Digital Trends: Brands need to understand the impact of consumers waking up to the value of online data

Many online consumers are prepared to sell data to brands at the right price and are waking up to the true value of their personal data, according to the latest study from Microsoft.

Over a third of UK shoppers online* (34 per cent) say they would be willing to sell all of their digital data to the right brand at the right price and half of them would be more likely to buy from a retail brand if they did so.

Rick Chavez, chief solutions officer, Microsoft, explains what consumers are thinking: "I didn't give you my data to make it your data. I give you my data to make my experience better, and I expect a value exchange."

This trend – Value Me – is one of eight key digital trends that Microsoft has identified as it maps changing and emerging consumer behaviour and attitudes globally toward brands and advertising.

Microsoft recommends that brands, therefore, need to be very clear on how data will be used and offer their consumers perceived valuable rewards for sharing it with them.

It calls this trend of waking up to the worth of personal data 'Value Me'. Brand Republic will be publishing the insights behind these eight trends over the next four weeks.

Other insights and recommendations about the consumer view of data and brands include:

  • Value: Online consumers are beginning to understand the true value of their data. For brands to stay ahead of their competitors, it’s essential to understand the future of digital behaviour and technology through the eyes of consumers. If brands want to keep learning more about their audiences, they must be clear about how the data will be used and start offering rewards, in the shape of tangible benefits to the consumer, in exchange.
  • Content: Consumers are more in control of their digital world and the balance of power between customers and brands has shifted. People are increasingly able to opt in or opt out of advertising, meaning that to get noticed by them, brands and businesses need to engage on the customer’s terms. This means brands need to create digital content that is targeted, relevant and capable of flowing across multiple devices to engage the consumer in the right context.
  • Higher expectations: The relationships that people have towards devices, platforms, apps and brands are changing. They are increasingly knowledgeable about the capabilities of technology and therefore hold increasingly higher expectations and demands for the digital industry to better their lives.
  • New rules of engagement: For advertising to continue to be effective it needs to embrace the concept of adding value to customers and re-imagine the rules of engagement. Brands do have the potential to help make life easier, save time and money, help consumers find something quicker, get people somewhere faster. It must focus not just on how to sell but how to be genuinely useful. Alongside putting forward a brand message, advertising must also enhance consumer digital experiences and engage them in this new value exchange with the brand.

*From around 1,000 respondents

Microsoft Advertising has joined forces with Brand Republic at to share the findings of its research insights into the future of digital behaviour and technology with brands and agencies.

The first study is called Digital Trends and was conducted with IPG Mediabrands and The Future Laboratory. Visit the site to find out more on emerging digital consumer trends among early adopters as well as regular and heavy Internet users. The study examined awareness and engagement with trends, and evaluated behaviour and attitudes toward technology.

Follow the debate about these findings on Twitter at @MSAdvertisingUK and use the hashtag #MSFTinsight to join in.