Research shows that online privacy is crucial to consumers and strongly influences the way they behave online. Platforms that have privacy at their core will empower people to be themselves in the digital space. This is the type of positive environment marketers want to build their brands in.
Do social media users actually care about privacy? Why is privacy important to a generation of social media users? What impact do privacy concerns have on users' willingness to share and be receptive to online content? And ultimately, what does it all mean for brands?
Snap Inc. recently commissioned research with industry leading KR&I to better understand what privacy means to Gen Z and Millennials, and how privacy influences their online behaviours. The results have reaffirmed the relevance of both Snapchat’s privacy-by-design and human-centric approach which helps to build features and products that consider the effect on the people who use them and also keeps in mind the privacy and safety of its community.
This research is based on findings from 13,519 daily social app users between the ages of 13-40 in 11 international markets. The sample from KSA reported here includes 1,252 respondents. Here’s what we found.
1. Gen Z and Millennials who use communication and social media apps care deeply about online privacy, but not all of them are satisfied with the amount of privacy available to them.
Gen Z and Millennials value privacy, as 77% of respondents consider online privacy to be important. However, only 72% of respondents are actually satisfied with their online privacy.1
2. Beyond security, privacy offers three distinct kinds of benefits to social app users: the freedom to understand and express themselves, the ability to avoid social judgment and the possibility of relaxation.
In KSA 77%2 of respondents experience relaxing and unwinding as a benefit of privacy. Respondents experience three primary benefits associated with privacy - “understanding and expressing themselves”, “relaxation”, and “avoiding social judgment.” Compared to those who don’t use Snapchat, Daily Snapchatters are more likely to experience all three privacy benefits. This is the type of environment and mindset any brand should look to appear in.
3. On the other side, privacy concerns impact users’ willingness to share online. They want the platforms they engage with to both care about and protect their online privacy.
This is a real problem for platforms which don’t put enough effort into maintaining their users’ privacy. 90% of social app users consider it important that the social/communication apps they engage with care about and protect their privacy. And this is a real deal for these users as it impacts their online behaviour. The communication and social app users we asked in the KSA said that the information they are most comfortable sharing is ‘Personal Interests’ (75%) and date of birth (65%).
4. When it comes to privacy, communication and social app users in KSA worry most about what happens to the content they create and share and how their information is used.
5. Gen Z and Millennials in KSA want more control over what they share and who can see their activity. Features that provide that control — and empower users to take charge of their content.
Introducing features that help communication and social app users regain control of their information is an important bridge to building trust. ‘The ability to block specific people’ and ‘The ability to delete content’ were the most important features noted by social media users in KSA.
What does this mean for brands?
Snapchat is a place where people can freely express themselves, connect with friends and family, and showcase their creativity. Compared to non-Snapchat users, Snapchatters are more likely to enjoy the benefits of privacy that involve self-expression, social interaction, and creative freedom without the fear of social judgment. Snapchatters value apps that make it easy to connect with friends and to creatively tell their own stories — and Snapchat continues to be that place.
This proves that putting the privacy of our community core to everything we do is valued by our community. This enables us to achieve our mission to empower people to express themselves as they are in full control of what information they share. The “delete by default” approach ensures that the information collected is kept to the minimum.
A safe digital environment is one in which users can be free to be themselves without anxieties about how their content will be shared, and who with. This creates a trustworthy, positive digital space. A space where brands can connect meaningfully with their audience in the right context, through curated content, without the negativity of the comments or judgments happening on many other social media platforms. This makes it the perfect environment for brands to meaningfully engage with their customers.
The total KSA sample is 1,252 daily social app users aged 13-14. We surveyed 617 daily Snapchat users, and 635 non-Snapchat users in every market. Recruitment in each market was balanced to be nationally representative. Parental consent was required for minors between the ages of 13-17 before participation in the survey.