Survey Says … We Just Don’t Trust Digital

The news is inescapable – data breaches, website hacks, millions of U.S. consumers hit by the Equifax hack. Clearly, digital has a problem when it comes to assuring our collective data privacy.

The recent consumer survey from Two Sides shows just how little we trust our online information.

As Phil Riebel reports, “the recent Toluna survey commissioned by Two Sides revealed that 78% of U.S. respondents keep hard copies of important documents at home as they believe this is the safest and most secure way of storing their information.  A similar number (76%) are increasingly concerned that personal information held electronically is at risk of being hacked, stolen, lost or damaged.”

“Millions of small businesses, households and patients are affected by data breaches every year. While moving from paper to digital records seems like it should save time and energy, the reverse can also be true,” Riebel reports.

Some other interesting results to come out of the research? The general feeling of mistrust for all things digital, from ads to news, beyond our concern about our own personal information.

“Trusting the news found on digital media has also become increasingly difficult as hoaxes and misleading information pop up on the internet and then are shared on social media,” Riebel writes. “Survey results show that 74% of respondents thought fake news was a worrying trend.  In total, 56% said they trust the news stories they read in printed newspapers versus 35% trusting the news stories they read on social media.  64% said they would be very concerned if printed newspapers were to disappear.”

Interestingly, even the youngest respondents (in the 18-24-year-old age group) largely mistrust digital for storing important information, even though (or maybe because?) they’ve been raised on it.

Image: TwoSidesNA report “Print and Paper in a Digital World: US Key Findings.”

Digital consumption is clearly a large part of our lives, and inescapable to an extent. Yet more than half (54%)of the people surveyed acknowledge that they spend too much time on electronic devices, and worry (53%) that it’s probably damaging their health.

Meanwhile, there’s more ammunition for the pushback against digital ads; 71% of the people surveyed don’t pay much attention to most online ads (59% admit to not trusting the ones they do see), while 63% do read the printed advertising that comes to their homes.

The omnichannel experience is here to stay for brands and the people they are trying to reach. But knowing these facts might be eye-opening in how we go about engaging. Print is a solid fit for reach and engagement now that digital is losing ground so quickly on our trust meters.