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The price of privacy: Consumers feel cut out of their own data transactions

by | Nov 17, 2021 | Public Relations

With the issue of consumer privacy remaining a key brand and business challenge, new research from consumer data management firm mePrism offers a new picture of an American population aware that its personal data is being sold for profit, but confused about what is being sold and for how much.

This lack of understanding, combined with upcoming personal data regulation such as the CCPA and CPRA, presents a perfect storm for brand trust

Brands unable to deliver against consumer demands for transparency are missing out on an emerging loyalty channel as consumers increasingly demand transparency.

Findings from the firm’s September 2021 survey concluded that 66 percent of Americans felt confident that they know the kinds of data being collected about them, yet 81 percent were unaware that facial coordinates are harvested. More than two thirds (68 percent) did not understand that information about family members—data inherently stored by platforms and social networks—are collected from their profiles.

“Consumers continue to be subjected to an awful lack of transparency with respect to their data. Now people are becoming more confident about what they think they know even though it’s incorrect. This is a huge problem,” said Thomas Daly, CEO and Founder of mePrism, in a news release. “Perhaps the more interesting piece is that consumers are still significantly underestimating the extent and number of transactions using their data. Our own empirical data suggests the average user’s data is valued at $7,500 or more as their data is bought and sold approximately 2,200 times.”

The research further demonstrates that brands and marketers are missing out on an emerging, incremental engagement and loyalty channel

Confirming an emerging demand for transparency, mePrism’s findings show that nearly nine in 10 (88 percent) respondents want to be notified when their data is bought and sold, and almost three quarters (72 percent) said they would be more likely to sell their data to businesses that stopped buying it indirectly.

By becoming more transparent about data transactions, brands and marketers could build a truly two-way engagement

Seventy-nine percent would reward transparency by adopting a product or service from a company that bought data from them directly and 58 percent think that companies buy and sell their data simply because they don’t think the consumer will find out. Furthermore, 86 percent of respondents want companies to buy their data directly from them, a trend set to increase as consumer awareness grows.

“Consumers are beginning to understand the value of their data and have an appetite for agency and transparency in their transactions,” Daly continued. “Moreover, they are hungry to deepen relationships with brands able to operate transparently, expressing interest in building true symbiotic relationships with brands by both buying from and selling to these businesses. This represents a huge opportunity for businesses to build greater loyalty and lasting, trusted relationships with their target audiences.”

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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