Commentary

Trust Is The Path To Accessing Better Consumer Data

Consumer insights have taken on renewed importance in an age when behaviors are undergoing massive shifts. Yet the consumer data landscape on which marketers have long relied has changed into a barely recognizable, ever-changing sea of information. As more people turn online to conduct their daily lives, their digital activities are creating a vast pool of data that has historically been quite difficult to access.

This digital data consists largely of activities people are conducting via their phones -- activities that generally happen in controlled environments bound by apps, including in-app purchases and media consumption. This is a place where traditional research collection methodologies have a blind spot.

This app-bound activity is an important part of understanding the big picture, especially when combined with more traditional market research data, typically collected through surveys.

Unfortunately, surveys are suffering from lack of participation, quality issues and poor outcomes. But, they are still a vital piece of consumer insights, especially when coupled with digital behavioral data. Thus, the question becomes, how can we do better?

Our recent research uncovered behaviors that illustrated there is a path toward obtaining higher quality, critical information. We wanted to find out if people -- specifically younger generations -- behaved differently in a trust-based environment versus more traditional data collection platforms.

The research was constructed to provide insights across a number of data quality metrics. We assigned each participant a “quality score” based on several variables to determine if the responses were honest and well-considered, thus of greater quality. Just a few of the quality criteria we reviewed included overall time spent in the survey, variability in responses, sensible answers, not falling into “trap” questions and more.

What we found was that respondents operating in an ecosystem that prioritized privacy, data control, transparency and accountability received a higher quality score across the board.

Trust is also important outside of the survey environment. As businesses seek more holistic insights on consumer behavior, passive and behavioral data collection is vital. This type of data collection moves up the ladder in terms of data sensitivity, and focusing on honesty priming - through a trust-based environment - can ostensibly provide a layer of required comfort to overcome any reluctance to participate.

Early results are showing that, as we build trust with consumers, their willingness to share new forms of data, and data of increasing sensitivity (e.g. purchase data), increases as well. In a recent study, 78% of community participants said they were likely to share account-level data with brands and researchers. Trust is the essential ingredient for the future of consumer insights, both when it comes to data quality and gaining a holistic view of behavior, sentiment and motivations.

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