Kentico has released the results of a survey regarding consumers’ views of email marketing. While the company surveyed a relatively small sample of consumers (“more than 300″), some of the attitudes uncovered are intriguing. Among them: respondents are more likely to say they’d mark email from legitimate companies as spam because the companies email them too frequently (38%) than because the emails are unsolicited (34%).
Of course, there are various reasons for marking email as spam, and consumers likely have a number of them. In this case, it appears that the survey asked to choose a single reason. After those top 2 responses, 26% of respondents said they mark emails as spam when they don’t contain anything of interest. The remaining 2% said they do so when the emails seem shoddy with poor design and typos.
Frequency of emails has often been seen as the main culprit for unsubscribes (see here for an example), and it may be that consumers mark frequent emails as spam out of convenience, rather than unsubscribing. Recent research from Return Path, meanwhile, suggests that brands emailing less than once a week see better results than those emailing with more frequency.
Returning to the Kentico study, the results suggest consumer apathy towards email marketing’s progress over the years. In fact, the proportion believing email marketing has gotten worse (36%) over the past 5 years slightly outweighed the proportion believing it has gotten better (32%! ), with t! he remainder neutral.
Clutter may be a problem, as research has found that brands are sending more and more emails, with the average recipient receiving 416 commercial messages a month, according to one study. A plurality 37% of respondents to the Kentico study indicated that they “willfully” subscribe to 1-5 email lists, with 31% subscribing to 6-10 lists, 14% to 11-15 lists, 7% to 15-20 lists, and a brave 5% to more than 20 lists.
If an Android device (phone or tablet) has ever logged on to a particular Wi-Fi network, then Google probably knows the Wi-Fi password. Considering how many Android devices there are, it is likely that Google can access most Wi-Fi passwords worldwide.
Some back-of-the-envelope math points us to the estimate that 748 million Android phones will ship this year. That’s phones alone – Android tablets add to that figure.
With this many of its own devices in the wild, it becomes easy to see that Google has access to all order of Wi-Fi passwords.
This is all possible because of a feature that lets you back up and save your data to Google’s servers. This includes the obvious, like backing up your phone book and calendar, but it also snags your Wi-Fi passwords in the process. The feature is presented as a good thing, and by and large it is – if you lose a phone and need to replace it, all your data is backed up thanks to Google. No obnoxious re-entering of all your friends’ and family’s phone numbers, no need to scrounge up the passwords for your various Wi-Fi networks.
If the privacy implications of this outweigh the convenience, you can opt out by unchecking the appropriate box in your settings. Horowitz offers the following instructions on how to navigate to the appropriate dialogue:
- In A ndroid 2.3.4, go to Settings, then Privacy. On an HTC device, the option that gives Google your Wi-Fi password is “Back up my settings”. On a Samsung device, the option is called “Back up my data”. The only description is “Back up current settings and application data”. No mention is made of Wi-Fi passwords.
- In Android 4.2, go to Settings, then “Backup and reset”. The option is called “Back up my data”. The description says “Back up application data, Wi-Fi passwords, and other settings to Google servers”.
It’s also worth noting that like all personal data stored in Google, humans aren’t looking at your Wi-Fi passwords. This tool is simply a convenient feature for Android users who don’t want to keep re-entering their passwords.
For certain high-consideration transactions, in-person retail banking is preferred
Digital banking—customer interactions and transactions that take place via web, mobile and other digital channels—is no longer just a complementary element of retail banking services in the US, according to a new eMarketer report, “Digital Banking Trends: With Consumer Preferences in Flux, Is Omnichannel the Answer?”
For more than a decade, banks have used digital touchpoints to provide more convenience to customers, and, in turn, wring operational costs out from common transactions like bill payments and account transfers. However, many customers still show a strong preference for having convenient access to a physical banking center, especially when seeking out financial advice or performing more complex, emotionally involved transactions.
An omnichannel approach—serving and engaging with customers in an “anytime, anywhere” fashion—is being touted as a way to give banks of all types and sizes more flexibility to meet consumers’ constantly evolving preferences.
