Marketing research and insights news and information. This issue's keywords: personal data; tech companies; trusted news source; customer loyalty programs; social media hotel reviews

A third of Europeans admit they provided false information when signing up for online services, according to Mountain View, Calif., security firm Symantec in its State of Privacy report. This is done due to concerns over the privacy of their personal data online. The false data included e-mail addresses, telephone numbers and even names. Thirty-six percent of Germans and 34 percent of British and Spanish respondents said they provided false information, with the figures rising among younger generations. Technology firms, retailers and social media were listed as the least-trusted with personal data by the 7,000 European respondents, with 70 percent of the respondents believing their data is being sold for profit to third parties and only a third believing the data is being used to improve customer service. Darren Thomson, CTO and VP of Technology, EMEA, said, "Businesses should act now to demonstrate the security of personal data they hold, in turn this will enable them to grow their business with accurate data and a loyal customer base."

Tech companies with shorter names tend to do better, especially when the name included a word associated with technology and did not reference the company founder, according to researchers at MIT, Cambridge, Mass. The MIT group has developed an algorithm which is “a very good predictor” of a company’s relative success, based on their study of Silicon Valley companies over six years. Other factors pointing to a successful start-up include the firm being a corporation rather than unincorporated and having a trademark and patents. The study, Where is Silicon Valley?, appeared in the February 6 issue of Science magazine.

Online search engines have overtaken traditional media as the most trusted source for news and information, according to a global survey of 33,000 people in 20 countries by Edelman, a public relations firm headquartered in Chicago. The 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer found that 64 percent of Internet users trust search engines while 62 percent said they trust traditional media. (Respondents could trust more than one source.) The trend holds for business information as well, with 31 percent of respondents saying search engines were the most popular source of business information while 20 percent selected newspapers.

For the first time, specialty store loyalty memberships, with 434 million members, now exceed airline frequent flyer memberships, with 356 million members, according to the 2015 COLLOQUY Loyalty Census, conducted by Toronto marketing firm LoyaltyOne. Credit card reward programs continue in first place with 578 million memberships. Overall, membership in customer loyalty programs has grown to 3.3 billion U.S. consumers, a 26 percent increase since 2013. The typical American household has memberships in 29 loyalty programs in retail, financial services, travel or other sectors but is active in only 12 of them. In other findings, drugstore memberships rose 88 percent to 268 million, the highest rate of growth of any census category other than restaurant programs (107 percent). Grocery program memberships declined for the second consecutive census, with memberships dropping at twice the rate in 2015 (2 percent) compared to 2013 (1 percent).

Responding to social media reviews by hotel properties corresponds with an occupancy growth rate which is double the rate at properties ignoring social media reviews. A study by Medallia, a Palo Alto, Calif., CEM specialist, found that hotels that responded to over half of their social reviews grew their occupancy rate by 6.4 percentage points compared to a growth rate of 2.4 percent at hotels which responded to only 10 percent or less of their social reviews. “The hospitality industry has experienced the impact social media can have on their business, both positive and negative, but these findings allow properties to quantify the impact of taking action on reviews,” said Aurelia Setton, Medallia’s general manager for hospitality. The Medallia study examined customer and business data from over 4,400 Best Western properties, including 2,300 in the U.S. and Canada and 2,100 with other global locations, from April 2013 to September 2014

These reports were compiled from recent issues of the Daily News Queue, a free e-newsletter digest of marketing research and insights news and information delivered each business morning. Not already in the Queue? Sign up here!