New Research from Pantheon Reveals Top Digital Experiences that Consumers Say Influence Brand Trust

More than 1,000 consumers rank the impact of websites, personalization and customer service interactions on long-term loyalty and first-party data sharing

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#firstpartydataPantheon, the SaaS-based website operations (WebOps) platform for developers, designers, and marketers, today published new research that explores consumers’ brand experiences and identifies the most influential points for trust-building and trust-breaking along the digital customer journey. Consumers ranked the marketing strategies and missteps that most significantly impact brand trust, which 73% say is their biggest motivator to share first-party data. As marketers rapidly approach a cookieless digital world, the findings demonstrate that the ability to create frictionless digital experiences that build, cultivate, and protect customer trust is a competitive advantage.

The survey, conducted by Pantheon and Hanover Research, asked more than 1,000 U.S. and U.K. consumers to share what they expect from their digital experiences. Consumers said a brand’s website is its most important digital touchpoint, with user-friendliness (87%) and speed (81%) as top expectations. Ability to contact a brand through preferred methods (66%) and a modern website and/or mobile app interface (64%) also are important to consumers.

The study also uncovered the lengths to which savvy consumers will go to avoid sharing personal information with brands that haven’t earned their trust. Nearly half (48%) say they use guest checkout in online transactions to avoid providing data, and 42% won’t create a user profile. Personalization also proves polarizing for consumers; 48% of those who prefer generic communication say it’s because they don’t want to be tracked. For marketers targeting Gen Z, the dynamics are even more difficult. Only 35% of these consumers are willing to share their data with brands.

Data sharing hesitation compounded by negative experiences

Consumer reluctance to share personal information is not the only barrier marketers face. Negative digital interactions, experienced by 90% of respondents, also erode trust. In fact, more than half of respondents (51%) stopped engaging with a brand altogether following a negative interaction. The top complaints were being spammed with emails (52%), unhelpful customer service (44%), issues with a brand’s website (41%), difficulty canceling a subscription (37%), and inability to interact through their preferred communication method (32%). However, on the bright-side, even after negative brand experiences, 81% say they’re willing to grant second chances.

“Consumers are incredibly discerning about when and how they interact with brands. The research shows that the stakes are high — in web time, one misstep can turn a customer away in the fraction of a second. Modern marketers need to be really attuned to delivering online experiences that earn brand trust,” said Christy Marble, Pantheon chief marketing officer. “There is so much opportunity to read the signals customers give us throughout the customer journey. Marketers who meet customers where they are, remove friction and remain attentive to customer needs will inspire confidence, deliver value and build trust with customers.”

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About Pantheon

Pantheon is the platform for websites that deliver extraordinary performance, running sites in the cloud for customers including Stitch Fix, Okta, Home Depot, Pernod Ricard and The Barack Obama Foundation. Modern organizations choose Pantheon to empower their digital teams to continuously optimize and innovate to deliver more engaging digital experiences. Using Pantheon’s WebOps platform, developers, marketers and IT are empowered to work together to develop, test, and release website changes quickly and reliably, knowing their sites will remain stable and secure – even during the biggest traffic spikes.

About Hanover Research

Founded in 2003, Hanover Research is a global research and analytics firm that delivers market intelligence through a unique, fixed-fee model to more than 1,000 clients. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, Hanover employs high-caliber market researchers, analysts, and account executives to provide a service that is revolutionary in its combination of flexibility and affordability. Hanover has been named a Top 50 Market Research Firm by the American Marketing Association every year since 2015. To learn more about Hanover Research, visit


Elaine Green

Director, Corporate Communications – Pantheon

[email protected]