Feel like you’re being spied on? When social media platforms suddening start feeding you ads about something you had a glancing conversation about with your family over dinner, or Alexa tries to proactively offer you something you didn’t request – it’s hard not to be just a little creeped out. It’s also hard to give up the convenience that this kind of personalization entails.
But there are larger issues at hand here and that’s the use of your personal data. Just google “concerns about personal data” and you’ll see a swath of studies that indicate there has been an significant awakening – accelerating over the past few months – when it comes to personal data. People are tired of their privacy being invaded, and they’re also tired of giving away information for free. We are all starting to realize that our data has real value.
We’re in a bit of a conundrum. I don’t know about you, but I find myself annoyed when my online experience doesn’t include the personalization that can only come through the use of my data. And yet, I have the same concerns as many others and believe that companies should not have a free-for-all with my data.
Recent legislation agrees. The recent CCPA act in California drew renewed attention to privacy laws, such as Europe’s existing General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and created movement toward possible future federal mandates for the United States. Virginia is also in the middle of enacting new state privacy laws.
Spurred in part by these regulations and in part by a desire to build consumer trust (more on that later), companies have started to reel back their use of personal data. Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) and Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) already block cookies (which track consumer behavior online), and Google is following closely behind with its much-publicized promise to end cookie tracking by 2022.
This means brands and companies have to get creative to get access to your data. And, in a way, it puts you back in the driver’s seat where you belong. After all, it’s your data, right?
So what’s it going to take for you to share your data?
This is the big question that many companies are asking right now. They need your data in order to make decisions about everything from brand strategy to product development, communications and messages, to commerce channels. You may still want to provide this necessary data, but on your terms.
Our research has found that most people require a few key things to create an environment where they are willing to share information. Our recent study, The Measure Privacy Report, which surveyed 3,208 individuals in the United States and United Kingdom in February 2021, indicates that:
- 57% of respondents are likely to share more data if they feel their privacy is protected
- 72% are likely to share more data if they felt they were being paid fairly for it
- 55% likely to share more data if they felt an organization was being more transparent about how it was using their data
- 70% feel it to be very/extremely important to have more control over their data and how it is shared
Do you agree with these statistics? We believe these results show the bottom line: most people want more control over their own valuable data.
How you are changing the data collection landscape
There are many ways you are currently sharing your data, either on purpose or unwittingly. Your data is being collected behind the scenes in myriad ways – everything you do online is being “scooped up” by companies who are using it to inform their own actions and strategies. When you do choose to share your data by participating in a survey, you’ll often find that you are paid very little – if at all – for providing your information.
Both of these scenarios are starting to shift, primarily due to consumer demands. As we covered, privacy laws and online consumer protection instigated by influential online players are addressing the passive data collection that is going on (for the most part) behind the scenes.
In addition, companies that are asking you to actively share data are waking up to the fact that they must pay you fairly, or everyone misses out. One example you may have come across is insurance company apps that track your driving habits and offer discounts for good behavior. In some cases, these discounts can be significant enough that you feel it is well worth it to add the app and allow your insurance company to track your habits.
Still other apps that are focused on more traditional research, like surveys, have new models that prioritize fair payment. In some cases, payment levels are even guaranteed, making up a sizable amount of income for completing a few short surveys. Payment is usually in the form of badges, points, rewards and other incentives that can be exchanged for cash, gift cards or services. Participants can earn even more when choosing to share behavioral data, such as browsing history, app usage and media streaming activities.
The landscape is changing. Worries about personal data protection and usage are being actively addressed. For you, this means putting the days of giving away your data for free behind you.