With Incentives, Nearly a Third of Consumers Would Allow Brands to Track Mobile Locations


With growing privacy concerns surrounding mobile tracking, a new study released reveals that nearly a third of consumers (27%) say they are likely to allow retailers to track their mobile location in exchange for valuable coupons, shorter checkout times and sales promotions.

The report conducted by ad engagement firm PunchTab surveyed more than 1,100 people and found that while privacy was the primary concern against mobile tracking followed by excessive marketing, a growing number of consumers are embracing location-based offers as long as there is something tangible to be gained in doing so.

The most popular reasons for sharing their locations were coupons and offers (88%), shorter checkout times (72%), and targeted alerts about sales and products they like (69%). Fifty-eight percent said they would value getting their points status, or rewards availability, via their mobile device.

“While mobile technology allows marketers to deliver relevant and timely marketing messages, privacy concerns have traditionally carried more weight,” said Robyn Hannah, VP of public relations and communications at PunchTab. “What we’re seeing in this report is that consumers aren’t hesitant about mobile tracking just because it’s new and different. Some of the other main drivers include fears around receiving excessive and irrelevant marketing messages. These fears can be allayed with incentives, but the catch is, marketers need to adopt a data-driven approach to understand where the ‘sweet spot’ lies. And by connecting with early adopters marketers will drive broader consumer acceptance.”

Much to marketers’ relief, 50 percent of consumers “on the fence” about their likelihood of allowing mobile tracking said they were more likely to try it as the value of the incentivized coupon increased. In addition, the report identifies the types of retailers that men and women would be most likely to allow tracking mechanisms to be put in place. Among those who were positively inclined towards tracking, their preferred retailers were Superstores (84%), Department stores (78%), Grocery (74%), and Home improvement stores (60%).

As an industry heading towards unifying digital and in-store experiences, this highlights the importance of establishing clear opt-in policies to ensure brands are transparent about the data they are gathering from consumers. In our interconnected world, it’s not so much an issue of privacy as it is transparency, since people tend to become suspicious when they feel they are kept in the dark about common marketing practices.

The fact is, every time we visit a website or click on a link we leave a data trail that can be used to help marketers do their jobs better – resulting in more personalized experiences for consumers. The solution isn’t to completely stop all online or mobile activity, it’s to selectively choose which companies and brands we trust with this information. Opt-in policies are a step forward towards empowering consumers to make more educated decisions in our brave new digital world.


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