Trust Is the Media Industry’s Most Valuable Currency

Build consumer trust in media companies by safeguarding subscriber data and offering more personalized experiences
January, 2022. 4.25 MIN READ

The sunset of the third-party cookie has put media companies in the role of guardians of customer data. For them to win an increasingly complicated war for attention, they must prove their trustworthiness to their customers and that they’re deserving of consent to leverage their data safely and effectively. As part of that agreement, customers expect unprecedented value in return: secure experiences that are curated and personalized just for them. But what does it take to earn that trust?

To find out, Salesforce surveyed over 11,000 consumers throughout 2021 and some fascinating insights around privacy and information-sharing emerged. Dive into these findings to learn how media companies can earn the trust it takes to obtain consumers’ information and deliver the personalized experiences they crave.


of consumers want more transparency over how their information is being used.

Source: “State of the Connected Customer," Salesforce, October 2020.

The Cookieless Future

It used to be easier to get consumers’ attention. Media companies faced only limited competition and providing a better service used to be enough to win the war for attention. But now we're living in a subscription-first world, and customers are inundated by choices from an array of platforms. In order to keep customers engaged, media companies need to deliver them the most relevant content, and to do that, they need customer data. But with companies like Google and Apple giving consumers more control over what data they share, organizations have had to rethink the way they do business. The ability to deliver the personalized experiences customers expect hinges on obtaining consent from them to collect that data, and the only way companies get that consent is to earn consumers’ trust in media. To do that, it’s crucial that they deliver a very transparent value exchange between data and personalization. Salesforce’s “State of the Connected Customer“ research shows that in 2020, consumers felt much more lost in terms of control of their own data and 86% claimed they want more transparency over how their information is being used.

of consumers prefer keeping their data private rather than getting a personalized experience online.

Source: Consumer Sentiment Survey: Wave 2, July 2021.

First-Party Data and the Value Exchange

While Salesforce research has found that 54% of consumers prioritize privacy over personalization, media companies have an inherent advantage when it comes to collecting data. Consumers consent to a certain amount of data collection whenever they sign up for a subscription service. AI built into each service’s platform can then begin to understand that consumer and create personalized experiences by serving up similar content based on a customer’s consumption history.

Our research has also shown that from a survey size of over 11,000 respondents, 73% are willing to offer up personal data in exchange for benefits such as discounts (51%), better content (33%), and more relevant ads (14%).


of Millennials and Gen Z consumers are willing to share their information in exchange for more personalized experiences.

Source: Consumer Sentiment Survey: Wave 1, April 2021.

Examining the results by generation uncovers an even wider gap, with 46% of Boomers unwilling to disclose their data versus only 16% of Millenials and 11% of Gen Zers. Younger generations tend to spend more of their time online and are more willing to offer their information to get something in return: nearly 1 in 4 Gen Zers are game to offer their information to get more relevant ads and over 40% of Millennials and Gen Zers are willing to share their info in exchange for better content. With that in mind, media companies need to take full advantage of their openness and gather data across multiple touchpoints to create personalized experiences for their subscribers. Media companies should consider taking a page out of playbooks from Trailblazers like NBCUniversal. They have harnessed the power of the data they collect with technology that allows them to deliver more relevant and customized experiences based on the viewing habits and preferences of their subscriber base.

Media companies should also consider loyalty programs, especially since these aren’t widespread in the industry. Loyalty programs also have the added benefit of capturing customer data during enrollment that media companies can use to improve personalization and offer more resonant experiences. 60% of Boomers, 89% of Millennials, and 90% of Gen Zers would consider enrolling in loyalty programs in exchange for discounts, early access to products or services, and other perks. It’s a prime opportunity to one-up your competitors, keep your customers engaged, and earn their trust.


Want more insights?

Check out our Media Industry Consumer Sentiment Snapshot.

5 Steps for Building Trust with Transparency

How can you help consumers build trust in media companies and ensure they are comfortable sharing and giving consent to use their data?
Ask for permission to collect data and be transparent on what data you are collecting. There is definitely more concern depending on the type of data, so consumers might not care to share their email, but they might get more value out of the exchange of their address or mobile phone.
Describe exactly how the data will be used. Media companies might use the data to simply recommend content or make decisions on what types of content to invest in.
Highlight the benefits customers will get for offering their data.
Give customers an escape route. Consumers can — and do — change their minds. While using data will allow media companies to offer more personalized experiences, subscribers may not be satisfied enough with the experience to offer continued access to their data. It’s important to give them a clear opt-out and respect their privacy when doing so.
Deliver on your word. Providing better, more personalized experiences and serving up the content that they enjoy will keep them engaged on your platform longer and continue earning their trust over time.
Collecting and organizing the data you now have access to and making it useful enough for you to provide great experiences and build better connections with your customers requires a technology platform that can help you work more quickly and efficiently. Customer data platforms (CDPs) can connect customer data so that marketers have insight into how a customer interacts with them at every touchpoint and help solve challenges. CDPs also identify customers and link any interaction they have with the service across all device types, creating a single view of each customer. Data is available in real-time so companies can deliver the personalized experiences customers want when they want them.

Personalize every moment

Get a complete view of your customers and deliver the personalized experiences they crave on your service.

More resources


Get timely updates and fresh ideas delivered to your inbox.