There is a much higher sensitivity among European Millennials (aged 18-36) about sharing personal data with brands than that seen among the same group in the US, according to a global study by SDL. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

In fact, the study found that more than half (52%) of respondents in the US have no problem with brands using their information to improve their customer experience. This is compared to only 37% in the UK, 28% in Germany, 23% in Norway and 13% in the Netherlands.

When it comes to highly personal identity data that is acceptable for brands to track, the differences between US and European Millennials is sharp. Based on a net score, for US Millennials there are a high number who say it is acceptable to track face scan (78), profile information (93), location (93) and email address (104). This compares to UK Millennials, for example, who do not find data sharing as acceptable: face scan (54), profile information (55), location (58) and email address (68).

However, brands can still win over Millennials if they build brand trust. Millennial customers are most likely to consider a brand's offer if they've done business with them in the past. The majority of Millennials feel this way, at 89% in the US, 81% in the UK, 71% in Germany and 78% in the Netherlands. This is more likely to lead to sharing of more personal data. 60% of US Millennials will provide more personal data to a company they trust. The UK is not far behind at 44% and German Millennials agreed to this at 41%. The most sensitive region to this was the Netherlands at 26%.

Though more sensitive about how much data they divulge, the research study does suggest that using social media to speak to the European Millennial generation is key. They are almost as willing to connect with brands through social media as their US counterparts if it means they can reap rewards like free perks and discounts. In the US 62% will connect to get discounts compared with 51% in the UK, 50% in Germany, and 42% in the Netherlands.

Relevance of marketing content is essential to Millennials. Some 46% in the US and 35% in the UK said they are willing to provide more data to businesses if it means they wouldn't have to waste their time with offers that aren't relevant.

"There can be a tendency to see all Millennials as the same. This is a mistake, as the study revealed both strong differences and similarities between Millennials of different nationalities," concluded Paige O'Neill, CMO for SDL. "Data privacy matters more to Millennials in Europe than those in the US and this should influence how brands collect personal information to improve experience. Big Data, without sifting through to obtain the small portion relevant for customers, has no value when it comes to the customer experience. For success, marketers need to spend time focusing on what matters to the consumers in the region they are selling in, and alter their strategies to align."