of Philly consumers are more likely to shop with companies that always personalize experiences, as long as their trust isn’t compromised.

The report reveals that 44 percent of Philly consumers increasingly rely on digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home. However, 49 percent say it can feel slightly creepy when technology starts to correctly interpret and anticipate their needs.

Read the full report

“As technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and digital assistants become more sophisticated and mainstream, companies are creating new touch points, offerings and services that intelligently anticipate and flex to their customer’s precise needs, offering a level of hyper-relevance not experienced before,” said Accenture’s Tom Jacobson.

Jacobson said companies that succeed in earning users’ trust will be hitting a sweet spot: where users are willing to share personal insights in return for greater value and the confidence that their data will be protected.

“Privacy-conscious consumers that lack brand trust will simply take their business elsewhere,” said Jacobson. “Those that really want to shield their personal information will use counter measures, such as solely shopping in-store than online, turning off GPS settings on their phones so their location can’t be tracked, turning on ad blockers, limiting their use of social media and ensuring they’ve got the highest privacy settings on.”

(Speaking of privacy: the FCC is expected to rollback Obama-era Net Neutrality regulations on Dec. 14. Here’s what local activists are doing about it.)


Jacobson also shared some tips on how businesses can warm users up to targeted ads: offer tailored discounts on the brands they love around their birthdays, a special invitation to private events or yoga classes hosted by their favorite sportswear brand or blogger.

“Companies that gain consumer trust will be well-placed to deliver the hyper-relevant experiences customers want, and gain even deeper insights into their world, which will help them create new value and maintain brand relevance,” said Jacobson.

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