Online marketers see how to capitalise on consumer trust

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on January 17, 2005

Relevancy is key to building consumer trust and consumers seek quality over quantity in online advertising, according to a survey released by Ponemon Institute.

The internet has quickly developed into a ubiquitous presence in commerce, and the public's perception of online marketing and merchants continues to evolve. Consumers are becoming more comfortable with buying online, but remain wary of sharing vital information such as credit card numbers with merchants they don't trust.

Building and retaining trust with consumers is therefore critical for online merchants to succeed, and the Ponemon Institute's new Online Permissions Survey, sponsored by Dotomi, found that trust is significantly correlated to improving the relevance of communication with consumers.

Key findings
Among the survey's most significant findings:

  • 84% of consumers stated that they want control over the types and frequency of internet ads sent from a specific merchant.
  • 64% of consumers would trust a marketer more if they had control over the types of online communication that were sent to them.
  • 89% of consumers would let a trusted marketer share their personal interests with a third party without permission, in order to increase the quality of services and products produced.
  • Merchants using adware or spyware to advertise online should take note, however, that only 20% (the lowest response) would let the marketer share information to track their buying behaviour to influence future purchasing decisions.
  • 56% of consumers feel that the online merchant respects them when it demonstrates understanding of their interests and is better able to market to them.
  • 82% of consumers responded to wanting to be notified by an online merchant if they are provided with an incentive (i.e. discount or free offer), and 92% asked to be notified if a product or promotion would be of great value to them based on past purchasing habits.

Uphill battle
According to Dr Larry Ponemon, founder and chairman of the Ponemon Institute, "Privacy policies on the internet are still very ambiguous for many consumers, and merchants must make a concerted effort to educate consumers to their practices, and be ready for an uphill battle to gain their trust.

The correlation between the relevance and frequency of online ads with the trust of that merchant was much stronger than we anticipated. The results suggest that consumers seek quality over quantity in the ads they receive, and merchants would be wise to target campaigns to each consumer as individually as possible."

The report has been made available as a free download, along with the complete survey results and analysis, at here

For additional information:
·  Visit the Ponemon Institute at
·  Visit Dotomi at