The True Value of Data

Last week saw yet another report about the value of consumer data, this particular one  from IPG’s Mediabrands Marketing Sciences,  a business “dedicated to decoding the science of marketing to deliver competitive advantage” through insight capability, planning tools, data planning and analytics. According to the report consumers would be happy to sell their data to advertisers and reckon that its worth at least £500 per year.

What a ridiculous study. It tells us pretty much nothing. Is that £500 per advertiser or £500 in total? If the former, consumers should set up a RTB platform to sell their data and retire. However, for that to work there must be a buyer and I doubt that brands would be happy to fork out £500 for every customer’s personal details – it would make CPA go through the roof. The report talks about a value exchange, however it fails to elaborate what this means. Should advertisers be providing £500 worth of perceived free stuff to people that share their details? Who knows.

The value of data has long been on the agenda and remains an important topic since amendments to IAS 38, the treatment of intangible assets (such as customer data) in accounting come into force at the beginning of next year. Understanding the worth of customer data for accounting purposes and M&A is crucial. But, for the so-called value exchange between consumer and brand it is far more straightforward. The same study says that only 1 per cent of people have faith that advertisers have the ability to look after their data. Consequently, the true value exchange is obvious – the understanding that a brand will look after and use your data responsibly – not a monetary exchange.