What’s On

Consumers find value in sharing digital information with brands

IPG Mediabrands and Microsoft Corp. unveiled a preview of research they have conducted that found that almost half of consumers globally are willing to share their digital information with brands in exchange for advertisements that are relevant and useful to their daily lives. The research also brings out eight digital trends that would define the consumer behaviour in the space.

The research asked consumers whether they would be willing to share all of their digital data collected over a period of six months in exchange for better ads. The findings show that 45 per cent of consumers are open to entering into transparent data exchanges with brands. The research also identified eight digital trends that will help inform marketer decisions.

The research also says that in the next decade, technology will become more useful to people’s daily lives, as consumer needs shift and technology becomes more intertwined with society. As people’s comfort and relationships with technology matures, consumers are shifting from taking a passive to an active role in creating digital experiences and are realising the value of their personal data; viewing it as raw material by which they can exchange with brands to receive more personal and relevant ad experiences.

These maturing relationships with technology create new challenges for brands and advertisers to engage in ways that are seamless, relevant and useful to people’s daily lives. The findings suggest that brands need to look at not just delivering an ad impression, but at how to engage, involve, support and reward consumers for sharing their personal information, in the hope of creating an authentic, valuable two-way relationship.

“‘Out of your face’ rather than ‘interface’ is where we are heading,” said Bill Buxton, Principal Researcher at Microsoft. “Technology is beginning to recede from something that is just a device or a website, into people’s physical, social and cultural environment. It should quietly augment, nurture and facilitate our lives — not as intrusions, but as companions, that work seamlessly together and make our lives better. Brands should investigate how they can be present at these important inflection points in people’s lives in value-added ways.”

According to Sue Moseley, Chief Performance Officer, Initiative, “The research reveals that in the future, there will be a step change in consumers’ expectations of brands. Consumers and brands will enter a series of value exchanges where they will continuously negotiate the terms of the exchange.”

The research also found that as experiences online continue to be driven by social models, consumers will also increasingly look for more serendipitous encounters online. These encounters will surprise, challenge and enhance opportunities to immerse consumers with brands. Technology will help us find answers to questions we never asked.

In the future, serendipity will fill idle time, moments where we’re yet to arrive at our destination. The quantitative data suggests that the Emerging markets are more deeply engaged with this trend, an average of 80 per cent of consumers from China, Brazil and Russia are happy to receive recommendations based, for example, on their calendars, friends and interests (vs. the Global average of 55 per cent).

The research reveals that the opportunities are abundant, for those brands that can deliver openness, transparency and an element of surprise to their marketing endeavours. As a result, we’ll see consumers starting to take more responsibility for the control of their data and seek more reciprocal, value-add relationships with brands and audiences. Getting to know the person, not just their online behaviour, will be key to effective marketing.

Topline data points:
Consumers want to enter open exchanges and trading of their data with brands
• 59% of global consumers are much more willing to buy a product or service from a brand that offers a reward in exchange for their digital data
• However, when it comes to tracking data, only 36% of consumers are willing for brands to track their digital behaviour if this means more optimised shopping experiences
• 48% of global consumers believe that their digital identity has a value
• 45% of consumers would sell their data to brands in the future

Consumers want brands to delight and excite them

• More than half of global consumers (55%) believe technology should introduce them to new and surprising experiences
• 61% of global consumers are much more willing to buy a product or service from a brand that delivers pleasantly surprising experiences

The eight digital trends identified in the research are:
1. Value Me
2. Creator Culture
3. My Analytics
4. The Right to Anonymity
5. Intelligently On
6. Niche Networks
7. Age of Serendipity
8. Enhancing the Real

This research has come from Digital Futures, a collaboration between IPG Mediabrands and Microsoft supported by The Future Laboratory. This is a global initiative which brings together the expertise and knowledge within each of the companies, qualitative sessions with early adopters and mainstream consumer research. This initial consumer study, comprising over 8,000 individuals in eight key markets (US, UK, Sweden, Czech Republic, Russia, Germany, Brazil and China), is setting the baseline for tracking eight significant emerging trends. The research sets out to understand the impact of these trends on consumers’ lives and how marketers should adapt to be most effective.