A substantial portion of consumers say they prefer to see information through an unfiltered lens.
This week, Google debuted Search plus Your World, which tailors search results to users’ Google+ interests and connections. In some corners of the Internet, it was “instantly reviled,” as PCWorld notes. According to research, while many consumers on the one hand appreciate information tailored to their preferences, a substantial proportion also say they prefer to see things through an unfiltered lens.
While preparing our 2012 trends forecast, we surveyed 1,055 adults in the U.K. and the U.S., finding that 78% prefer to see the full picture and sort through results themselves, and 83% want to know what’s being filtered out. This fits in with previous research we did, for our Social Commerce report, which found thatmany consumers (72%) feel “like Big Brother is watching me” when they see personalized recommendations on websites that are based on their Facebook profile.
As we state in our trend Reengineering Randomness, while most people welcome the extraction of irrelevant or less interesting information and options from view, breaking through the personalization bubble will become an increasingly important way for brands to attract consumers’ attention.