Internet privacy concern for UAE users
Dubai, June 17, 2010
Internet users in the UAE are increasingly attracted to the convenience that behavioural targeting brings to online content but also have concerns regarding the ways data is being collected about their online habits, said a report.
Sixty per cent of UAE Internet users favoured behavioural targeting for customised advertising and content, while 76 per cent said their searches for products and visits to websites should never be monitored unless they have given express permission to do so, said a new research from Real Opinions, a full-service market research company.
“One of the key opportunities for Internet advertisers is to efficiently target their key audience,” said Dan Healy, CEO of Real Opinions.
“Our research shows that customers want more sophistication from advertisers in reaching out to them by better understanding what they are looking for online rather than who they are.”
“Take the example of buying an annual holiday. You might only do this once a year but when you do you’d like to see all the deals on offer and not at any other time during the year. This is the key moment for advertisers, it’s the here and now period when customers are making an evaluation and possibly a transaction online right away,” Healy added.
UAE-based Internet users were surveyed as part of the global 11-country Here & Now study by Real Opinions which sought to ask Internet users for their opinions on the debate of Internet advertising, privacy concerns and preferences.
Of all the global respondents surveyed, the story was similar with 65 per cent saying they prefer to give express permission before searches and visits to websites are monitored. This was particularly so with concern respondents in South Africa (77%) and Australia (91%).
"Behavioural advertising promises to help advertisers reach the right consumer with the right message at the right time by gathering data on individuals Internet habits," said Carrington Malin, managing director of Spot On Public Relations, an integrated communications firm.
"The overall concept is a win-win for advertiser and consumer, providing more effective channels for advertisers and more relevant advertising and content for consumers.”
“However, new behavioural advertising techniques require more monitoring of consumers usage patterns and raise some very real privacy concerns that have become the subject of widespread debate,” Malin added.
The Here & Now survey also found that there are some Internet users that do not accept any trade off between privacy levels and behavioural targeting.
When asked about the different options for websites to secure permission for monitoring, 38 per cent of respondents believed that no tracking or monitoring of their online behaviour should be permitted under any circumstances.
However, almost 6 in 10 (59 per cent globally and also in the UAE) most preferred the method suggested of a setting in Internet browsers which allows Internet users to set global default levels of privacy rather than on a per website basis.
“There has been a significant volume of media coverage regarding online privacy and this is an issue that many people have a growing awareness of,” said Healy.
“People have learned to become more wary and want more control put in their own hands about what they do and do not share rather than rely on third parties to regulate their levels of privacy.”
The survey also said that people were more negative generally about promotions that targeted mobile phones, with 51 per cent of people surveyed in the UAE being against SMS advertising. – TradeArabia News Service