In Brief: Social Media Privacy; Intrusive Ads

May 1, 2018

Privacy Concerns Probably Won’t Inspire Users to Unplug 

In the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, many Americans are concerned about the privacy of their social media accounts. However, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on how to act accordingly.

Social media users are clearly anxious about internet privacy. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that only 9 percent of social media users were “very confident” that social media companies would protect their personal data, with 74 percent saying it’s important for them to be in control of who sees their information.

At the same time, social media habits suggest that it’s never been harder for people to unplug. While 71 percent of respondents in a 2014 Pew survey claim they would not have trouble giving up social media, only 59 percent said the same thing this year. And experts believe that this percentage will only decrease as time goes on. 

“Unplugging is hard because social media and other technology affordances make life convenient and because the platforms offer a very efficient, compelling way for users to stay connected,” writes Lee Rainie, Pew’s director of internet and technology research.

The Threat of AI Is Making Workers Sick, Study Finds

Though the automation of America’s workforce may be more of a future issue than a current one, the threat is still deeply impacting the wellness of today’s employees.  

A new study by researchers at Ball State University on AI-driven anxiety found that, for every 10 percent increase in automation risk, the general and mental health of employees dropped 2.38 and 0.6 percent, respectively.

“People who live and work in areas where automation is taking place are sickened by the thought of losing their jobs and having no way of providing for themselves or their families,” said Michael Hicks, director of Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research.

On the consumer side, though, automation is viewed as a good thing, especially in retail settings; a recent survey conducted by HRC Retail Advisory found that 85 percent of respondents would rather refer to computer scanners over store employees for price-related questions.

How Typefaces Can Help Brands Market Their Identity 

For a marquee company like Southwest Airlines, choosing a typeface was more than an aesthetic decision — it was a marketing decision, too. 

According to a recent New York Times piece, when Southwest overhauled its logo in 2014 as part of an overall rebrand — the company wanted to cultivate an image based around customer loyalty and heart — they dropped its all-caps Helvetica font in favor of a “thicker, custom-made Southwest Sans font” that conveyed a gentler, friendlier tone.

The new identity, buoyed by the change in typeface, proved to be successful; a survey from the National Brand Monitor in 2014 showed that 95 percent of respondents found the rebrand appealing and effective.

Southwest’s emphasis on font choice isn’t an outdated strategy, either. In creating a memorable typeface, marketers give their brand or service the best chance at going viral.

“It’s about understanding the power of typography,” said Peter Frankfurt, executive creative director for “Stranger Things,” a show whose blood-red ITC Benguiat font in its title has spawned many memes. “[Type] takes on a personality.”

Survey: Americans Find Ads More Intrusive Than in 2015

A new survey from market researching company Kantar Millward Brown reports that 71 percent of respondents claim ads are more intrusive now than in 2015, with 74 percent saying they see more ads now than three years ago.

Though this perceived increase is inspiring more people to install ad blocking tools (eMarketer predicts three in 10 U.S. users will use an ad blocker this year) there is a definitive silver lining to this research for communicators: Internet users find online advertising more intrusive than three years ago because they are consuming more media than ever.

eMarketer predicts that U.S. adults will spend an average of 12 hours and 5 minutes with major media this year — up from 11 hours and 52 minutes in 2015. And at least once per month, they expect that 186 million American adults will watch traditional television while simultaneously using a digital device to browse the web.


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