Consumers Demanding More Value From Marketers And Brands Who Collect Data

March 20, 2014 Ben Myers

Microsoft Trends Report 1

Consumers are increasingly aware of the value of their personal data to brands, and the ways that it might be used, according to a new digital consumer trends report by Microsoft.

According to the report, more than a third of consumers stated that they’re aware that their personal data is valuable to marketers and 32% of consumers stated that they would be willing to sell all their personal data for the right price. When asked to name their price for that data, the average price was $2,168.

Microsoft partnered with the Future Laboratory and IPG Mediabrands gauage consumers’ attitudes toward privacy, technology and data collection. Nine thousand consumers from around the world were surveyed, with approximately 12% of those being Canadians.

“Consumers are increasingly viewing their digital data as a commodity.”

Alyson Gausby, Consumer Insights Lead at Microsoft Canada said that the report show consumers are now looking for more value from brands in exchange for their personal data.

“Consumers are increasingly viewing their digital data as a commodity,” she said. “So they’re looking to enter into these types of open exchanges with brands… but for something that’s of value to them in return.”

Most consumers aren’t expecting a straight cash exchange for their web browsing or location history, though. Gausby said the value consumers are looking for usually comes in the form of offers, perks, loyalty rewards or a more personalized shopping experience.

The eight-part report demonstrates the modern, interconnected nature of data collection, technology and marketing.

“They weave together a picture about consumer expectations and what brands and companies need to do to address consumer needs.”

Interestingly, the report highlights that consumers are increasingly tracking information about themselves for the purposes of self-improvement, and are looking for more and better ways to collect and analyze data about themselves.

Microsoft Trends Report 2

According to the report, 14% of consumers are currently tracking their data and using it to set goals. An additional 14% are collecting data about themselves, but are not doing anything with it.

“Consumers are starting to actually use this data to arrive at more intelligent insights.”

“Consumers are tracking more elements of their lives through their smart phones, and wearables and in more parts of their lives,” Gausby said. “Everything from exercise, weight, sleep and spending habits, we’re even seeing quantified measures of our moods.”

“Where we’ve previously tracked these types of things for our own interest, we’re now seeing that consumers are starting to actually use this data to arrive at more intelligent insights.”

Health, fitness, and financial data are the most oft-cited examples of self-centred data collection, and consumers are looking for brands to provide value through manipulation and correlation of that data,

Brands should “be able to provide consumers with the opportunity to play with this data, either visually or analytically and make it easy for them to draw these types of insights,” Gausby said.

Of course, privacy concerns are on the mind of many consumers as they increasingly allow brands access to more kinds of data, in order to receive these benefits. Microsoft calls this trend “Intelligently On,” meaning that consumers desire the power to disconnect from their devices and services.

“[Consumers] want brands to understand that we want a bit of quiet in our lives,” Gausby said. “We find that most Canadians don’t want to be always-on. Only about a fifth of Canadians like to be connected all the time.”

Along with the power to disconnect, consumers are looking for more nuanced control over their data, even after it has been collected by a third party.

“They want to have the option to be able to go back and edit or delete it or have it removed after a pre-specified among of time.”

The eight trends identified by the report are:

  • Value Me – Consumers want open exchanges with brands but rewards for what they share.
  • Intelligently On – People want intelligent, ‘always on’ relationships with technology.
  • My Analytics – More than ever, users are online tracking self-improvement goals.
  • Age Of Serendipity – Daily life is full of fun, easy interactions, and consumers want the same online.
  • Enhancing The Real – The best online experiences blur the line between virtual and actual.
  • Niche Networks – Consumers crave unique experiences.
  • The Right To Anonymity – The focus on online privacy demands services that let users control their data.
  • Creator Culture – The new coding culture values creativity and anything new.

The entire report can be downloaded by visiting

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