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Based in Blockchain – Building an Ecosystem of Trust

Protecting personal data feels nearly impossible in today's online world. As a market researcher, its more important than ever to establish a system of trust with consumers, to manage the collection and use of data in an ethical way.

Editor’s Note: There is no doubt that there is a great opportunity for marketers in the insights derived from integrating a variety of passively-collected and survey information from individuals. At the same time, there is no reason to expect people to happily turn this information over to marketers unless they are fairly compensated for it, and can expect the information to be kept private and secure. Blockchain is a crucial technology that can deliver a win-win for all parties in the exchange. Paul Neto writes passionately here about the trust that blockchain can provide.

Data demands continue to rise. Brands and marketers need consumer data to drive the decision-making machine, and they need it quickly and in as many forms as possible. This is happening just as consumers are becoming more and more aware of the value their data offers, not to mention growing concerns over privacy. How can we create an ecosystem of trust that benefits both sides in this equation? 

Uncovering the data in this environment definitely requires much more than traditional long data collection cycles, such as consumer surveys. As marketers seek the “why” behind the “what”, we are increasingly turning to observational and behavioral data to deliver these answers. Gleaning this from things such as device behaviors, location data, sales data, web browsing, and prescriptions is critical for success. But how much access are consumers really going to allow to their passive data? Consumers are wary of giving away their information, and with sweeping issues such as persistent data breaches, privacy is paramount. 

One Solution to Bridge the Gap

In a recent project we conducted, consumers showed an unprecedented willingness to provide their valuable passive data. In fact, 78 percent of users, who were specifically asked during the project, were willing to enable and share passive behavioral data. What made the difference? An ecosystem of trust built on transparency and accountability. 

Alongside several leading partners in the market research space, respondents completed more than 6,500 completed data jobs using our MSR iOS app to engage in the program. Data jobs included participating in surveys, completing profile requests, and enabling passive data sources, such as location and purchase history. The high level of willingness to share this valuable data had to do with key environmental factors: 

  • User experience. The first order of building trust is by providing positive and predictable user experience. A good example of this is Amazon, which has built the largest goods marketplace by fostering a user experience with consistency and reliability. Research has shown that when users believe that a product is transparent, they are more likely to connect, build trust and share information. Curating a positive user experience is the heart of these interactions. 
  • Data control. Consumers are waking up to just how vulnerable their private personal information is in the digital ecosystem. Even a few months ago, the news that came out about Face App (the app that ages headshots by 40 years with somewhat disturbing results) collecting private information from your phone may not have made top headlines. Now, the airwaves are full of dire warnings and people are wondering how to protect themselves. We must provide an environment that goes above and beyond to protect privacy, and clearly communicate this priority to users. 
  • Fair compensation. People are also starting to realize the value of their own data. No more are they willing to participate in survey research and share behavioral information with little to no reward. In our project, we provided fair compensation that was clearly communicated upfront, before the individual ever began a data job. When we initially surveyed consumers about what would cause them to share more information, 72 percent said they would share more data if they felt they were being fairly compensated. This proved true during the project, as participation rates were very high with 85 percent indicating that they were satisfied with the offers received.

A blockchain-powered environment intrinsically encourages the ticking of all of the above boxes. While consumers don’t care about blockchain per se, nor should they, they are very responsive to the benefits of transparency and accountability. If these can be communicated well to consumers, and demonstrated within a positive experience, they are willing to participate or (at minimum) are better educated surrounding the opportunity or tradeoff.

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Paul Neto

Paul Neto

Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, Measure Protocol