Generation X Microsoft Forrester

Three quarters of mobile users see targeted adverts as invasion of privacy, says Razorfish global research


By Stephen Lepitak, -

June 30, 2014 | 7 min read

Mobile adverts are considered to be ‘an invasion of privacy’ to over three quarters of smartphone users, according to a global research study conducted by Publicis-owned creative digital agency, Razorfish,.

The study, which aimed to examine the behaviour of Millennials in comparison with Generation X, involved 1,500 contributors from across UK, US, China and Brazil, with an overall average of

77 per cent saying they thought it was an invasion of privacy when adverts targeted them through their phones (US 79 per cent, UK 78 per cent, Brazil 73 per cent and China 76 per cent.)

Meanwhile, another overall average of 77 per cent of respondents also said that they hated seeing the same internet advert multiple times (US 77 per cent, UK 81 per cent, Brazil 78 per cent and China 80 per cent,)

Speaking on a panel discussing the research, Grant Owens, planning lead for Razorfish who conducted the research, admitted that agencies still had “a long way to go” when it came to mobile advertising.

“We need to show them new behaviours that they experience and fall in love with. In the early stages we would like to see brands make the incentives pretty high to get where they are going and then we will see if the adoption takes hold,” he stated.

When it came to retargetting, he highlighted consumer’s hatred for being served with adverts for a product they had already purchased, describing it as ‘stupid data’ and said that agencies needed to make data better understand the stages consumers had reached within the purchase process.

“We have a long way to go. We need to help them [brands] get there but it's going to take time to get there and make data that smart,” stated Owens.

Sarah Sikowitz, principle analyst for Forrester, added: “If brands are not able to understand how data is going to be important to them, how to merge systems, not just what they are getting from digital touch points, but offline as well and make smart decisions, then there is a disconnect. Agencies don't have it all figured out yet. Marketers are doing it very well but there is still a shift that has to happen in a lot of organisations.”

Meanwhile, it was also discovered that over half (55 per cent) of Generation Y, were found to be willing early adopters of new technology and wanted to buy all of their purchases online, if possible, while almost 80 per cent admitted that a poor digital experience would see them bypass a brand.

In the US, millennials were found to be more interested in mobile payments than Generation X, and felt more dependent on technology in their lives, with 56 per cent saying that their phone was their most valuable shopping tool.

Over three quarters (78 per cent) of Millennials also said that a bad brand website would negatively impact their opinion of a brand, with 69 per cent of Generation X respondents saying the same.

Kirsten Ward, senior director of devices and studio marketing for Microsoft, highlighted “a cultural shift” that she had seen within marketing departments; “Two years ago we had a mobile specialist on the team who was evangelising mobile. As we looked at the organisation we decided that it had to be part of everyone’s job, it couldn't be siloed. It requires people who understand mobile and see it as a part of their role and the experiences that we build and then for me I need to be making sure that I am reinforcing that when reviewing content. It’s more a mental shift. We have really savvy digital marketers and so it’s about making sure we keep up.”

Ward went on to add that the platforms on which content was now being consumed was changing; “We’re fortunate to work on a brand that people are incredibly passionate about and spend on average four hours a day on Xbox and are really engaged. We develop all of the content. We develop two and a half minute trailers that will go through the YouTube environment and then we have a TV spot as well. There is a role for storytelling. People want to understand brands and the stories they are telling and what it means. They want to understand the characters and storyline and they can’t do that in six second Vine.”

Mobile commerce was found to drive consumer loyalty also, with just over half (51 per cent) saying they would rather use a brand’s app than a brand’s mobile website.

Emily Hare, managing editor of Contagious Magzine, cited AirBMB as a brand that was using its mobile app to provide a service “very well.”

She added: “As soon as you start having a strong mobile experience, consumers are more likely to turn to that than to start delving around while looking through desktop. It builds up a propensity of people to return to the app and keep it on their home screen. We’ve some bad stats on branded apps and people using them once downloaded but that is starting to shift, once they are useful people will return to them.”

As to how important it was that a brand got it’s online platforms correct, Sikowitz stated that all of the money spent by a brand to build consumer confidence could be undermined in seconds if the online elements didn’t work.

“In one fell swoop, if your app or website is not working in the way that people expect, they are saying that a company doesn't care about them. Even though they have spent hundreds of dollars trying to reach that person through advertising, it can all be undermined and that is pretty daunting,” she added.

Meanwhile, in China, it was discovered that there was a pride in being a first adopter of new technology that was considered an aspect of the country’s economic progress, with 60 per cent saying they were the first to adopt new technologies amongst their friends, the highest of the four countries (US 33 per cent, UK 32 per cent and Brazil 38 per cent.)

Respondents in Brazil and China were the highest when it came to believing that products such as Google Glass might become mainstream with 69 and 71 per cent respectively (US 56 per cent and UK 57 per cent.)

Finally, 84 per cent of respondents overall said that they would prefer brands that were a useful utility over brands that were simply ‘interesting.’

Further details of the research will be released by Razorfish later this year.

Generation X Microsoft Forrester

Content created with:


Find out more

More from Generation X

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +