Consent management by the numbers: 2022 DMA report summary

Stay up to date on the latest trends in consent management, and learn how effective consent management can build trust with your customers

Ashlea Cartee, Senior Product Marketing Manager, OneTrust Consent and Preferences
January 9, 2023

Aerial view of people walking across courtyard

Data continues to be the most valuable resource for most, if not all, companies. It helps them understand their customers and determine what, how, when, and where to communicate with them. When collecting this data, protecting the consent and preferences of customers is critical, especially given the recent rise in data privacy regulations and the fact that third-party cookies are going away.  

In September 2022, we partnered with the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) (UK) to research how marketers manage their data and the value they realize using consent and preference management systems. The DMA conducted the research via an online survey of 224 UK marketing professionals. They published the results in a report titled Data Management for Marketers: Breaking Down Consent and Preferences

In this blog, we’ll present highlights from the four main sections of the report: 

  • Knowledge, practices and integrations 
  • Benefits and future plans 
  • Sources and quality of data 
  • Importance and value 


Knowledge, practices and integrations 

Given the increased focus on data privacy, it’s unsurprising that marketers’ awareness and knowledge around consent and preference management increased significantly from 2020 to 2022. Yet, formalizing the practice with systems and processes lags. Just half of the organizations (51%) reported implementing a specific consent and/or preference management platform, compared to 78% awareness.  

Marketers are getting savvier about taking steps to process and efficiently store customer preferences across the various marketing systems using integrations. With effective data management, marketers can use these preferences to build personalized customer experiences, demonstrating that their data is being used for actual value exchange while simultaneously building trust. 44% of those companies using consent and preference management systems reported brand trust as a key benefit. 

Benefits and future plans 

Companies using consent and preference management systems focused on four primary areas between 2020 and 2022: collecting and recording communication preferences, offering a fully integrated customer experience, automating compliance across markets, and centralizing data across systems. Those surveyed reported a range of benefits; the three highest-ranking benefits were data transparency (43%), enhanced data security (39%), and improved decision-making (38%). Other high-ranking benefits included data privacy, brand trust, and increased opt-in rates.   

The businesses surveyed have ambitious plans for future developments and improvements to their data management practices. These include taking a step back to revisit core processes they put in place for the GDPR legislation, such as collecting and recording preferences.  

Overall, businesses with consent and preference management systems in place are more likely to have implemented options in three key areas:  

  • Giving users control over data 
  • Using data to deliver better customer experiences 
  • Collecting and recording consent 

Up to 32% of B2B organizations are significantly more likely to have no plans or awareness of offering an ‘opt-down’ option compared to just 8% of B2C organizations. This demonstrates that there is a massive opportunity for B2B companies to implement an “opt down” strategy in the frequency of communications – more flexible preference options can help keep customers engaged. 

Sources and quality of data 

When asked which legal basis marketers use for processing customer data, most indicated continued reliance on direct consent (56%). Just over a third (35%) stated that they mainly use legitimate interest, a similar proportion to 2020. For organizations with consent and preference management systems, the use of direct consent is 63% compared to 46% for those without.  

Data accuracy was another revealing aspect of the research, with marketers estimating that about one in ten consent records is inaccurate or invalid. This is concerning, given that over half of businesses use consent as their primary legal basis to process customer data.  

Key drivers for data inaccuracy included customer or employee error, data sourcing problems, data cleansing, and data accuracy maintenance.  

Importance and value 

Overall, we found that most organizations are placing increased importance on consent and preference management. Only 9% of respondents rated consent and preference management as ‘unimportant’, a 50% drop compared to 2020. Conversely, 73% of respondents feel consent and preference management is ‘important’ or ‘most important’ compared to other aspects of data and marketing. 

The ability to measure the return on investment (ROI) of consent and preference management increased notably from 64% in 2020 to 78% in this edition. The estimated ROI for consent and preference management remains high at just over $46 for every $1.21 spent. Those with consent and preference management systems report a higher customer lifetime value ($70.17 compared to $64.76) and lower customer acquisition costs ($54.51 compared to 56.83) than those without. 

Download the report to learn more about how your organization can apply data collection best practices to gain valuable insights and build trust with your users.     

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