Reviews matter when it comes to online purchase decisions, but not as much as deals, according to a RetailMeNot.com survey conducted by Ipsos. 56% of US respondents said that deals, discounts or sales on the product they’re purchasing influences their decision, while 51% counted reviews, ratings or opinions of customers who have already bought the product as an influence on their purchase decision.
Not far behind, 45% of US respondents said that the trustworthiness of the retailer plays a part in their decision-making process. Fewer pointed to factors such as speed and convenience of delivery for the product (29%), reviews, ratings or opinions of professional journalists or industry experts that have used the product (26%), and comments, reviews and opinions from peers on social media (22%).
It’s interesting to see customer reviews showing up as far more influential than professional reviews, as Weber Shandwick found the same result when looking at consumer electronics purchases.
Consumers gravitate to convenience. That’s as true with payment technologies as it is with anything else. A prime example is the decades-old trend away from cash or checks and toward credit cards.
Now, the mass adoption of smartphones and tablets has set the stage for a new move — away from offline card-and cash-based transactions and toward those completed on mobile. The old dream of the “digital wallet” is coming true in a very particular mobile-led fashion.
As has long been the case, the type of site being accessed has an effect on user preferences. Facebook has the strongest hold when it comes to sign-ins on gaming and entertainment sites (64% of the total in Q2 2013), music sites (61%) and retail sites (59%).
Despite Facebook’s rising popularity for social sign-in functions, however, publishers and retailers would be wise to note that its takeover is far from complete. Significant chunks of every audience still prefer to sign in with an ID from Google, Yahoo! or some other site—and since a large part of the draw of social sign-in is its convenience, users still need these options to be satisfied.
The coast is clear now, but for a while there, Google’s two-step verification system wasn’t keeping you as safe as you thought. In fact, it was providing an avenue for folks to get in. App-specific passwords were propping your door open.
The exploit was found—and reported—by Duo Security, which is publishing its data now that Google has fixed things up. If you’ve enabled two-step (which you should), you know that using applications like Twitter or Facebook or Instagram often involves an app-specific password. Apps that don’t just pass you to a Google login page and have you enter a phone-code will tell you to go get an app-specific password manually from your account page, and put that in.
The logic behind having app-specific passwords is that you can disable access from certain apps—like all the apps on a stolen phone—without disturbing the rest. And that’s great. The problem was, those manual app-specific passwords you put in weren’t actually app-specific. Anyone could re-use any of those passwords to link a Google device (Android phone, Chromebook) to a Google account. From there, hackers could login to services with the device, strolling right on in to account settings without ever knowing the real password.
As explained by Duo Security’s cleverly edited Google ad:
That’s not a good situation, but fortunately it’s been fixed. Ever since Feb 21st, anyone trying to get to account settings needs the real password. Convenience be damned. And even though this was a bit of a breach, it’s worth noting that two-step wasn’t making anything worse; in the absence of two-step, a thief with your app-specific password would just have had your real password instead. And they wouldn’t have to know about the connect-a-device exploit to use it. Way worse.
You’re safe for now, but it serves as a good reminder to keep up with those security best-practices. Clean out your app-specific passwords now and then, change your password occasionally, and beware auto-login features that make your life easier because chances are they’re making it more insecure. Nothing’s full-proof, but just try to stay safe out there. [Duo Security]
Modernization’s not for everyone — just take a look at Western Union. That 19th century institution’s finally getting its virtual act together, introducing a new digital payments platform today, dubbed WU Pay, that sadly does not involve laundering dough through the late, great ODB’s hip hop clan. No, this forward-facing system, built upon its eBillme acquisition, takes a backwards approach, eschewing direct payment options for something more circuitous. Customers that opt-in for the service at checkout from any number of partnered merchants, like Kmart or Sears, won’t have to link to their credit card accounts or even offer up any financial info. Instead, once the item is purchased, they’ll receive a bill via email that can then be paid online or at one of the company’s brick-and-mortar sites. Sound unnecessary to you? We sure agree. Now if only this innovation involved Marty McFly and Jason Alexander personally delivering those funds — that’s a service overhaul we can get behind. Check out the PR after the break.
Western Union debuts WUPay digital platform, misses the point of convenience entirely originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 23 Mar 2012 05:53:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use ! of feeds .
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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